Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

No Leadership Lull: Stakeholder Perspectives on the Interim Presidency
by Tichenor, Kristin Ruth, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2019, 235; 13897887
Abstract (Summary)

The interim presidency represents a critical juncture in the life of an institution. Colleges and universities in the midst of presidential turnover are at a crossroads and the choices made by governing boards during this transition period may have lasting implications. This study analyzed the interim presidency period through the perspectives of key stakeholders: the interim and current presidents, members of the Boards of Trustees, members of the senior leadership team and faculty governance leaders. By delving into the perspectives of key stakeholder groups, this study offers Board members and other institutional leaders valuable insights that can inform their transition planning and decision-making. The study examined the extent to which the interim presidency, held by a non-contender for the position, helped to address strategic priorities, advance institutional goals and set the stage for a long-term successor. The findings were gathered from a multi-site case study of four year, private colleges and universities that had recently experienced an interim presidency. Data was obtained through interviews, a document review, and an analysis of key performance indicators. The study found that interim periods put pressure on governing boards to make a series of high-stakes decisions quickly. These decisions can positively or negatively influence the effectiveness of the interim period. The study also found that colleges and universities have a number of pressing issues to address during the interim period, beyond the search for a replacement president. Finally, the choice of interim president is critical to the success or failure of the interim period. The ideal leader will be able to function as a healer, fixer and mentor to the campus community at various times during the interregnum. Researchers, governing boards and stakeholders alike stand to benefit from a better understanding of the interim presidency and its impact on higher education, especially if they wish to use the interim period to position institutions for future success.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Eckel, Peter
Commitee: Kaplan, Eric, Jones, Stephen
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Management
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher education, Educational leadership, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Interim, Leadership, Presidency, Succession, Transition, Turnover
Publication Number: 13897887
ISBN: 9781085646819
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