W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Leadership Reconsidered: Engaging Higher Education in Social Change

This publication from the W.K. Kellogg foundation suggests that faculty have the opportunity and ability to become leaders in undergraduate education and to transform their institutions.


The full publication is available from the link above. Selected quotations:

College and university faculty are in a position to provide the kind of leadership that could transform their institutions toward greater “community, cooperation, and harmony.” To set the context for discussing the leadership role that faculty might play in institutional transformation, we begin this chapter with a brief overview of the role of the faculty and what it means to be a member of the academic profession.

Many faculty prefer to characterize their choice of the academic profession as a calling, a sense of mission and purpose that not only generates a feeling of selfworth and satisfaction in their daily lives, but also nurtures their desire to be associated with an institution that is rooted in idealism and hope. Faculty are indeed the stewards of our institutions of higher learning, in part because they tend to have the greatest longevity: the average faculty member spends between 30 and 40 years as a member of the academic profession.

The academic profession is a profession more of choice than of chance. When asked to report their reasons for choosing an academic career, about threefourths of faculty members indicate that they were attracted by the opportunity to work with ideas, the freedom to pursue their intellectual interests, and the opportunity to teach others. The fact that the academic profession also provides for great autonomy, freedom, and flexibility is an added attraction to people who choose academic careers (Sax, Astin, Korn, & Gilmartin, 1999).

College teaching is a time-honored profession that includes sharing part of one's self with students. It allows faculty the opportunity to mentor and contribute to the development of students in their roles as learners. As teachers, faculty believe that they can facilitate the learning process by instilling in students a thirst for continuous learning and a quest for answers to complex problems. They see themselves as encouraging students to create their futures by preparing them for a range of unforeseen challenges that lie ahead.

— Used with permission from Leadership Reconsidered: Engaging Higher Education in Social Change. W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 1999.