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On Being Presidential: A Guide for College and University Leaders 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-1118027769
ISBN-10: 1118027760
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On Being Presidential: A Guide for College and University Leaders + Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It + Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In this insightful book, former university president Susan Resneck Pierce offers a guide for academic presidents, aspiring presidents, trustees, senior administrators, faculty leaders, and others who need a clear understanding of what presidents do and the larger issues facing institutions, in turn helping them understand their various roles and responsibilities in order to best serve their institutions.

Although academic leadership has always been demanding, in recent decades it has become more so. As the cost of higher education escalates, so do demands from parents and students. On Being Presidential is filled with specific recommendations that show how presidents and boards can effectively work together and how presidents can enhance their relationships with both internal and external constituencies. The book addresses the reality that asuccessful president must raise money, manage the institution's financial and human resources, advance its mission, and ensure its future. Pierce also describes the challenges of becoming a public figure and offers suggestions for how presidents and their spouses or partners can craft private lives for themselves while living in a "fishbowl."

On Being Presidential contains recommendations for how both traditional and nontraditional candidates can prepare for a successful presidency, demystifies the search process, and suggests ways for presidential candidates to craft compelling applications.

Pierce also interviewed current and former presidents who describe the pleasures of the presidency, sharing inside stories about their careers and why their presidential experience were so satisfying. Following the presidential career full circle, the book includes advice to departing presidents and their boards and offers real-life examples of how presidents can let go gracefully.

With candor and wisdom, Susan Resneck Pierce brings to light the myriad of opportunities and challenges of being presidential.

About the Author

Susan Resneck Pierce is president emerita of the University of Puget Sound. As president of SRP Consulting, she advises colleges and universities on planning, effective board and presidential performance, board development, governance, and fundraising.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118027760
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118027769
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Resneck Pierce is President of SRP CONSULTING, LLC and President Emerita of the University of Puget Sound where she served from 1992-2003. Under her leadership, Puget Sound entered the ranks of the national liberal arts colleges.

Today, she advises colleges and universities on effective board and presidential performance, governance, board development and strategic planning. She coaches presidents, advises board chairs and facilitates focused retreats for boards, president's cabinets and faculty.

Dr. Pierce writes and speaks extensively about higher education and American literature. Jossey-Bass published and Inside Higher Ed sponsored her two recent books: Governance Reconsidered: How Boards, Presidents, Administrators and Faculty Can Help Their Colleges Thrive (2014) and On Being Presidential: A Guide for College and University Leaders, (2012). She is also the author of The Moral of the Story and co-editor of a book on Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. She has served as VP for Academic Affairs at Lewis & Clark College, A&S Dean at the University of Tulsa, Assistant Director of Education Programs at NEH, Visiting Associate Professor at Princeton and Chair of English at Ithaca College. She has been active in many civic, cultural and professional organizations. Susan Pierce received her bachelor's degree from Wellesley College, her MA from the University of Chicago, and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, all in English.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LUIS MA R CALINGO on January 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book to those who are preparing themselves for senior leadership positions in higher education. The book is divided into two parts: Part I (Being an Effective President) and Part II (Becoming an Effective President). Having first read this then-new book as a provost preparing for participation in presidential searches, I found Part II particularly helpful in understanding the nuances of presidential searches. As a new university president, I find this book even more helpful as it validates the value of many of the leadership behaviors I have developed over the years. Part I offers several experience-based tips on the various aspects of presidential work--from working with the board to interacting with the campus. The first chapter appropriately starts with vivid examples of how not to do it. I have recommended this book to my vice presidents to enable them to get an insight into my presidential leadership style. For the price of a book, Dr. Pierce will give you the most cost-effective consultation in presidential leadership.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carol B. on December 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book in three days! As a person who hopes to become a Provost or Special Assistant to the President, I loved the opportunity to hear, first hand, from a woman with such an illustrious career-prior, during and after her presidency. I found her narratives, and her willingness to share mistakes as well as successes, extremely valuable.

My personal library contains many books on leadership in higher education. Most of these works are useful and share important perspectives on faculty, presidencies, and higher education, in general. What I especially loved about this book was Dr. Pierce's storytelling, candidness and humor. I came away from the book with sound suggestions and a better understanding of the skills required for good leadership practice.

It's not always easy to find individual mentors. The honesty, transparency and wisdom in a book like this one teaches us poignant professional lessons. The book should be reread by senior administrators each time we enter a new role.

Some books are written from the head, but this one is written from the heart. If you plan to become a president, work for a president or you want more familiarity with the role of a president, this is an interesting and practical must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott Dalrymple on January 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read a few books on the role of the college president, and not one of them compares to this. Dr. Pierce's style is breezy and engaging. She makes her points via case studies and examples, rather than vague generalities. Much of her advice I've heard nowhere else. It's like having an experienced friend next to you whispering in your ear.

The chapter on the presidential search process alone is worth the price of this book. Thanks partly to that advice, I landed a president's job on my first try. I know I will re-read many times the chapters on being an effective president. One valuable tip from Dr. Pierce: If you ever have a presidential residence, know that renovating it can become a huge issue on campus!

Seriously, a great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gs on July 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
If you want to be a better leader, read this book. Filled with lessons and advice, Dr. Pierce provides you a blueprint for effective and successful leadership in any endeavor. As a leader in the public and non-profit sectors, I found this to be one of the best books on leadership I have ever read. Dr. Pierce writes with authenticity and grace. It is clear that she cares about students, interacts transparently with others, and includes all constituencies in her decision making process. All characteristics of an outstanding leader. Learn her secrets of success in this succinct and enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Tam on July 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book is well-written and explains the complex world of higher education administration in a concise manner. It is a great read for those who are looking to move into higher education administration, or just want a better understanding of the world of educational leadership. This book has helped me personally in understanding higher education, and given me practical lessons I can use in my own work in education.
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By Prexy on May 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a former college president, and for the last 25 years professional counsel to well over 100 college and university presidential search committees across the United States, I have read more than my share of books on the academic presidency. Susan Pierce's is hands-down the very best! In a clear and concise manner, and with innumerable examples, Dr. Pierce covers every imaginable aspect of the presidency. Persons aspiring to the office, those recently elected, and yes, even those who have held the office for a period of time will benefit from reading the book. I believe this work is of such value I have purchased a copy for each person appointed to the presidency in searches I have served as consultant. It is a must read!
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By Jeffrey J. Matthews on August 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I strongly recommend this book to trustees, administrators, and faculty. Moreover, if you aspire to become a president or if you serve on a search committee this should be required reading. Pierce deftly blends her experience as a university president and consultant with contemporary research. The result is an insightful and engaging analysis of good and bad presidencies that is filled with sage wisdom. Well organized and well written, I will be consulting this book for years to come. PS: I just ordered Pierce's newest book, Governance Reconsidered. Looking forward to it!
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