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There are few organizations as complex in terms of mission, structure and stakeholders as a university. And while shared governance is clearly an operational necessity in higher education, administrative leadership is also required to produce optimum outcomes for students, faculty, staff and the broader community of an institution. Among many other duties, leaders in higher ed (and beyond) advocate for the institution and its mission, articulate a future-oriented vision internally and externally, ensure the highest quality of support, and assure the fiscal and organizational integrity of the institution.
However, we must understand two features of leadership. Firstly, leadership is not just about title or rank, and it certainly is not just about “the top.” Leadership, and the need and opportunity for effective leaders, occurs at every level of an organization. This is especially true of a university, where faculty and staff leaders play an integral part in its governance.