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American Council on Education,
The Presidency Excerpt
Fall 2009

Chronicle of Higher Education Excerpt
June 2008

Academic Leader Excerpt
June 2008


Leading a Small College or University:
A Conversation that Never Ends
Harry L. Peterson

Harry Peterson starts his book with a simple and modest statement:

To succeed in a job you must first understand it. My first goal in this book is to help you understand the job of president of a college or university. My second goal is to help you be successful in the job if, after you understand it, you still want to pursue it. This book is written for you.

Peterson analyzes the environment of today’s presidency, a time of declining trust, respect for authority and loss of community. These conditions require leadership and communication skills. To help understand the behavior of university members and developing community, Peterson analyzes the context in which leaders work and uses the current research on social capital.

Successful presidents of smaller institutions share an understanding of at least four characteristics, Peterson tells us:

  • They understand the unique characteristics of small colleges and universities, and take advantage of that smallness.

  • They understand the nature of the job.

  • They understand people.

  • They understand themselves.

Not only will presidents and aspiring presidents find guidance here, but also those who support and observe their work: department chairs, deans, vice presidents and board members.   

Sponsorship for Harry Peterson's research was provided by the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Advancement (WISCAPE).

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Leading a Small College or University

ISBN-13: 978-1-891859-71-7
160 pages


Table of Contents
Author Biography

What They're Saying about Leading a Small College or University...

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