Case Studies in College Leadership
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Case Studies in College Leadership

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G. David Gearhart & Michael T. Miller



Subtitle: The American College President


With accusations of secret searches and political agendas, the American college presidency is changing as never before. Once the domain of academic affairs, college presidents now come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and this breadth of experience is increasingly important as the challenges presidents face more varied than at any time in history. College presidents must somehow balance the needs of faculty and students with those of trustees and the public at large.


The lessons of the presidency reflect those of institutional leadership throughout the academy, and everyone with a vested interest in the future of higher education has a responsibility to consider the complexity of institutions today. The case studies presented in this book are all based on real-world scenarios that require critical thinking, breaking down silos of responsibility, and finding solutions where none are immediately clear. These cases do not provide the answers about how to be a successful college president, but rather, force the reader to learn how to learn about problem solving.


Cases in the text include such contemporary topics as guns on campus, undocumented students, charter schools, big time college sports, and sexual harassment. All 15 case studies are appropriate for any discussion of college leadership in today’s complex, fast changing world.

Contents:   Foreword

Case Studies
01. Firing a Successful Basketball Coach
02. Guns on Campus
03. Departmental Deficit Places the President in Peril
04. A President’s Indiscretion Destroys Power Base
05. Community Spirit Put to the Test
06. Sexual Harassment Lands on the President’s Desk
07. System and Campus Acrimony
08. Tragic Shooting on Campus
09. A Bumpy Road to Medical School
10. The President, Undocumented Students, and Immigration Policy
11. President’s Challenges with Greek Life on Campus
12. Dismissal of the Athletic Director
13. Exceptions to Admission Requirement
14. A College President Reigns as a King
15. Chancellor Navigates a Charter School on Campus

Additional Readings on the American College President

About the

Dr. G. David Gearhart is Chancellor Emeritus and Professor of Higher Education at the University of Arkansas.  Previously he served as Vice Chancellor for University Advancement at the University.  He was Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the international consulting firm Grenzebach, Glier & Associates, Inc. Before his service at GG&A, Gearhart was Senior Vice President for Development at Penn State University, during which time he was named a Fulbright Scholar, studying at Oxford University.  Early in his career he served as Vice President for Development at Hendrix College in Arkansas and Director of Development at Westminster College.  His Bachelor of Arts degree is from Westminster College where he was named a distinguished alumnus in 1992. Both his law degree and his Doctor of Education degree are from the University of Arkansas. He is the author of two books on fundraising and numerous articles.  He and his wife Jane have two children and five grandchildren.


Dr. Michael T. Miller is Dean of the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas where he is also a Professor of Higher Education and holder of the Henry Hotz Endowed Chair. Miller has served as Associate Dean of the College of Education at San Jose State University, Chair of the Higher Education Program at the University of Alabama, and Director of Annual Giving at the Southern Illinois University Foundation. He has served as president of two national associations, has served as the editor of three different academic journals, has published nearly 300 articles and book chapters, has authored five and edited eight books. He has also chaired nearly 100 doctoral dissertations and has authored over $3.5 million in externally funded grants. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and master’s degree in Higher Education from Southern Illinois University and a Doctorate of Education from the Teachers College at the University of Nebraska. He and his wife, Lara, have three children.


 2020 [ISBN: 1-58107-345-3; 376 pages, 5 ½ x 8 ½ inches, soft cover]