Acute Crisis Leadership in Higher Education Lessons from the Pandemic
This book explores higher education leadership during times of extreme pressures and limited, changing information.
Organized around different functional units in higher education institutions, chapters describe the ways in which campus communities were affected by and responded to the early pandemic crisis. By unpacking observations of real leaders from American institutions of higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic, this book provides lessons learned and takeaway strategies for complex decision-making during a crisis. This edited collection explores the unique moment when leaders and teams must make, implement, and adjust plans rapidly to assure delivery of their missions, while still addressing the needs of students, parents, employees, and stakeholders.
Shining a bright light on decision-making in the early acute stage of a crisis, this book prepares higher education educators to be effective leaders and successful decision-makers.
"The good news is that the 2019–2020 cohort of Fellows WAS embedded in a wide variety of institutions representing a broad diversity of institution types and communities. Their work to distill important learnings from their experiences is ‘participant-observer’ inquiry at its best. It is thorough and incredibly timely, serving as one of the first national scope analyses of how various institutions and leaders managed in a setting of near-complete uncertainty. I am confident that this volume, in addition to providing valuable lessons from the authors’ time in the field, will also put many researchable questions on the table for scholars of higher education and organizational leadership."
-From the Foreword by Ted Mitchell, President, American Council on Education
"Great leadership insights and testament to our resilience! Important reminders of key everyday leader actions, not just acute crises. Perfect for those new to leader roles or those with years of experience."
Susan Elrod, PhD, Chancellor, Indiana University South Bend, USA
"During the pandemic, community colleges around the country continued their mission of addressing local needs through workforce-aligned programs and by serving as points of access and equity for students. Readers will learn how we really did put the "community" in community colleges at a time when citizens were all concerned for the greater good."
Dr. Sue Ellspermann, President, Ivy Tech Community College, USA
"Drawing upon their diverse experiences as ACE Fellows during the 2019-2020 academic year, the authors of this text provide a unique glimpse into the initial COVID response across multiple campuses. The narratives, insights, and examples offered throughout this book highlight the magnitude of the crisis and serve as a reminder of the importance of effective leadership during a period of unprecedented and prolonged disruption. I anticipate many of the leadership themes introduced in this book will be relevant as we look ahead to a post-pandemic future."
Ralph A. Gigliotti, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President, Strategic Programs and Director, Center for Organizational Leadership, Rutgers University, USA; Author of Crisis Leadership in Higher Education
"The coming years will see endless analysis, dissertation research, and histories of how colleges and universities, and higher education writ large, navigated the pandemic. Acute Crisis Leadership in Higher Education gives us real-time, in the moment accounts of leaders and institutions working without a playbook, and will be a go-to resource for all those who look back and question what we got right, what we got wrong, and what we can learn for the next time. How lucky we are to have had these contributors imbedded in institutions across the higher education landscape and afforded such insider perspective."
Paul LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University, USA; Author of Students First: Equity, Access, and Opportunity in Higher Education
"Drawing on the experience of ACE fellows in the process of developing their leadership during the global pandemic, this book provides insights into organizational adaptation rarely discussed in higher education circles. These leaders captured the importance of building trust, over-communicating, setting expectations, clear principles to guide decisionmaking, and enhancing crossfunctional work for the work of crisis leadership. The book is unique in bringing together all of the voices of higher education units/constituents, across diverse institutions located across every region of the country to comment on a commonly experienced phenomenon, but which impacted each community and professional area both differently but with some common lessons. They also underscored how rising to the equity challenges presented by the pandemic meant involving all campus stakeholders in equity work and the need for campuses going forward to embrace equity as the work of everyone on campus."
Adrianna Kezar, PhD, Wilbur Kieffer Endowed Professor and Dean's Professor of Leadership, Director, Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California, USA; Author of numerous books, including Higher Education Administration for Social Justice and Equity