To read this content please select one of the options below:

Moral courage: restoring well-being, community, and capacity within the post-pandemic university

Melanie Jeanne Humphreys (Melanie Jeanne Humphreys is based at President of The King’s University, Edmonton, Canada)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 8 November 2022

Issue publication date: 2 February 2023




This paper aims to spark dialogue regarding what it takes to lead well as a university leader post-pandemic. While much has been written about the future challenges facing universities, not a lot has been written about the kind of moral courage that is required to lead them. There never has been a more important time for strong leadership from university presidents; leadership that supports human flourishing and learning in all its forms.


Discussion focuses on the role of presidents in leading the post-pandemic university. The author speaks from experience on the need to restore well-being, community, and capacity for a more hopeful and resilient future.


This study makes a case for a post-pandemic university needing to be marked by courage and humanity. Students are looking for universities to align with what they care about and what is relevant to their experience and future. Responsibility falls to leaders within the academy to restore well-being, community and capacity across the university.

Research limitations/implications

Leading a university as president, at the best of times, is a complex and rewarding role. Leading during a global pandemic could hardly get more challenging. It is hoped that this paper will generate additional discussion as to what it means to lead well in the academy.


The author’s experience having led a university through one of the most challenging times in our history may provide a perspective for colleagues and future leaders of the university sector.



Humphreys, M.J. (2023), "Moral courage: restoring well-being, community, and capacity within the post-pandemic university", On the Horizon, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 30-34.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles