Last week I participated in an Aspen Institute study headed by one of our Board members, Josh Wyner. I was part of a group of regional presidents who discussed the skills that university presidents of the future will need to be successful. It was an enjoyable conversation, but by the end of the day the list of required skills was long and varied. It ranged from political savvy and budgetary acumen, to having a comfort with communications and a basic knowledge of social media.
Later at home, I reflected on the experience, and connected the day’s process to our work at UDC. It occurred to me that even though the other university leaders and I had spent four hours contemplating what a modern president needs to be able to do, I found myself considering one particularly important skill: the ability to find common ground.
In a world of shrinking available resources and global competitiveness, where various constituencies see success as a zero sum game, perhaps building consensus and finding common ground is the most important skill a president must possess.
So, I pose this question to the University community in all its aspects – students, faculty, staff, the unions, the faculty senate, student leaders, alumni, the administration, and the president – when it comes to the University of the District of Columbia, what is our common ground?
I look forward to your thoughts.
Ronald Mason, Jr., President/Servant Leader
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