Higher Calling: The Rise of Nontraditional Leaders in Academia

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University of Virginia Press, 2017 - Education - 260 pages
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A revolution has been taking place in the ranks of higher education. University and college presidents--once almost invariably the products of "traditional" scholarly, tenure-track career paths, up through the provost's office--are rapidly becoming a group with diverse skills and backgrounds. The same is true for many deans and administrative leaders.

In Higher Calling: The Rise of Nontraditional Leaders in Academia, Scott C. Beardsley, dean of the University of Virginia's prestigious Darden School of Business, offers a new vision of leadership for today's higher education. Grounded in the author's own inspirational story of leaving McKinsey & Company in pursuit of a new source of meaning in his professional life, Higher Calling employs research gathered from search firm executives who now play king or queen maker in presidential and dean searches. It also takes into account information from U.S. liberal arts colleges--considered by many to be the bellwethers of change--to explore what set of strengths an institution of higher education needs in a leader in the twenty-first century. Beardsley explores the widely varying definitions and associated numbers of traditional and nontraditional leaders and asks, Why are U.S. colleges and universities hiring nontraditional candidates to lead them into the future? How are the skills required to lead higher education institutions changing? Or has the search process changed, resulting in a more diverse set of candidates?

Providing not only an analysis of nontraditional leaders in higher education but also strategies for developing skills and selecting leaders, Beardsley offers a wealth of information for the modern university in the face of change.

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About the author (2017)

Scott C. Beardsley is Dean and Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. After studying electrical engineering at Tufts University and earning an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Beardsley became an international management consultant at McKinsey & Company, leading their strategy practice and global learning and leadership development. He rose quickly to senior partner in Brussels and was eventually elected to McKinsey's global Board of Directors. Feeling the call to a new career path, Beardsley completed a doctorate in higher education management at the University of Pennsylvania before accepting his role as dean. He currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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