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2009 News Releases

President Cormier authors chapter for book to aid stressed institutions

January 26, 2009

Turnaround Cover

Longwood President Patricia Cormier has contributed a chapter to the book Turnaround: Leading Stressed Colleges and Universities to Excellence (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). "Stressed" institutions are identified as those in financial difficulty or with declining enrollments, but also as those with an ambiguous or dated mission, high student attrition, and unacceptable levels of faculty and staff turnover. The book outlines how board members, presidents, and administrators can identify their institutions’ weaknesses, implement plans for improvement, and mitigate existing damage. Turnaround also identifies the legal pitfalls that often accompany institutional change, offering solutions for how to overcome such obstacles or avoid them altogether.

The chapter written by Dr. Cormier, titled "Preserving and Extending the Academic Mission of Vulnerable Institutions: Best Practices for Chief Academic Officers," is part of the book’s section on Analyzing Risk Via The Leadership Team: New Approaches, New Results. The chapter outlines how effective academic leadership makes the difference at fragile institutions and identifies academic strategies to manage vulnerable institutions successfully when challenges outnumber opportunities. In addition, the chapter offers discussion of the following six areas to revitalize a campus: living the academic mission; establishing an academically supportive environment; redefining the roles and responsibilities of the faculty; identifying and cultivating new student populations; developing partnerships with internal and external communities; and taking calculated risks. The chapter provides examples of eight public and private institutions that have successfully employed these strategies to move from being vulnerable to strong.

James Martin, professor of English at Mount Ida College and academic vice president of The Education Alliance, and James E. Samels, CEO and president of The Education Alliance and founder of Samels & Associates, a law firm concentrating in higher education law, are the primary authors. Contributors include current and former college and university presidents.