InsideHigherEd Publishes Stewart Essay on Change

President Joan Hinde Stewart
President Joan Hinde Stewart

In an  essay in InsideHigherEd titled “Change,” President Joan Hinde Stewart began with a reference to the recent leadership upheaval at the University of Virginia.  Published on August 16, the article  addressed how college presidents might consider their decision-making processes in making institutional changes.  Stewart included advice she offered in an invited presentation at the Mellon Foundation to new college presidents. She suggested to her new colleagues that they should first “identify those things that they would not alter.”


Stewart asked, “Are the best presidents really those hungriest for change at any cost?” In answering, she wrote, “… the wise course, it seems to me, is for presidents to begin by identifying what they do not want to change – for example, their institutions’ core values and the commitments that flow from them.”


Later in the article, she wrote, “Forces that will impose change on the whole sector are certainly in play, and we need to pay attention to trends affecting pricing, energy, curriculum, assessment, technology, globalization and the like. But we also need to figure out when it makes sense for an institution to follow such trends and when to resist them, taking drastic measures only with specific objectives in view.”

In conclusion, Stewart reminded readers, “The American higher education system has endured for centuries by adapting to change and preserving that which is most defining and essential – and being able to differentiate between the two.”



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