Leadership, Diversity and Succession Planning in Academia, by Cristina Gonzalez


Although academia is becoming more like business in many respects - not all of them positive - it has not borrowed one of the best attributes of business culture: its tradition of developing leadership through succession planning. As a result, much talent is underutilized. This includes, most prominently, that of women and minorities, who tend not to be perceived as leadership material. This paper makes a distinction between two levels of academic administrators: deans and above, who are professional administrators, and department chairs and below, who could be characterized as casual administrators, since all faculty members engage in managerial activities as directors of academic programs, principal investigators of grants, committee members or chairs. In Clark Kerr's terminology, casual administrators are members of the guild, while professional administrators are members of the corporation. At present, women and minorities are having considerable trouble moving from the guild to the corporation. This paper proposes that the connection between the guild and the corporation be strengthened and become more of a two-way street. As William J. Rothwell suggests, people should have dual-career ladders and be able to move back and forth between academic and managerial jobs. Such problems as recency bias, the halo or horn effect, the Pygmalion effect, and pigeonholing must be addressed head on. This will require courage, imagination and training.

Publication date: 
May 1, 2010
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
Cristina González. (2010). LEADERSHIP, DIVERSITY AND SUCCESSION PLANNING IN ACADEMIA. UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education.