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Wearing leadership bi-focals in the post-pandemic university

Devorah Lieberman (University of La Verne, La Verne, California, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 29 November 2022

Issue publication date: 2 February 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide insight for higher education leaders about how to navigate the immediate needs and long-term needs of an institution. COVID-19 disrupted higher education in unprecedented ways, but the post-pandemic world is proving to be just as challenging – if not more so. Presidents and higher education leaders must be nimble, prepared and multi-skilled to address immediate challenges while making the tough strategic decisions to ensure that colleges and universities remain viable and sustainable for generations to come.

Design/methodology/approach

This discussion focuses on the dual vision and the leadership skills that are essential in addressing both the short-term and long-term threats to colleges and universities resulting from the COVID pandemic (wearing leadership bi-focals). It analyzes the post-pandemic trends that are adversely impacting the future of higher education and details how the President is guiding her team at the University of La Verne through this generational crisis – a process she describes as wearing leadership bifocals.

Findings

What began as a sudden global health crisis has shaken institutions of higher education to their core, challenging some of the very foundations upon which they were built. By adopting a bifocal strategy, the University of La Verne can more clearly assess the challenges it faces in the post-pandemic world and the new opportunities around the corner. While this approach ultimately is a team effort, effective implementation requires leadership from the top. The entire campus community is depending on the President to inspire and lead.

Research limitations/implications

Much has been written about leadership during these troubling times in higher education. This paper is intended hoped to offer a best-practices approach for college and university Presidents in engaging their campus communities in addressing the short- and long-term challenges facing them.

Originality/value

The author’s lengthy experience as a University president and Provost – along with a focus on communication skills – provides a unique framework for addressing the complex challenges confronting higher education.

Keywords

Citation

Lieberman, D. (2023), "Wearing leadership bi-focals in the post-pandemic university", On the Horizon, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 24-29. https://doi.org/10.1108/OTH-08-2022-0048

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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