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Session Title: Are universities hiring leaders to run business enterprises or academic institutions?
Speaker:  Chandra Aleong, Associate Professor, Delaware State University

Session description: University leaders are very different from the Ivy-league brand of leaders that walked those hallowed halls some fifty years ago. Universities have been subject to the same kind of disruption that has revolutionized industry and every segment of society. From the likes of Amazon to the University of Phoenix, technology and the profit motive have brought into focus the culture, values, and modus operandi of organizations and made questionable the relevance of some of the trappings and routines. The Netflix show “The Chair” accurately portrays this state of crisis, with the English department haemorrhaging enrollments and most of its tenured professors unwilling to make the effort to connect with their passionate and progressive Gen Z students. Meanwhile, the Dean demands on the first day of meeting the new Chair that she cut 3 of the oldest and highest-paid faculty members. The juxtaposition of business and academics is affecting every decision that a university currently confronts, and inevitably influences leadership decisions. Traditionally, university presidents, provosts, deans, and chairs were hired or promoted based on citations, publications, the reputation of their peers, international acclaim etc. World University Rankings continue to base their results on calibrated performance indicators that measure institutions across 4 areas: teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook. The 2021 rankings analyzed more than 80 million citations across over 13 million research publications and included survey responses from 22,000 scholars globally.  In reality, however, there is a cataclysmic shift that needs to be addressed. The 2 questions posed in this talk are as follows:  


  1. Are universities now more business enterprises than academic institutions? 

  2. Is this reflected in the leaders hired, and do the leaders practice the basic criteria of leadership as identified by scholars?


Bio: Chandra Aleong is a retired associate professor who taught in the College of Education, Health and Public Policy and the College of Business at Delaware State University. She received her doctorate in Higher Education and Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research addresses issues related to education and strategy.

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