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The Provost's Handbook

, 248 pages

3 line drawings

March 2015



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Usually ships 2-3 business days after receipt of order.

The Provost's Handbook

The Role of the Chief Academic Officer

As the chief academic officer, the provost plays the central role in the contemporary university or college. He or she leads the faculty and serves as their key representative to the administration while simultaneously acting as the administration’s spokesperson to the academic faculty. How has this essential leadership position evolved over the past few decades, and what are the best practices to adopt for succeeding in specific operational areas?

In seventeen essays written by some of the most successful chief academic officers in the United States, The Provost’s Handbook outlines key topics related to the changing environment of higher education while explaining what constitutes effective leadership at the college and university level. How, for example, does the provost lead in a time of disruption and shifting needs? What skills should he or she nurture in new faculty? What role should data and institutional research play in decision making? How can a provost navigate the often stormy situations of shared governance? These questions—and many more challenges presented by this role—are addressed in this essential volume.

Assembled by James Martin and James E. Samels, accomplished authors and scholars of leadership in higher education, The Provost’s Handbook is destined to become the go-to resource for deans, presidents, trustees, and chief academic officers everywhere.

James Martin is a professor of English and humanities at Mount Ida College. James E. Samels is the CEO and president of The Education Alliance and the founder of Samels & Associates, a law firm concentrating in higher education law. They are the authors of Turnaround: Leading Stressed Colleges and Universities to Excellence; Presidential Transition in Higher Education: Managing Leadership Change; Merging Colleges for Mutual Growth: A New Strategy for Academic Managers; First Among Equals: The Role of the Chief Academic Officer; and The Sustainable University: Green Goals and New Challenges for Higher Education Leaders.

" The Provost’s Handbook is essential reading for every aspiring, new, and veteran chief academic officer. This perfect primer for the provost of the twenty-first century is organized around two themes: the Academic Agenda and Essential Partnerships. Martin and Samels have assembled a collection of smart, concise, genuinely useful chapters about leading institutions, managing relationships, and establishing trust and confidence in one of the most complex professional environments. As a veteran provost, I learned many new lessons from this engaging, provocative volume."

"It has been a pleasure for the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs to feature several timely books by Drs. Martin and Samels at Annual Conferences over the past decade and more. Whether the focus was on how colleges and universities deal with the new fiscal realities or building a more sustainable institution, their writing is always future-focused, thought provoking, and a pleasure to experience as a reader.  The Provost’s Handbook is no exception."

" The Provost’s Handbook is invaluable, particularly for incoming chief academic officers. It provides advice related to the enduring aspects of this position, such as faculty relations, and guidance on new developments like the influence of social media. It emphasizes the importance of a deep understanding of the budget—the concrete manifestation of priorities."

" The Provost's Handbook is essential reading for all aspiring and sitting Chief Academic Officers, and for their institutional peers."

"Offer[s] glimpses of the many roles a chief academic officer (CAO) plays in today's colleges and universities... The strength of this book is these individual insights and the opportunity they give for readers to assess, by comparison, their approaches to these roles."

"This new handbook addresses changes in the role of the chief academic officer and today's best practices in faculty leadership, strategic planning, curriculum development, technology use in the classroom, and governance... A practice resource for deans, presidents, trustees, and chief academic officers."


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