Presidents & Trustees

Overview

Presidents & Trustees

When its governing board abruptly dismissed the president of the University of Virginia in 2012, the flagship state university quickly became the focus of national attention. The decision—prompted by board complaints that the president had not moved fast enough to address the university’s challenges—embroiled the board, faculty, and president in two weeks of public confrontations. It also prompted a board member’s resignation before ultimately culminating in the president’s reinstatement.

When its governing board abruptly dismissed the president of the University of Virginia in 2012, the flagship state university quickly became the focus of national attention. The decision—prompted by board complaints that the president had not moved fast enough to address the university’s challenges—embroiled the board, faculty, and president in two weeks of public confrontations. It also prompted a board member’s resignation before ultimately culminating in the president’s reinstatement.

The recent controversy at the prestigious Virginia university may have been unusually high profile, but it was no isolated incident. At a time when higher education faces many existential questions, the administrators who make strategic decisions about colleges and universities are facing increased scrutiny themselves. Presidents and governing boards have locked horns with one another, as well as faculty members and politicians, over questions of governance and how to address the increasingly complex financial, technological and academic questions institutions of higher education confront.

Like most other aspects of postsecondary education, the jobs of its leaders are undergoing changes. External pressures and a generational turnover in leadership are among the factors conspiring to reshape the positions of higher education leaders. This Topics section examines the responsibilities of these leaders and how their jobs are evolving.

Presidents and Chancellors

The president, or chancellor, is the chief executive of an institution or system of higher education institutions, responsible for financial and academic planning, and publicly representing the institution or system. These chief executives typically oversee vice presidents, who manage major functions such as academics, student affairs, admissions, external relations and financial management. In 2011, when the American Council on Education asked presidents to list the tasks on which they spent the bulk of their time, the most common responses cited were budget/financial management, fundraising, community relations, and strategic planning.

Recent years have seen increased turnover among presidents. The average length of tenure fell from about eight years in 2006 to less than seven in 2011. The uptick in turnover is thought to be related in part to the challenges and increased public scrutiny associated with the job.

In addition to University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan’s high-profile struggles, other presidents—including Richard Lariviere at the University of Oregon and Michael Hogan at the University of Illinois system—left their jobs in the past few years amid clashes with governing boards, system officials or faculty members. Athletic controversies, which often attract national media attention, have also become an Achilles heel for university leaders. Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee retired in 2013 amid controversial statements about religion that also touched on athletics issues.

Presidents come predominantly from the faculty, often with administrative experience as a dean or provost. But because the role of president is changing, many education officials argue that universities should consider new types of leaders, including people with limited experience in higher education.

Search consultants have pushed corporate officials as candidates, because financial issues now make up a large chunk of presidential responsibilities. Politicians have also become a common choice. Purdue University named former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels as president in 2012, and the University of California appointed Janet Napolitano—a former Arizona governor and U.S. secretary of homeland security—to the system’s presidency in 2013.

Compensation has become a controversial topic, with salaries of the leaders of nonprofit universities occasionally exceeding $1 million a year. While such salaries are rare, they can engender public criticism. The California State University system recently adopted guidelines to limit presidential pay. Expensive renovations to presidential houses provided by the university and large expense accounts and travel budgets also have generated backlash against presidents.

Governing Boards

Presidents are hired by and answer to governing boards (called boards of trustees, governors, regents or directors) that hold fiduciary responsibility for the institution. Trustees are tasked with thinking about the university’s overall strategy and ensuring an institution’s long-term financial health. They meet several times a year to discuss policies, hear reports from university officials and advise the president. Public governing boards may oversee multiple institutions in one system.

Governing boards’ members are appointed to terms that vary by institution but typically run about four to six years. Most institutions allow trustees to be appointed to multiple terms. Trustees tend to be alumni and donors who come from business or professional backgrounds, and only a handful come from education. This background means that some trustees lack understanding of university practices and must be educated by administrators. Boards will occasionally include members who represent specific campus groups, such as the students and faculty. Board members elect a chair who speaks for the overall group.

For many public universities, the governor of the state appoints the board members. This process can lead to conflicts within boards, as trustees often remain on the board after the lawmakers who appointed them have left office and new lawmakers, who might have different priorities and political sympathies, appoint their own trustees. At private universities, board members are often selected by the institution’s president or by the current board, meaning they are often more supportive of the administration than their counterparts for public institutions.

As issues of access, affordability and completion, as well as efforts to cut state spending, have taken on prominence in state politics, trustees at public universities have become more aggressive about pushing reforms. In recent years, trustees in Texas, Virginia and North Carolina have raised pointed questions about spending, leadership, the quality of education, and the pace of change. Those questions have placed them at odds with both presidents and faculty members.

Because state spending and college affordability are poised to remain prominent political issues, such conflicts will likely recur. How trustees and presidents balance their traditional responsibilities with these new pressures will define their respective roles for the foreseeable future. 

Key Coverage

Highlighted journalism and reports for this topic

  • Voting With No Confidence

    April 23, 2013

    Faculty votes of no confidence in university presidents are taking place at an unprecedented pace, but their influence seems to be waning. Despite the fact that faculty members are upset about the decisions their administrators are making, administrators continue to take such steps, and trustees continue to back them. (Inside Higher Ed)

    Read More »
  • At U-Va., tensions persist between Sullivan and Dragas

    March 1, 2013

    The University of Virginia’s president and governing board leader have, in public, maintained an air of united collegiality for the past eight months, hoping to move beyond the summer’s leadership crisis. Out of sight, tension has continued to build between President Teresa Sullivan and Board of Visitors Rector Helen Dragas as they struggle for control of the university’s agenda and priorities, according to several people close to the situation. (The Washington Post)

    Read More »
  • Storming the Ivory Tower

    October 2012

    On the first day of classes at the University of Texas at Austin in fall 2011, few on campus were aware that a high-stakes battle over the future of the university—and perhaps the future of higher education in Texas—was raging inside, pitting President William Powers Jr. and much of his faculty against reform-minded members of the UT System Board of Regents, who had been appointed by, and were loyal to, Governor Rick Perry. Few realized that over the course of the academic year that lay ahead, this battle would upset the seemingly placid grounds of the Forty Acres. (Texas Monthly)

    Read More »
  • Anatomy of a Campus Coup

    September 11, 2012

    The inside story of the failed ouster of the University of Virginia’s president – and what it means for the future of higher education. (The New York Times)

    Read More »
  • What’s Up With Boards These Days?

    July 2, 2012

    Conflicts between trustees and other campus stakeholders are becoming more common because governing boards are different than they used to be. They’re made up of different types of people than in the past and face increased pressure and a wider variety of challenges, including questions about finances, educational quality and productivity. Trustees are also more informed about and interested in a variety of higher education issues. As a result, bodies that were once viewed by many within higher education as a buffer from outside political pressure are quickly becoming the ones applying the pressure. (Inside Higher Ed)

    Read More »
  • Why public university presidents are under fire

    June 19, 2012

    University leaders are caught in the middle. Governors are impatient for new “efficiencies.” Professors are adamant about protecting the freedom necessary for their work. University presidents have the title to address these issues, but they have little power when funding is tight and the two sides are equally uncompromising. (CNN)

    Read More »
  • The Graying Presidency

    September 25, 2011

    As a majority of college presidents reach retirement age, a wave of turnover in college presidents is imminent, particularly at research universities. Whether the new blood will bring about a substantial reshaping of the nation’s higher education agenda is a matter of debate, but the shift highlights the notoriously poor job that most colleges do to prepare for presidential transitions. And it brings to the fore the stark reality that higher education is now a seller’s market for the handful of candidates whom the nation’s top-tier institutions are likely to view as worthy. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

    Read More »

Reports & Data

Notable research on this topic

  • Surveys | Inside Higher Ed

    Ongoing

    Inside Higher Ed, in conjunction with researchers from Gallup, regularly publishes surveys of senior administrative officers, including presidents, provosts, chief business officers and admissions officers.

    Read More »
  • On the Pathway to the Presidency

    2013

    The report examines the demographic and professional backgrounds of senior campus leaders, especially those in positions that can lead to a college or university presidency. One concern arising from the study is the extent to which there is a diverse and talented pool of senior administrators to fill vacancies expected in institutional leadership. (The American Council on Education)

    Read More »
  • Leadership Traits and Success in Higher Education

    March 1, 2013

    Executive search firm Witt/Kieffer produced a study of the personality traits and values of college and university presidents and how they compare with corporate leaders. (Witt/Kieffer)

    Read More »
  • Executive Compensation at Public Colleges

    2012 Fiscal Year

    Compensation received by almost 200 college and university presidents, compiled on an annual basis. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

    Read More »
  • The American College President

    2012

    The report provides information on the demographics, career paths, and experiences of college and university presidents, and is the only comprehensive source of data on higher education’s highest office. (The American Council on Education)

    Read More »
  • Policies, Practices, and Composition of Governing Boards of Public Colleges, Universities, and Systems

    2010

    This report features the latest data and including a profile of board committee structures, highlights of recent changes, and demographic information on trustees (age, ethnicity, gender, and more). (The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges)

    Read More »

Five Questions to Ask

  1. What does my college or university president view as the most valuable use of his or her time, and does that person think he or she is spending enough time on those priorities? What tasks distract the president from spending more time on the activities he or she views as valuable?
  2. What does my college or university president view as the major challenges facing the institution, and does that align with the perception of trustees and faculty members? If this is not the case, what steps are being taken to bring those concerns into alignment?
  3. Who sits on my college or university’s governing board, and do they have the expertise necessary to address the issues they face, particularly issues related to health care and finance?
  4. How were the board members appointed, and what are their relationships with state lawmakers, university leaders and other major stakeholders? If the university is public, what are the trustee’s connections to the lawmakers who appointed him or her? Did he or she contribute to that politician’s campaign, and does that raise ethical issues for the institution?
  5. How is my college or university preparing for a leadership transition other than having a process in place for searching for a new president? Is it grooming senior executives, academic deans and even faculty members for future leadership roles, either on this campus or another?

Organizations

The American Council on Education represents the presidents of almost all public, private and for-profit institutions.

Other groups represent the presidents of sub-sectors. They include the Association of American Universities (major research universities), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Council of Independent Colleges (small, private colleges) and the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (for-profit institutions).

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges is a Washington, D.C.-based member organization. The association recently convened a National Commission on College and University Board Governance to explore how prepared boards are to address the challenges they face.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni pushes for governing board members to take a more active role in the academic mission of their institutions.

Member Stories

December 8-15
Some of our favorite stories by EWA members this week

Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel investigates how Orange County school board members spent $500,000 of taxpayer money over the last two years. “One board member paid $2,500 for a school mural that depicts herself,” she writes.

 

Starting in January, Portland Community College will teach a specially designed curriculum for nursing students left stranded by the closure of the for-profit ITT Technical Institute earlier this year, Andrew Theen reports for The Oregonian.

EWA Radio

The Chronicle of Higher Education Turns 50
EWA Radio: Episode 101

Liz McMillen, the editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, looks back at a half-century of milestone stories, memorable headlines, and key moments on the national higher education beat, many of which continue to echo today. Among them: equity and diversity, classroom technology, and free speech on campus. She discusses the Chronicle’s commitment to narrative journalism, lessons to be learned by looking back, and what’s ahead for the nation’s colleges and universities.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Colleges Face a New Reality, as The Number of High School Graduates Will Decline
An increase in low-income and minority-group students will challenge colleges to serve them better

The nation’s colleges and universities will soon face a demographic reckoning: A new report projects that the total number of high school graduates will decline in the next two decades, while the percentage of lower-income and nonwhite students will increase.

Latest News

39 Private-College Leaders Earn More Than $1 Million

A total of 39 leaders of private colleges earned more than $1 million during the 2014 calendar year. The number of leaders with compensation above $1 million was up from 32 the year before. The average pay of private-college leaders, including those who served partial years, was $489,927 in 2014. Among presidents who served the whole year, average pay was $512,987. Leaders who served full years in both 2013 and 2014 saw a pay increase of 8.6 percent

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Public Universities Have ‘Really Lost Our Focus’
Q&A with Christopher Newfield

Since the 1970s, a “doom loop” has pervaded higher education, writes Christopher Newfield in his new book The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them. Newfield, a professor of American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, calls this loop “privatization” – the hidden and overt ways that “business practices restructure teaching and research.”

EWA Radio

Why A Trump Presidency Has Higher Ed on Edge
EWA Radio: Episode 98

Benjamin Wermund of Politico discusses the uncertainties ahead for the nation’s colleges and universities following the presidential election. While Donald Trump has offered few specifics on education policy, his surrogates suggest he will reverse course on many initiatives put in place under President Obama. That could have a significant impact on areas like Title IX enforcement, federal funding for research, and more. Higher education leaders are also facing a surge in reports of hate crimes and harassment on campuses that were already struggling with issues of free speech and diversity.

Seminar

Doing More With Higher Ed Data: From Policy to Newsrooms
Philadelphia • February 2–3, 2017

With colleges and universities under increased pressure to ensure that more students earn degrees without amassing mountains of debt, journalists are at the forefront in examining how these institutions  measure up. But there’s one major obstacle that both colleges and reporters share when it comes to making sense of how well these schools are meeting their goals: insufficient data.

Member Stories

September 23 – September 29
What we're reading by EWA members this week

Melissa Sanchez does some digging for The Chicago Reporter to learn that undocumented students represented roughly a quarter of all the learners who benefited from the city’s free community-college tuition program. Undocumented residents are barred from receiving federal aid for college.

Member Stories

September 15-22
What we're reading by EWA members this week

In an article for Harper’s Magazine, “Held Back: Battling for the Fate of a School District,” Alexandria Neason digs into the financial and racial turmoil facing Detroit’s public schools.

 

As the University of West Florida seeks a new president, students want to know whether their next leader will support the Black Lives Matter movement, Jessica Bakeman writes for Politico.

 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Analyzing College Endowments: Do’s and Don’ts

Analyzing College Endowments: Do’s and Don’ts

You’d be forgiven for thinking higher-education reporting is a game of billion-dollar bingo, with each aspect of the beat pegged to insane sums, such as the $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

One way of answering whether students are getting a fair shake is to see if the colleges that educate them are spending the institution’s resources in ways that enable more college-goers to afford the cost of a postsecondary degree. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The ‘$500 Million Club’ of Colleges Tends to Be Stingy With Aid to Low-Income Students

Swarthmore College, where 13 percent of the student body receives Pell grants, has an endowment of $1.5 billion, and spent 3.7 percent of it in 2013.By Kungming2 CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Call them the top four percent: elite private colleges and universities that together sit atop three-quarters of the higher education terrain’s endowment wealth.

Among that group of 138 of the nation’s wealthiest colleges and universities, four in five charge poor students so much that they’d need to surrender 60 percent or more of their household incomes just to attend, even after financial aid is considered. Nearly half have enrollment rates of low-income students that place them in the bottom 5 percent nationally for such enrollment.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Calif. Community College System Gets First Latino Boss

Eloy Ortiz Oakley was named the California Community Colleges' first Latino chancellor this week. Source: Twitter @EloyOakley

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors voted unanimously this week to appoint Eloy Ortiz Oakley as the system’s next chancellor. This decision marks the first time a Latino has been at the helm of the 113-college system, where Hispanic students make up 42 percent of the student population and represented nearly half of all new students last fall.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Higher Ed: Hunger on Campus

Flickr/Salvation Army USA West (CC BY 2.0)

The stereotypes of the financially struggling college students are well-known. They live on ramen, share an apartment or house with several roommates, and work part-time for money to buy beer. They get summer jobs to cover college tuition and expenses. And they come from middle- and upper-class families, so if they do struggle sometimes to pay the bills, that scarcity is hip and cool.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Financial Aid ‘Arms War’ Continues to Drain Cash From Colleges

Source: NACUBO

The nation’s private colleges are distributing more dollars to attract students at a speed that threatens to unravel their fiscal health, new figures suggest.

Eighty-eight percent of first-time, full-time freshmen received tuition discounts this year and last, according to a survey of 401 private, nonprofit colleges released today by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The average grant awarded in this academic year covered about 56 percent of tuition and fees.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Former Chancellors of Research Universities Warn Their Future Is in Peril
New Report Urges Dramatic Changes to Save a System That’s “Breaking Down”

Flickr/Sharada Prasad CS (CC BY 2.0)

The system for funding American flagship public universities is “gradually breaking down,” said Robert J. Birgeneau, a former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, and the co-chair of a two-year project to examine the role of public research universities and recommend changes to help them stay competitive.

Seminar

Higher Ed 2016
September 16–17 • Tempe, Arizona

What new techniques and practices should higher education embrace to ensure that more students graduate? Join the Education Writers Association September 16–17 at Arizona State University to explore cutting-edge innovations that aim to address financial, academic, and social barriers. More on the seminar theme.

This annual seminar is one of the largest gatherings of journalists covering postsecondary education. Network with others covering this beat and step up your coverage for the upcoming academic year.

Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona
Key Coverage

College Sports’ Fastest-Rising Expense: Paying Coaches Not to Work

These are just a few examples of the golden parachutes that await newly unemployed coaches in the lucrative world of major college sports, a phenomenon recently retired football coach Steve Spurrier once called “hitting that lottery ticket.” Severance pay is the top-rising expense for athletic departments at some of America’s largest public universities, according to a Washington Post review of thousands of pages of financial records from schools in the five wealthiest conferences in college sports.

Blog: Ed Beat

Black Students Criticize Racism Protests Organized by White Students

In the wake of the demonstrations at the University of Missouri that led to the resignation of the university’s president, student protests over racial inequality and campus climate have spread to colleges across the country. Though the demonstrations have included a broad range of minority groups and white students, they have predominantly been organized by black students. At a handful of institutions, however, white students have tried to lead the rallies, prompting accusations that these students are engaging in the same kind of behavior as those they are protesting.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The New Effort to Link College to Careers

Students of the culinary program at Valencia College in Orlando demonstrate their kitchen skills. (Source: Twitter/@GabrielleRusson)

As tuitions swell and student loan debt climbs further, one aspect of higher education that has been overlooked is the recipe required to transform a college education into a set of skills that prepares students for the workspace.

As it turns out, neither colleges nor employers have a firm grasp on what flavor that special sauce should have, reporters learned at “The Way to Work: Covering the Path from College to Careers” – the Education Writers Association’s seminar on higher education held in Orlando Sep. 18-19.

Seminar

69th EWA National Seminar

The Education Writers Association, the national professional organization for journalists who cover education, is thrilled to announce that its annual conference will take place from Sunday, May 1, through Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in the historic city of Boston.

Co-hosted by Boston University’s College of Communication and School of Education, EWA’s 69th National Seminar will examine a wide array of timely topics in education — from early childhood through career — while expanding and sharpening participants’ skills in reporting and storytelling.

Boston, Massachusetts
Seminar

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Covering the College Student Experience
2014 Higher Ed Seminar

For many college students — whether fresh out of high school or adults returning to school — their most serious obstacles to a degree won’t be homework or tests, but rather the challenges of navigating student life. Colleges are now being forced to face the longstanding problems that have often led to students’ flailing and failing on their own. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Race and Social Media on Campus: Do Hashtags Help?

Sit-ins were the preferred avenue of protest on college campuses during the 1960s and 1970s. Students protested in support of civil rights and opposition to war, and their actions sparked social, legal and cultural changes nationwide. As recently as last year, the Dream Defenders spent 31 days camped in the Florida capitol to protest criminal justice issues.

Sit-ins take time, though – time to organize, time for the sit-in to transpire and time to have an impact.

Report

The One Percent at State U
Institute for Policy Studies

State universities have come under increasing criticism for excessive executive pay, soaring student debt, and low-wage faculty labor. In the public debate, these issues are often treated separately. Our study examines what happened to student debt and faculty labor at the 25 public universities with the highest executive pay (hereafter “the top 25″) from fall 2005 to summer 2012 (FY 2006 – FY 2012). Our findings suggest these issues are closely related and should be addressed together in the future.

Key Coverage

HBCU Presidents at a New Crossroads

Only three months into the academic year and headlines have been littered with announcements about HBCU leadership turnover. There have been a plethora of reasons, including university presidents being fired, being encouraged to leave their posts by their boards of trustees or opting for retirement.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Teacher Prep Programs Don’t Pass the Test, Report Says

A report out today from the National Council on Teacher Quality rates more than 1,100 elementary and secondary programs at just over 600 institutions of higher education across the country and concludes that the bar is set too low for entrance into professional training, future teachers are not being adequately prepared for the classroom or new requirements such as the Common Core State Standards, and the nation’s expectations are far below those for teachers in countries

EWA Radio

Who’s Subsidizing Whom and Other Secrets of Tuition Pricing

When students pay different amounts to take the same courses, does one student’s tuition go toward another’s education? We take close look at this debate as part of a discussion of the factors that college and university administrators consider when they determine tuition prices. Panlists: Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report (moderator); Steve Hurlburt, Delta Cost Project; Paul Lingenfelter, State Higher Education Executive Officers; Richard Vedder, Ohio University/Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Free Speech vs. Hate Speech: Where Should the University of California Draw the Line?

A controversy roiling the University of California highlights a familiar tension in higher education: What is the best way to encourage an open exchange of ideas on campus without fostering an environment that leads to harassment and discrimination?

In response to concerns about incidents of discrimination on the campuses in its system, a UC fact-finding team has issued a report recommending bans on hate speech and campus-backed protests against Israel as a means of curbing anti-Semitism.

Multimedia

EWA Interview: UCLA’s John Pryor on the CIRP Freshman Survey

EWA Interview: UCLA’s John Pryor on the CIRP Freshman Survey

How can higher education reporters use CIRP survey data in their stories? How are educational institutions using the information? John Pryor, director of CIRP at UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, gives guidance in this interview conducted at EWA’s Higher Education Seminar on Nov. 4-5 at UCLA.

Multimedia

Higher Ed’s Cash Crunch: Who’s Getting Hurt?

Higher Ed’s Cash Crunch: Who’s Getting Hurt?

From EWA’s Nov 4-5 Higher Education Seminar at UCLA: The latest updates on what government budget cuts mean for colleges and students. What is the current impact on public colleges and universities and what is the outlook for further cuts in 2012?

Key Coverage

Voting With No Confidence

Faculty votes of no confidence in university presidents are taking place at an unprecedented pace, but their influence seems to be waning. Despite the fact that faculty members are upset about the decisions their administrators are making, administrators continue to take such steps, and trustees continue to back them.

Report

Surveys
Inside Higher Ed

Ongoing

Inside Higher Ed, in conjunction with researchers from Gallup, regularly publishes surveys of senior administrative officers, including presidents, provosts, chief business officers and admissions officers.

Key Coverage

At U-Va., tensions persist between Sullivan and Dragas

The University of Virginia’s president and governing board leader have, in public, maintained an air of united collegiality for the past eight months, hoping to move beyond the summer’s leadership crisis. Out of sight, tension has continued to build between President Teresa Sullivan and Board of Visitors Rector Helen Dragas as they struggle for control of the university’s agenda and priorities, according to several people close to the situation.

Report

On the Pathway to the Presidency

The report examines the demographic and professional backgrounds of senior campus leaders, especially those in positions that can lead to a college or university presidency. One concern arising from the study is the extent to which there is a diverse and talented pool of senior administrators to fill vacancies expected in institutional leadership.

Key Coverage

Storming the Ivory Tower

On the first day of classes at the University of Texas at Austin in fall 2011, few on campus were aware that a high-stakes battle over the future of the university—and perhaps the future of higher education in Texas—was raging inside, pitting President William Powers Jr. and much of his faculty against reform-minded members of the UT System Board of Regents, who had been appointed by, and were loyal to, Governor Rick Perry. Few realized that over the course of the academic year that lay ahead, this battle would upset the seemingly placid grounds of the Forty Acres.

Key Coverage

What’s Up With Boards These Days?

Conflicts between trustees and other campus stakeholders are becoming more common because governing boards are different than they used to be. They’re made up of different types of people than in the past and face increased pressure and a wider variety of challenges, including questions about finances, educational quality and productivity. Trustees are also more informed about and interested in a variety of higher education issues.

Key Coverage

Why public university presidents are under fire

University leaders are caught in the middle. Governors are impatient for new “efficiencies.” Professors are adamant about protecting the freedom necessary for their work. University presidents have the title to address these issues, but they have little power when funding is tight and the two sides are equally uncompromising.

Report

The American College President

The report provides information on the demographics, career paths, and experiences of college and university presidents, and is the only comprehensive source of data on higher education’s highest office.

Key Coverage

The Graying Presidency

As a majority of college presidents reach retirement age, a wave of turnover in college presidents is imminent, particularly at research universities. Whether the new blood will bring about a substantial reshaping of the nation’s higher education agenda is a matter of debate, but the shift highlights the notoriously poor job that most colleges do to prepare for presidential transitions. And it brings to the fore the stark reality that higher education is now a seller’s market for the handful of candidates whom the nation’s top-tier institutions are likely to view as worthy.