Academic journal article Community College Enterprise

Practical Leadership in Community Colleges: Navigating Today's Challenges

Academic journal article Community College Enterprise

Practical Leadership in Community Colleges: Navigating Today's Challenges

Article excerpt

Practical Leadership in Community Colleges: Navigating Today's Challenges

George R. Boggs and Christine J. McPhail Jossey-Bass. $40USD

Practical Leadership in Community Colleges is the latest publication by a team of experienced community college leaders. There is a slew of leadership books available to choose from, many of which approach leadership from a general perspective or assume that all readers' realities are the same. What makes this book unique is its focus on generating conversations among leadership teams rather than focusing on a singular leader--and in this book, trustees are included as part of the team. Boggs and McPhail pool their combined 70 years of experience to provide a view of leadership that is truly cross-campus and cross-divisional. They provide a glimpse at actual day-to-day challenges faced by leaders that are not typically covered in leadership books or programs.

Boggs and McPhail provide the tools for generating conversation from different perspectives and among different groups. For example, in the preface, they describe how the book may be used by the following groups: administrators, faculty, governing boards, leadership development trainers, and educational associations. The book is divided into eight chapters, each of which ends with a list of Issues to Consider and a Case Scenario. Issues to Consider are based on real-life events impacting colleges and universities across the country, ranging from the Penn State scandal to accreditation issues to dealing with a rogue trustee. The authors do not provide answers for these issues but rather use them as starting points for discussion. How would you handle the issue on your campus? What is an appropriate leadership response? Case Scenarios are short problems that contain complex issues reflecting everyday issues at community colleges. For example, the scenario in Chapter 1 presents a case where high school counselors steer students away from attending community colleges and demean their programs. By highlighting these issues, Boggs and McPhail are preparing leaders to see the various leadership, political, cultural, and contextual elements that need to be considered when addressing these problems.

Chapter 1 starts off with a brief overview of the leadership literature, ranging from broad leadership theories to those specifically focused on community colleges. It also includes a model for issue management that offers steps that can be used to consider how to manage issues that occur. Chapter 2 highlights the importance of the multiple missions served by community colleges, giving consideration to the internal and external influences that impact mission, and how mission guides programs, practices, and leadership. …

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