President Connie Ledoux Book and President Emeritus Leo M. Lambert were featured in a recent publication by the Chronicle of Higher Education about the challenges of leading a university.
President Connie Ledoux Book and President Emeritus Leo M. Lambert were quoted in a report by the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “The Challenge of Leading Today’s Colleges.”
Book and Lambert were featured in a section of the report called “Why is the Job of College President So Difficult?” The piece details the obstacles facing college presidents, including the decline in the average length of presidential tenures across the nation since 2011. The report details the roles financial constraints, declining college-age populations and other factors play in the trend.
The article also highlights Elon’s Faculty Administrative Fellows program as one of the ways universities across the country are identifying and training potential faculty candidates for executive roles.
The program, which allows one faculty member to join the president’s senior staff for two years to participate in senior-level administrative work, began under Lambert in 2004. In the article, the president emeritus explained the need for this type of program.
“I believe higher education is very short-sighted,” Lambert said. “We are not doing enough to identify and prepare emerging leaders, particularly on our faculty, to assume administrative roles.”
President Book was a professor and associate dean of the School of Communications when Lambert selected her for the fellowship in 2008.
“I had no plans to be a president or provost,” Book said in the article. “I was very focused on getting tenure, and it was something that wasn’t on my radar.”
Book would serve as associate provost at Elon before becoming the first woman to be provost and dean in the 175-year history of the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. In 2018, she became the ninth president of Elon University.
While the publication discusses many of the struggles and future challenges facing higher education, Lambert says, that struggle is worth it.
“It’s hard, complex, but enormously fulfilling,” Lambert said.
To read the entire Chronicle of Higher Education report, click here.