Excellence in Leadership,
Science and Education

Great things are done by a series of small things.


“College costs too much” — 127 million hits. “Is a college education really worth it?” — 209 million hits. “Tech school is better than college education” — 1.1 billion hits. These recent Google searches and their associated number of results clearly reflect growing concerns and public discussions around the costs of higher education and, in particular, the cost of university or college education. Shrinking state and federal budgets continue to mean students and their families are paying a larger share of higher education costs, often in the form of significant debt. Very naturally, if investments are larger, people and governments seek measurable returns. While the purpose of education is many fold — critical thinking skills, personal and cultural enrichment, a thoughtful citizenry, and more — certainly an important goal is to prepare students to earn a living as productive citizens. So should we be encouraging more of our students who are now pursuing a college degree to seek a technical/vocational degree?


In the 1980s, we communicated via landlines and snail mail, we enjoyed our music on Walkmans and boomboxes, and we read books using... well, books. Much has changed in the past 30 years. Yet if you put a university president from 1986 next to a university president of today, you could hardly tell them apart. Both would likely be white middle-aged men with doctorates in education. Both probably rose from within the ranks of higher education with about a one-in-three chance of having come directly from the Chief Academic Officer position. Both probably served their entire careers in academia and have likely been full-time faculty. Between 1986 and 2012, the American Council on Education published seven reports on “The American College President,“ and perhaps the most striking finding is how little has changed.


Building the right team is one of the key requirements for any administration to be successful; while great and visionary leaders can point the way, only great leadership teams can achieve success. Trust occurs at a truly biological level. Trust, or the lack of it, has allowed humans to survive. Trust is what fosters the building of families, communities and nations; what allows us to engage in commerce, in friendship and in relationships, big or small. Will they be there when I need them? Will my family, my community, my country care for me when I am old, sick or weak? Will my agreement be honored? These and many other questions are answered through trust.