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Weekly Wisdom

Weekly Wisdom is an event series that streams live on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn on Mondays. Each event also becomes a podcast episode. Every week, the UIA joins forces with Inside Higher Ed and talks with a sitting college president or chancellor about how they're specifically navigating the challenges of this moment. These conversations are filled with practicable things you can do right now by unpacking how and why college leaders are making decisions within higher education. These episodes will also leave you with a sense of optimism and inspiration.

You have to have a culture that embraces, supports, and is committed to these students and their success. The second key element is having the people who are committed to the culture. Once you have that platform, then you can start to think about programs. That’s the mindset we’ve brought to this.

Kim Wilcox

Chancellor, University of California, Riverside

We know now the world is much more complicated than we thought. Historic institutions that are non-adaptive are going to have difficulty adjusting to these kinds of high-speed changes. We need to instill the ability to adjust and keep performing our mission as a core part of what we do.

Michael Crow

President, Arizona State University

This is the time when American higher education understands that our strength as a country will be inextricably tied to our success in bringing people from all backgrounds into the problem solving as we face the future.

Freeman Hrabowski, III

President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

We’ve got a lot of important work to make sure that our institutions come through this pandemic and get stronger, at the same time that we address the issues that are right in front of us around systemic racism.

Mark Becker

President, Georgia State University

If you start to address what’s important to people, I think people are going to take you seriously, regardless of if you’re in a room with them, or if you’re doing it virtually.

Frank Dooley

Chancellor, Purdue University Global

You’ve got to be willing to have courage to have these open and frank discussions, you’ve got to put yourself in a position to foster these kinds of discussions, and sometimes, more often than not, you will listen to your constituency and they will have the better solutions.

Harold L. Martin, Sr.

Chancellor, North Carolina A&T University

Bridget Burns, Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance, and Jeff Selingo, author, columnist, and special advisor at Arizona State University, are inviting insight and experiences from presidents and chancellors of universities navigating the challenge in real-time. The first guest is Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University since 2002 and a recognized leader in higher education innovation.

How is He Holding Up and Does he have any Advice for Other Presidents?

Crow notes that neither he nor his staff have worked this hard but are working to give their best. He states that holding up is a function of working in the speed of the current fashion, driving as hard as you can, picking up the pace of innovation, advancing new ideas, and trying to adjust to recent encounters.

The Analogy of Leadership as Sailing

He explains a sailing analogy that portrays all the people in academia as sailors at sea experiencing varying wave conditions. Crow said a time like this is like 30-40-foot waves as opposed to the regular, stable seas because of many challenges that are occurring at the same time. He said the key is maintaining seaworthiness while being prepared for damages that come with the storm and adapting, adjusting, and preparing to make alterations to move forward regardless of the tides.

What Kind of Leadership Framework is Helping him now?

Michael calls his current framework offense finding what new changes, thought processes, partnerships, and Co-operations need to be made. He says the key is having a transformational attitude and sharing assets; it’s about modifying your opinions and creating links to weather the storm.

How Does He Stay Focused on Leadership as Opposed to Surrounding Changes?

According to Crow, staying focused on the outcome which is maintaining an environment for learners to learn and advance is vital, because education is essential to the country's success. Crow said being able to focus on what you can control in whatever the changing circumstance is the principal notion.

How Does He Deal With Plans That Are on hold?

He said you have to deal with a back and forth between planning and adjusting because planning is useless when the battle begins. They have tried to implement alternative plans, carry out projects, and add dimensionality in implementing visions.

What are His Plans Against Slipping-back and Low-income Intimidation?

He said he plans to avoid slipping back by understanding the breadth of people that need to learn. They plan to adjust and reach-out to financially affected students to know they are not alone, so they are welcome to enroll.

Does He Need Community Support?

Crow said he needs community and older faculty members to be open-minded, adjust to change, and not give up.

What Inspires Him and What Books Is He Reading?

He said, watching the courage, adaptability, and ingenuity of front-liners, the speed and caring level of his staff, and the order in the community are profoundly inspiring to him. He said after reading history books; he finds deep inspiration and also the biography of scientists. Also, he gets to watch funny movies with his family.

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