When anchored by principle, evidence, and expertise, presidents of independent colleges and universities are best prepared to formulate strategies and implement solutions to new, sometimes unprecedented challenges. Big shifts in student demographics, enrollment patterns, cost structures, family finances, and public perceptions of the purpose and value of higher education all call for wise choices by colleges and those who lead them. How do presidents weigh long-standing commitments to institutional mission and tradition with new opportunities and strategic imperatives? How can presidents find reliable guidance among competing institutional visions and their implications for enrollment, academic quality, modes of teaching and learning, and new business models? How do presidents convey both confidence and candor when leading significant change, and how can campus communities—the faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees—be encouraged to embrace opportunities for fresh approaches? Persuading donors and other key constituents also calls for presidential vision and enthusiasm in support of new directions. Presidential leadership that is deft, informed, and resilient is key in this evolving environment.
With the theme “Leading Strategic Change,” the 2019 Presidents Institute will address these and many other questions as presidents explore how to lead their institutions with greater skill and confidence. The Presidents Institute includes the New Presidents Program, with its parallel program for spouses and partners of new presidents, the Presidents Governance Academy, and a substantive Spouses and Partners Program.
The Institute—the largest annual meeting of college and university presidents in the country—provides a forum for candid discussion of critical issues, opportunities to learn from experts, and time to network with presidential colleagues who lead similar institutions. Morning concurrent sessions, many led by presidential colleagues, address practical aspects of leading independent colleges and universities. Optional afternoon workshops provide hands-on opportunities to tackle critical issues in greater depth. Daily plenary sessions set a larger context for presidential leadership, drawing on the insights of distinguished experts and experienced colleagues. Meetings of associated organizations and roundtable discussions over breakfast afford informal settings to discuss issues of common interest. Extended refreshment breaks and daily receptions offer occasions to network with colleagues, renew friendships, and make new acquaintances. The involvement of sponsoring firms and consultants makes available industry-leading expertise as well as generous financial backing to underwrite Institute costs.
The 2019 Institute includes the New Presidents Program (January 3–4) with sessions for spouses and partners of new presidents, the Presidents Governance Academy (January 3–4), and a substantive Spouses and Partners Program (January 4–7).