What you should know if you aspire to be a college president

Mentoring is a key component of leadership

Three former presidents of historically black colleges and universities shared their insights for the future leaders of their institutions, Autumn Arnett reports for Education Dive.   

Johnson C. Smith University President Emerita Dorothy Cowser Yancy discussed what she called a "leadership crisis" at the nation's HBCUs with Thurgood Marshall Fund President in Residence John Garland and former Howard University President Sidney Ribeau.

The former presidents, who have launched an education search firm called TM2 to recruit potential leaders for the institutions, stressed the importance of mentoring leaders. They offered the following advice for aspiring presidents.

Garland's advice:

  • Accept that you don't know everything;
  • Develop expertise in a certain skill;
  • Exercise regularly; and  
  • Learn how to delegate tasks. 

Yancy's advice:

  • Have an understanding of all facets of higher education;
  • Keep students' needs at the forefront;  and
  • Keep your focus on the end goal.

White paper: Learn to develop academic leaders

Ribeau's advice:

  • Be decisive;
  • Be intellectually curious; and
  • Remember that it's really all about the students (Arnett, Education Dive, 3/10). 

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