3 reasons why higher education needs optimist leaders

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have little in common politically. Moreover, they think about how to make decisions differently. I was fortunate to attend an event recently where both men talked about leadership (full video is at the end of this post). While they offered great specific advice, one point constantly struck me:  they are both optimists. Much of the higher education world is filled with doom and gloom from reduced funding, waning public support, and criticism about costs and outcomes. Given all the challenges facing higher education, I want to share 3 reasons why higher education needs optimist leaders.

Photo credit: Reuters

Presidents Clinton and Bush faced numerous crises during their administrations. The address problems using a different ideology, management style, and decision-making philosophy.

How to choose the right doc program in higher ed

I meet with a number of master’s students and prospective doctoral students considering getting their doctorate in higher education. There are many programs out there that offer various types of Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees. I’ve previously discussed the difference between an Ed.D. and Ph.D. In today’s post, I want to share some things to consider in how to choose the right doc program in higher ed.

Photo credit: Elliott Brown

Higher education doctoral programs are different from other disciplines because many students have never formally studied higher education. As a result, I believe students struggle in comparing programs and deciding what kinds of programs might be the best fit.

Are we sacrificing effectiveness for efficiency in higher ed?

Higher education finds itself facing many challenges. In particular, questions about college costs, student debt, and public funding remain at the top of the higher education public policy agenda. I’ve been thinking a great deal about the issue of effectiveness versus efficiency. I’m increasingly concerned that in the push to lower costs, reduce public subsidies and improve internal operations that we are approaching a dangerous line: Are we sacrificing effectiveness for efficiency in higher education?

Photo credit: Ben Sutherland

Teaching with humor: Lessons from the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a wonderful teacher. The same could be said for Pope Francis and many religious leaders. I had the privilege to hear the Dalai Lama during his visit to SMU’s campus. He shared his belief in humanity and the power of compassion and happiness.  Of course, these are themes His Holiness frequently discusses. What struck me most throughout the event was the degree to which he obviously believes in teaching with humor. Despite the well-known benefits of teaching with humor, I believe we don’t do this enough in college teaching.

From the nearly the moment he took the stage to the end (pictured above), the Dalai Lama used humor to bring in and connect with the audience.