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AKA Review
March 15, 2024
At AKA, we closely follow trends and latest developments
in higher education and the nonprofit sector.

Here are some recent articles and reports that we found particularly informative.
From The Chronicle of Higher Education
A Guide to Crisis Leadership
By David M. Post
Low public confidence in higher education and the inevitability of crises to come, the author argues, demand a heightened focus on crisis leadership as a core competency of senior leaders. He draws on his own experiences as a senior university leader and reflects on crises making headlines today to articulate four lessons learned. Based on these, he suggests key steps to prepare for leading in a crisis and offers advice for trustees, presidents, and provosts on qualities to look for in effective crisis leaders. Read this article
From The Atlantic
By Ian Bogost
In this interview, former Macalester President Brian Rosenberg offers a colorful assessment of the disfunction he believes is embedded in today’s universities. Avoiding the usual clichés, he examines several historical characteristics: shared governance, tenure, and the greater identification of academics with their field than their institution. These, he argues, have led to universities that prize preservation of the status quo over changes that would ensure that more students at more colleges actually graduate. Read this article
From The Economist
From The Economist International Desk
There’s no subtlety (see title) and a bit of irony to this critique of America’s elite universities, coming as it does from a periodical in the U.K. where elite universities were birthed. Its analysis of the sources of disfunction doesn’t plow new ground (see: little conservative representation, ambiguous commitment to free speech, etc.). However, there’s a a cautionary tale in its examination of how elite institutions “broke from the pack” only recently in terms of wealth and in so doing, drew widespread public ire. Read this article
From Education Next
By Frederick Hess, Michael Q. McShane, and Ruy Teixeira
Democrats have lost the public’s trust in them as “the party of education.” In that context, Education Next asked thinkers on the right and left how each party should shape its education agenda. Both sides agree that the left, at best, promises to support a publically unpopular status quo while the right struggles to offer any practical solutions. But the surprise is that they also agree that regaining public support hinges on promoting high achievement standards, greater K-12 choice, and getting ideology out of schools.
From New America
Edited by Colleen Flaherty & Doug Lederman Editors, Inside Higher Ed
New America provides a useful resource with this summary of the 2024 Survey of College and University Presidents and a link to the complete report, which spans such topics as campus speech, public perceptions of higher education, race, AI, financial confidence, and mental health. In general, presidents are optimistic about their own institution’s health but deeply concerned about the current state of public confidence in higher education overall as well as the climate for free inquiry and civil dialogue.
The next AKA Review will be published on April 5, 2024.
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