Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Monday, February 12, 2007

So you think you want to be a university president?

I am not sure how many people grow up dreaming of becoming the president of any college or university. However, there are certain traits that are very useful to have if one seeks the position of president on campus (versus president of the United States). Today's Chronicle of Higher Education reports comparisons of survey responses by university presidents in 2006 versus 1986.

There have been tremendous gains in women presidents, slightly smaller gains amongst minorities.

It is interesting to see that nearly a majority of public school presidents (44%) thought the legislature was the most trying part of their job and a near majority of private school presidents (42%) thought their governming board (the near-equivalent of the legislature for a private school) was the most challenging part of the job.

In both cases it is outside "shareholders" who create the greatest challenge. I wonder if this is because the outsiders want the university to do what it is not designed to do or if the outsiders act to correct the principal-agent problem such that the agent (the university) is "unhappy".

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