Smart Leadership for Higher Education in Difficult Times
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Smart Leadership for Higher Education in Difficult Times

Edited by David W. Breneman and Paul J. Yakoboski

As the US economy emerges from the severest recession in a generation, large questions regarding its long-term ramifications for higher education remain unanswered. In fact, the harshest effects of the economic downturn are likely ahead as campus leadership focuses on enrollment, affordability and fundraising. This volume of essays examines the challenges and opportunities for advancing higher education’s core missions of education, research and service in a resource-constrained environment.
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Chapter 8: Opportunities and Obstacles: The Imperative of Global Citizenship

J. Michael Adams


J. Michael Adams Large systems are inherently stable. They resist change. They do not readily incorporate new ideas, particularly those that threaten current operations, which may seem to be working well. Interestingly, opposition often increases in environments of obvious threat, chaos and attack. In a study of American colleges, noted historian Frederick Rudolph concluded that “resistance to fundamental reform was ingrained in the American collegiate and university tradition.” (Kerr 2001, p. 72) This is not unique to American colleges, though. Clark Kerr, the renowned higher education leader, once wrote, Universities are among the most conservative of all institutions in their methods of governance and conduct and are likely to remain so. (Kerr 2001, p. 220) But wait a minute. Aren’t universities beacons of change, full of radicals and revolutionaries eager to throw out the old and beckon the new? That’s a popular perception. I went to college in the 1960s when the media convinced America that a revolution was brewing on college campuses around the country. And that reputation continues among the general public. Assuredly, with all the intellectual activity running rampant on campuses, there’s always someone somewhere looking to turn things upside down. But the broad picture today actually reveals a group of educators and administrators wedded to the familiar and a group of students searching for their place in the status quo. The world spins rapidly, driven by one change after another, and yet universities remain grounded in tradition and routine, with structures similar to centuries gone by....

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