We began the academic year knowing there would be a number of leadership transitions and ended the year with a few more. When looking for leaders in higher education, the first two qualities we seek are a passionate and enduring commitment to helping students realize their hopes and dreams, and integrity of the highest order. I believe if someone has these two dispositions, other pieces can be learned – heck, we are dedicated to learning!
A number of other attributes and skills flow from these dispositions and bring certain candidates to the head of the line. A successful higher education leader will prepare our students and our community for a Minnesota that is becoming even more diverse. To be effective, a leader in our system needs to believe in and enact shared governance in a collective bargaining context. Other important attributes include a dedication to academic excellence; the ability to listen and then consolidate and align a multiplicity of ideas; and the willingness to partner both within and outside of the institution. Being an administrator at WSU brings with it additional commitments: advancing technology as a learning tool, serving the community through civic engagement and promoting sustainability. We are fortunate to be such a strong and distinctive institution that potential leaders are lining up to work here.