Leadership Statement Summary

University System of Maryland
Adelphi, MD

Summary of Leadership Characteristics Sought in the Next Chancellor

October 5, 2001

[1.0 Academic & community leadership | 2.0 Organizational leadership]
[3.0 Resource allocation & development | 4.0 Governance]
[5.0 Effective personal characteristics]

The Board seeks the following characteristics and qualifications in its next Chancellor:

1.0 Academic and community leadership

Maryland's next Chancellor, possessed of a broad academic vision and the ability to think in Statewide and national educational terms, will understand and endorse the distinct nature of this System and work comfortably within it.

Maryland's next Chancellor will be comfortable and capable working within a complex environment, know how -- through strong personal relationships and loyalty -- to build the power to serve, and recognize the important freedom this situation provides. Like other states, Maryland is highly political, and the politics include the System. A healthy ego, with low ego needs, will serve this Chancellor well.

Maryland's next Chancellor will know how, in the midst of a complex set of agencies and institutions, to work constructively and productively, as well as to become the preferred source of information and perspective on public higher education. The Chancellor will lead discussions on public policy, including such significant issues as:

  • Maintaining access in a System whose institutions have become increasingly selective.
  • Defining whom higher education in Maryland serves -- only the brightest? Only those from instate?
  • Guaranteeing affordability, as the quality and cost of Maryland's higher education rise.
  • Securing quality and service, as institutions grow and class sizes rise.
  • Supporting and facilitating the work of Maryland's four historically black institutions, and, through expected future increases in funding, implementing the State's agreement with the
  • U. S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights.
  • Speaking out for creative, inter-institutional collaboration and partnership, within and around the System.
  • Considering the geographical impact of current institutions' locations in an era of rapid demographic change.
  • Advocating coordinated K-16 education.
  • Meeting the need for high quality engineers, information technology specialists, teachers, nurses, pharmacists, and other professionals in short supply.
  • Addressing social needs through education.
  • Advancing economic development.
  • Using technology as a transformative tool in education.
  • Making best use of distance education, within and around the State.
  • Funding.

A courageous, broad-thinking, articulate educator, already recognized as an important thinker in the arena of early 21st century academia and academic and public policy, will know how to advance this role from the start, assume it with eagerness and pleasure, and attract the attention and respect of academic, political, and corporate communities.

The System's next Chancellor will know how to measure and articulate constituent institutions' many successes, feed pride and confidence, reassure the community, build understanding of higher education's critical role in building the new Maryland, and prove that the System adds value. A history of public visibility and a talent for effective communication are important foundations for this Chancellor's success, as is long and current experience with excellence and best practice in American higher education today. This Chancellor has the chance to define the shared vision of higher education in Maryland. The ability to function effectively in the midst of uncertainty is essential.

Through long experience with a wide range of institutions of higher education and with creative partnerships (including corporations and foundations), through a voracious appetite to know each constituent institution inside out, and through time spent on campuses, the next Chancellor will know how to help advance the worth and strength of each constituent institution, foster mutually beneficial collaboration, balance needs, enhance the System's academic coherence, and also add value to the State.

Patient listening, creative thinking in organizational structures and possibilities, and intimate knowledge of academic institutions and governance will allow this Chancellor the exciting opportunity -- perhaps the greatest of this assignment -- to work within the System's traditions, and in the context of its institutions' needs and dreams, to define and advance this System now emerging in new and undefined ways. Survival and success require a new vision, and the structures to support it.

2.0 Organizational leadership

The System's next Chancellor will be experienced in reading and analyzing institutional structures in the context of mission, have the courage and will to articulate needed change, and make appropriate adjustments. Fortunately for the System and its new Chancellor, office space is sufficient, the building structurally sound, technology adequate, budgeting for salaries and benefits strong, and fiscal reserves in place. Skill as a "cheerleader" will go a long way.

The next Chancellor habitually will have worked in teams and will know how to build and use them -- for effectiveness, communication, and mutual support. As work spirit increases, the returns on shared leadership will be dramatic and satisfying.

The System's next Chancellor will recognize the dramatic benefits of seeing the System Office as a means of supporting constituent institutions, as consistent with the history of the System, and also as adding new value, synergy, and effectiveness.

Working with empowered, capable, independent -- and often new -- Presidents will provide the next Chancellor with one of the position's most interesting and rewarding opportunities. Regular meetings with Presidents -- one on one and as a group -- will build collaboration, confidence, and vision. Hard issues will be addressed and resolved. The Chancellor and the Presidents, working together, will form one of the System's fundamental groups. The foundation for success will be the Chancellor's ability to inspire Presidents' respect, listen carefully, draw out shared themes, and articulate vision. This Chancellor will enjoy Presidents and their work, seek out their company, know, support, and defend them, build their trust and confidence, and enjoy putting the spotlight on them. The results will be far greater pleasure in work, heightened morale, strengthened constituent institutions, a more effective System, and a better-served State.

Working within bylaws that place responsibility for the appointment and performance of Presidents with the Board of Regents, the Chancellor still will play a key role in evaluating the performances of Presidents, and will know how to establish and implement appropriate and comprehensive policies -- of the kind elaborated by AGB in its recent publication on presidential and Board assessment.

Maryland's next Chancellor will be comfortable and capable working in an environment of multiple and complex bargaining agreements, and capable of assisting work that will benefit all. A major advantage is the competitive pay that workers in the System -- a "public corporation" that sets its own terms of compensation -- already have.

The Chancellor will be experienced in managing change and steady under pressure. This Chancellor also will know through long experience the importance of developing strategic plans and of capturing within them the wisdom and perspective of those affected. The current System strategic plan -- USM in 2010 -- makes for a strong start. It also is another indicator of a growing new sense of vision.

3.0 Resource allocation and development

The System's next Chancellor will recognize the Governor as a close ally and supporter, a friend to be developed and served. A desire to listen, understand, and help out is essential, as is the ability to articulate vision in concrete terms. Comfort and pleasure in the political arena and skills in its use are prerequisites for this Chancellor.

This Chancellor will recognize Maryland's legislative strength and special situation, enjoy working with legislators, inspire respect among them, provide helpful orientation and information to new members, and build overall knowledge and support. An open, evenhanded, straightforward, and honest approach, grounded in well-honed political instincts and skills, offers best chances for success. This Chancellor probably already will have a history of successful legislative and political relationships. Building rewarding relations with the General Assembly in this complex and still relatively small state remains another of the Chancellor's greatest opportunities.

Since everyone acknowledges that no formula can be ideal and that constituent institutions, if they are to continue to advance, require appropriate funding, Maryland's next Chancellor will have the important opportunity to insist on the development of procedures that will allow Presidents to work with each other, the Chancellor, and the System Office to secure optimal allocations, good times and bad. Most of the System's current Presidents were not in office during the hard financial times of the early 1990s.

The System's next Chancellor will recognize the importance of private fundraising, the impact possible through judicious use of time and expertise, and the need to lead this System-wide effort to a successful, institutionalized resolution.

Maryland's next Chancellor will be experienced in working productively and effectively with the business community, thereby benefiting institutions and business, strengthening and extending programs (academic and service), and generating new income streams. Maryland's business community is ready for such involvement, and the Chancellor can help make it happen. The position also goes beyond the academic and includes ambassadorial work for both the System and the State.

4.0 Governance

While recognizing that any public institution of higher education works within an inherently political atmosphere,Maryland's next Chancellor also will have important experience and convictions in best practice in academic governance, know that any system best serves its state through independence, and recognize that the opportunity to help develop an effective Board is one of the greatest this position can offer. As chief educator of the Board, the Chancellor will know how to assess and modify current structures and procedures, create appropriate information systems, address policy issues, engage constituents and Regents in shared tasks, and build consensus and vision. This Chancellor will take the time to know the Regents; support, engage, protect, and advance them; develop their capacity to add value to the System; and help them take pride in their work. Strong and proven in the work of governance and change, this Chancellor will know how, under stress, to hold a Board together, and broadcast its achievements. If the Chancellor must look to the Board as primary support, so must the Board to the Chancellor. In all of this, the Chancellor, working with the Board, will, in yet another way, give birth to this newly emerging, "nationally eminent" System.

The System's next Chancellor will recognize the benefit of this solid foundation of shared governance and the importance of maintaining current open communications. The Chancellor also will be able to work with the Board of Regents and the plethora of other System groups to assess best governance structures and procedures. Here, as in so many other areas of the System's life, a careful review that is appropriate to today's needs has yet to occur. When completed, it can advance the function of this System that is in the process of change and improvement.

The Chancellor will know how to help the Board establish and implement full self-assessment procedures; set annual goals -- within the framework of the strategic plan -- and assess their performance against them. Accountability at the top sets the tone for all in the System.

5.0 Effective personal characteristics

For the Chancellor to work effectively within a populist-minded, changing, political, diverse, active, and still relatively small state, a gregarious yet not overbearing personality will prove effective. An "imperial presence" guarantees trouble. The Chancellor should not need to be the center of attention. A person of few ego needs, the Chancellor must be ready to praise and give credit to others. Any individual needing steady public applause soon will fail.

This Chancellor will have no need to run a campus directly, but will know, if from a more distant perspective, the unique culture, strength, and needs of every institution, and be ready to advocate for them.

Given the magnitude of the challenges this Chancellor must address, sound principles, integrity, stamina, courage, persistence, and, perhaps, a fine sense of humor, will be needed.

A strong, appealing, public presence will provide early credibility and boost success, for both the Chancellor and the emergent System.