Leadership Series Explores Higher Education’s Opportunities to Adapt and Evolve
BETHANY, W.Va. — For the ninth year, Bethany College President Dr. Scott D. Miller will head Presidential Perspectives, a national thought leadership series for college and university presidents.
Dr. Miller and his long-time consulting and publishing colleague Dr. Marylouise Fennell, senior counsel for the Council of Independent Colleges and past president of Carlow University, serve as executive editors of Presidential Perspectives, according to a release by Philadelphia-based Aramark Higher Education, publisher of the series. Written by college and university presidents, the 2014-15 series of chapters focuses on “Inspirational Innovation in Higher Education,” and shares new ideas for programs, operating practices and approaches to address the challenges confronting today’s higher education institutions.
Each series of Presidential Perspectives is a collection of 10 thought-provoking chapter essays authored by college and university presidents, Dr. Miller noted. Beginning in September, one chapter essay of Presidential Perspectives will be released each month to college and university presidents nationwide, with the series culminating in June 2015. At the conclusion of each series, the chapters are printed in book form and published by Aramark.
“We are at a pivotal moment for higher education and now, more than ever, innovation is crucial to moving our industry forward in a positive direction,” said Dr. Fennell. “This compelling leadership series highlights institutions rising to that challenge, and opens the door for other colleges and universities to implement new solutions in their programs and practices.”
“Aramark Higher Education, sponsor of the series, is a leading provider of professional services to colleges and universities throughout North America,” Dr. Miller said. “When you consider the number of ideas and perspectives generated by this series, institutions have a rich resource for examining their current practices and making needed changes for continued success.”
He said that over 80 current and past chapters of Presidential Perspectives can be viewed online at www.presidentialperspectives.org. This site also serves as the repository and archive for all chapters in the nine-year series, author biographies, a chapter calendar and additional information about the series.
“In this effort, we must see our fellow institutions as allies, not opponents. There is infinite room in American higher education for improvement, expansion and collaboration,” states Dr. E. Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University and author of the series’ foreword. “We must reach out, as never before, to others of good will and common intent. We must initiate wholly new kinds of collaborations that extend our missions more completely and effectively to every corner of our nation and beyond.”
The first chapter of the series, entitled “Co-Op 2.0: Why Experiential Learning Matters,” and authored by Dr. Santa J. Ono, President of the University of Cincinnati, stresses the positive impact of experiential learning programs on an institution’s success, including higher student satisfaction, retention and graduation rates, as well as stronger community ties.
“In the process of transforming students, experiential learning also leads to a continuous cycle of assessing and improving the curriculum and the institution. The change-agent becomes the deep collaboration that grows between the university or college and the employers, government agencies and non-profit organizations that seek our students and faculty out to address the real problems they face,” explains Dr. Ono.
Contributing thought leaders for this year’s Presidential Perspectives include:
"Higher Education institutions need to innovate in order to recruit and retain students in an increasingly competitive market,” said Brent Franks, Chief Operating Officer for Aramark’s Education business, which serves as publisher and sponsor of the leadership series. “The presidents and institutions featured in this year’s Presidential Perspectives are shifting the paradigm with innovative programs and ideas that can be shared with other institutions."
Facing more debate than ever before, today’s colleges and universities must overcome potential students’ and parents’ skepticism about the value of higher education by creating unique programmatic and institutional solutions, said Drs. Miller and Fennell.
They have collaborated on a variety of higher education initiatives over the past 20 years. Together they have led a national new presidents program and international consortium, and are consultants to college presidents and boards.
Dr. Miller is in his seventh year as President and M.M. Cochran Professor of Leadership Studies at Bethany College. He was previously President of Wesley College and Lincoln Memorial University. He is Chair of the Board of Directors of Academic Search, Inc.
Dr. Fennell is a former president of Carlow University, is senior counsel for the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and principal of Hyatt Fennell, a higher education search firm.
They have collaborated on 11 books, including “President to President: Views on Technology in Higher Education” (Volumes I to III) and “Presidential Perspectives” (Volumes I to VIII). They edit the popular higher education thought series “Presidential Perspectives” (Aramark Higher Education), now in its ninth year (www.presidentialperspectives.org), and are regular columnists for “Enrollment Manager” and “College Planning and Management.”