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IAU Durban Conference, August 20-25, 2000
                                   11th General Conference: Universities as Gateway to the Future
                                                                                Plenary Panel III



Madeleine Green
Vice-President, American Council on Education, U.S.A.

Introduction
I am pleased to have the opportunity to represent Dr. Ikenberry and the American Council on
Education. I would like to elaborate on his comments and tie the subject of 'Governance and
Stakeholders' to that of 'Leadership'. Although 'What leadership?' is one of the three main questions of
the Conference, there has been relatively little discussion of this theme. I was pleased that two of my
colleagues brought it back up today. Knowing of Professor Elmandjara's allergy to the topic of
leadership, perhaps shared by some of you, I approach this issue with due caution. I think it is
important enough that it merit some exchange. I am also acutely aware of the fact any discussion of
leadership must be placed in the context of the social, cultural and political environment in which it
occurs. I, like others, view leadership through a particular set of lenses. I am also conscious of the
fact that Americans are known to have a kind of romance with leadership. But, it is a significant
question for universities and there are strong commonalties in the academy that transcend national and
cultural boundaries. It is a kind of academic culture that provides a similar context for leadership that
takes place in the context of shared values of which there has been so much discussion in the last few
days - the shared values of social responsibility, of free enquiry, of respect for knowledge, of
education as preparation for life and citizenship, Despite our differences, there are enough
commonalties in the academic culture that we can talk about real similarities in leadership.
Three Propositions about Leadership
I would like to present three propositions about a leadership for your consideration. The first is tied to
change. What we have been talking about also for the past few days is change in higher education.
This proposition then is that universities can let change happen because it will happen anyway or they
can shape their futures. And, that shaping of the future is the role of leadership. We have been talking
quite a bit about how institutions can meet the needs of students, of society, of stakeholders, the
delicate balance of pushing forward and preserving time-honoured values. Those balances will not
adjust themselves to our satisfaction without some vigorous leadership. We know that many changes
will happen by themselves in higher education. One cannot stop the wind from blowing. We have
observed the powerful forces of demography, of rising expectations and globalization. So, to use a
surfing metaphor, the role of leadership is to stand up and to ride the waves and not simply let the
waves ride over you. That is going to be an enormous task as we head into the stormy future.
My second proposition about leadership - and this ties it to stakeholders and governance- is that it is
not a solo act. Increasingly, it relies on the formation of solid partnerships. Good governance requires
many leaders working together. Everyone needs to participate in the hard work of change. Thus, a
major task of leaders in the process of change is to unleash the creativity and the positive energy of
others who are doing the work of change. Moving the institution forward is the work of many. In a
democratic institution such as a university, leaders lead with the consent of the government.
Followers are not particularly a good term in the academy. The academics do not think of themselves
as followers. Nor do students. So, in the complex world of multiple stakeholders, conflicting
demands and rapidly changing environments, what is needed clearly are leaders who can establish
many kinds of partnerships, with internal and external groups, who together, can take the institution
forward. As life gets more complicated, as the white water in which institutions exist gets more
turbulent, it is clear that leading this enterprise is too difficult and too complex a task for solo
performers.
John Gardner, who is an American commentator, a wise writer on leadership, said 'Leadership is
mobilizing people towards the accomplishment of shared goals'. A shared goal is the operative
expression and the difficult one in higher education. It implies many shared values. The reality is of
enormously different voices, different paths and a lot of conflict about reaching goals and identifying
those shared goals. So, another task of leadership is balancing that sense of community and shared
goals with a great freedom that must exist within that community.
My third point is about the need to align good management, good leadership and good governance.
We tend to emphasize the differences between managers and leaders, higher education and universities
as communities or businesses, but I think the trip through the future will be convergence and not
divergence. There is a lot of reaction to managerialism that seems to have swept higher education
around the world. One prominent form of that reaction is a kind of nostalgia for the real community of
scholars unfettered by the base concerns of money, the market, the intrusion of noisy and articulate
stakeholders, the marginalized banging on the door for places, students or his faculty, or his policy-
makers and leaders. If those times ever existed, they are no longer. And, the more democratic and
pluralistic are societies to become, the messier the tasks will be of being transparent, accountable,
cost-effective, inclusive all within the context of an academic community.
Reactive or Proactive Leadership?
The theme of this Conference 'Universities is a Gateway to the Future', I think, makes it abundantly
clear that while we need to keep our eye on the rear view mirror, the journey is ahead of us. What is
also clear is that the paceof change does not have an end point. At no point can you, as leaders, say
the work of institutional change is done. So, we are at a moment of great opportunity in higher
education around the world. The question for all of you, and us as university leaders, is whether we
shape our future or does it simply happen.

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IAU Durban Conference Leadership Panel Discussion

  • 1. IAU Durban Conference, August 20-25, 2000 11th General Conference: Universities as Gateway to the Future Plenary Panel III Madeleine Green Vice-President, American Council on Education, U.S.A. Introduction I am pleased to have the opportunity to represent Dr. Ikenberry and the American Council on Education. I would like to elaborate on his comments and tie the subject of 'Governance and Stakeholders' to that of 'Leadership'. Although 'What leadership?' is one of the three main questions of the Conference, there has been relatively little discussion of this theme. I was pleased that two of my colleagues brought it back up today. Knowing of Professor Elmandjara's allergy to the topic of leadership, perhaps shared by some of you, I approach this issue with due caution. I think it is important enough that it merit some exchange. I am also acutely aware of the fact any discussion of leadership must be placed in the context of the social, cultural and political environment in which it occurs. I, like others, view leadership through a particular set of lenses. I am also conscious of the fact that Americans are known to have a kind of romance with leadership. But, it is a significant question for universities and there are strong commonalties in the academy that transcend national and cultural boundaries. It is a kind of academic culture that provides a similar context for leadership that takes place in the context of shared values of which there has been so much discussion in the last few days - the shared values of social responsibility, of free enquiry, of respect for knowledge, of education as preparation for life and citizenship, Despite our differences, there are enough commonalties in the academic culture that we can talk about real similarities in leadership. Three Propositions about Leadership I would like to present three propositions about a leadership for your consideration. The first is tied to change. What we have been talking about also for the past few days is change in higher education. This proposition then is that universities can let change happen because it will happen anyway or they can shape their futures. And, that shaping of the future is the role of leadership. We have been talking quite a bit about how institutions can meet the needs of students, of society, of stakeholders, the delicate balance of pushing forward and preserving time-honoured values. Those balances will not adjust themselves to our satisfaction without some vigorous leadership. We know that many changes will happen by themselves in higher education. One cannot stop the wind from blowing. We have observed the powerful forces of demography, of rising expectations and globalization. So, to use a surfing metaphor, the role of leadership is to stand up and to ride the waves and not simply let the waves ride over you. That is going to be an enormous task as we head into the stormy future. My second proposition about leadership - and this ties it to stakeholders and governance- is that it is not a solo act. Increasingly, it relies on the formation of solid partnerships. Good governance requires many leaders working together. Everyone needs to participate in the hard work of change. Thus, a major task of leaders in the process of change is to unleash the creativity and the positive energy of others who are doing the work of change. Moving the institution forward is the work of many. In a democratic institution such as a university, leaders lead with the consent of the government. Followers are not particularly a good term in the academy. The academics do not think of themselves as followers. Nor do students. So, in the complex world of multiple stakeholders, conflicting demands and rapidly changing environments, what is needed clearly are leaders who can establish many kinds of partnerships, with internal and external groups, who together, can take the institution forward. As life gets more complicated, as the white water in which institutions exist gets more turbulent, it is clear that leading this enterprise is too difficult and too complex a task for solo performers. John Gardner, who is an American commentator, a wise writer on leadership, said 'Leadership is mobilizing people towards the accomplishment of shared goals'. A shared goal is the operative expression and the difficult one in higher education. It implies many shared values. The reality is of enormously different voices, different paths and a lot of conflict about reaching goals and identifying
  • 2. those shared goals. So, another task of leadership is balancing that sense of community and shared goals with a great freedom that must exist within that community. My third point is about the need to align good management, good leadership and good governance. We tend to emphasize the differences between managers and leaders, higher education and universities as communities or businesses, but I think the trip through the future will be convergence and not divergence. There is a lot of reaction to managerialism that seems to have swept higher education around the world. One prominent form of that reaction is a kind of nostalgia for the real community of scholars unfettered by the base concerns of money, the market, the intrusion of noisy and articulate stakeholders, the marginalized banging on the door for places, students or his faculty, or his policy- makers and leaders. If those times ever existed, they are no longer. And, the more democratic and pluralistic are societies to become, the messier the tasks will be of being transparent, accountable, cost-effective, inclusive all within the context of an academic community. Reactive or Proactive Leadership? The theme of this Conference 'Universities is a Gateway to the Future', I think, makes it abundantly clear that while we need to keep our eye on the rear view mirror, the journey is ahead of us. What is also clear is that the paceof change does not have an end point. At no point can you, as leaders, say the work of institutional change is done. So, we are at a moment of great opportunity in higher education around the world. The question for all of you, and us as university leaders, is whether we shape our future or does it simply happen.