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Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"The lessons Bowen cites are wise and sound and balanced and, in my opinion, absolutely right on."--Hanna Holborn Gray, former president of the University of Chicago

"Lessons Learned is so compelling that I read it in one sitting the day I received it. Bowen's specific and vivid examples masterfully illustrate the general points he makes about governance, administration, setting priorities, recruiting faculty and students, and fundraising. I found it most stimulating as well as illuminating to read."--Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania

"There is an unusual amount of wisdom and good common sense in these pages from which any academic leader or aspiring leader could learn a lot."--Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University

"I loved reading Lessons Learned. It is thoughtful, pithy, and wise. This is a terrific book. I am only sorry I did not have the benefit of reading it nine years ago. I would have saved myself from making a few big mistakes."--Lawrence S. Bacow, president of Tufts University

"This book, it seems to me, is Bill Bowen the teacher in full cry, delivering the goods with his usual insight, clarity, and force. This is not a memoir or history of his years in Princeton's Nassau Hall but rather a sophisticated, winsome guide to what worked--and didn't work--as he navigated the presidential wilds. Lessons Learned is in a league by itself."--Taylor Reveley, president of the College of William and Mary

Synopsis:

Lessons Learned gives unprecedented access to the university president's office, providing a unique set of reflections on the challenges involved in leading both research universities and liberal arts colleges. In this landmark book, William Bowen, former president of Princeton University and of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and coauthor of the acclaimed best-seller The Shape of the River, takes readers behind closed faculty-room doors to discuss how today's colleges and universities serve their age-old missions.

With extraordinary candor, clarity, and good humor, Bowen shares the sometimes-hard lessons he learned about working with trustees, faculty, and campus groups; building an effective administrative team; deciding when to speak out on big issues and when to insist on institutional restraint; managing dissent; cultivating alumni and raising funds; setting academic priorities; fostering inclusiveness; eventually deciding when and how to leave the president's office; and much more. Drawing on more than four decades of experience, Bowen demonstrates how his greatest lessons often arose from the missteps he made along the way, and how, when it comes to university governance, there are important general principles but often no single right answer.

Full of compelling stories, insights, and practical wisdom, Lessons Learned frames the questions that leaders of higher education will continue to confront at a complex moment in history.

About the Author

William G. Bowen is president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University. His many books include the acclaimed bestseller "The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions" and "Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities" (both Princeton).

Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: Preamble and Context 1

CHAPTER TWO: Governing 7

The Trustees and the Resident Campus Community 8

Consultation and Decision-making on Campus 16

The ROTC Debate as an Illustrative Case of Shared Governance 21

CHAPTER THREE: Administering 24

Building an Effective Administrative Team 24

Structuring Interactions 30

Compensation--for Administrators and for the President 32

CHAPTER FOUR: The University in Society: "At a Slight Angle to the Universe" 35

Basic Principles 35

The Proposed Boycott of J. P. Stevens 42

Divestment and South Africa 44

Freedom to Speak--and to Hear 46

Handling Dissent and Invoking Discipline 53

CHAPTER FIVE: Setting Academic Priorities: Annual Budgeting 59

Process 59

Principles 61

CHAPTER SIX: Setting Academic Priorities: Strategic Decisions 66

Coeducation 67

Investing in the Life Sciences 73

Graduate Education and Professional Schools 76

Strategic Decision-making in General 81

CHAPTER SEVEN: Building the Faculty 84

Recruiting and Retaining Faculty 84

Reviewing Tenure Recommendations and Salary Proposals 91

Faculty Diversity 95

CHAPTER EIGHT: Undergraduates: Admissions, Financial Aid, and Inclusiveness 98

Diversity and Financial Aid 99

Affi rmative Action and Race 101

Socioeconomic Status 106

Athletic Recruitment 109

Religious Divides: Jewish Students 112

Residential Life 115

CHAPTER NINE: Fund-Raising and Alumni Relations 119

Knowing Your Needs--and Your Donors 120

The Robertson Foundation Saga 124

Alumni Relations in General 127

Contending with Hostile Groups 129

CHAPTER TEN: Life in a President's Offi ce--and When to Leave 133

Partners, Colleagues, and Friends 133

Deciding What Not to Do as Well as What to Do 136

On Leaving 140

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Epilogue: Why Colleges and Universities Matter So Much 144

Acknowledgments 149

References 155

Index 161

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691158082
Author:
Bowen, William G.
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Subject:
Higher
Subject:
Education
Subject:
Education-General
Subject:
Higher education
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
184
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Education » General
Education » Higher Education
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution

Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President New Trade Paper
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Product details 184 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691158082 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Lessons Learned gives unprecedented access to the university president's office, providing a unique set of reflections on the challenges involved in leading both research universities and liberal arts colleges. In this landmark book, William Bowen, former president of Princeton University and of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and coauthor of the acclaimed best-seller The Shape of the River, takes readers behind closed faculty-room doors to discuss how today's colleges and universities serve their age-old missions.

With extraordinary candor, clarity, and good humor, Bowen shares the sometimes-hard lessons he learned about working with trustees, faculty, and campus groups; building an effective administrative team; deciding when to speak out on big issues and when to insist on institutional restraint; managing dissent; cultivating alumni and raising funds; setting academic priorities; fostering inclusiveness; eventually deciding when and how to leave the president's office; and much more. Drawing on more than four decades of experience, Bowen demonstrates how his greatest lessons often arose from the missteps he made along the way, and how, when it comes to university governance, there are important general principles but often no single right answer.

Full of compelling stories, insights, and practical wisdom, Lessons Learned frames the questions that leaders of higher education will continue to confront at a complex moment in history.

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