Academic Leadership: The Online Journal (2003-2012)


Don Smith


Governing boards have the unenviable duty of trying to oversee in a responsible and responsive way a complex and long-enduring social institution whose arcane workings few board members, administrators, or faculty ever fully comprehend. Enduring social institutions of any kind are, of course, like great leviathans borne by currents and instincts in ways and directions they need not understand in their continuing pursuit of sustenance and self-preservation. However, if one is to effect any meaningful change in the values and conduct of the leviathan, one must take into account the environmental dynamics and motivational stimuli that determine the thing’s behavior. Otherwise, the internal bureaucracy takes over, tucking well-intended mandates into already existing routines, rendering compliance necessarily efficient but also largely perfunctory.


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