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Title:Academic presidential leadership: A study of the presidential leadership of Edmund J. James for the University of Illinois, 1904-1919
Author(s):Ray, Bernard T.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Anderson, James D.
Department / Program:Biography
Education, Administration
Education, History of
Education, Higher
Education, Administration
Education, History of
Education, Higher
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Education, Administration
Education, History of
Education, Higher
Abstract:The survival for a college or university often hinges on the president's leadership. Leadership connotes decisive action, yet uncertainty marks many presidential actions. The dissertation uses a historical method to investigate the legacy of functions which underlay academic presidential leadership. The presidency of Edmund J. James for the University of Illinois from 1904 to 1919 illustrates a historical transition point in the leadership practices university presidents began to implement in response to the increasing number of functions expected of them. Three broad categories of traditional functions are highlighted to indicate how they became incorporated into expected official and expected unofficial presidential behavior. The functions examined are: (a) acquiring quality faculty, (b) maintaining institutional tranquility, and (c) protecting the university's public image.
The leadership process in higher education is reviewed and the social science literature that features a situationalist perspective is presented. This literature maintains that leadership can best be understood as a transactional process that is a function of influence that transcends the academic environment. The academic president typically reports directly to a governing board, but his or her behavior is directed and constrained by faculty, support staff, students, and influential community leaders, all of whom voice self-serving expectations of the president.
Edmund J. James's presidency illustrates the multidimensional difficulties inherent in his attempts to respond to multifarious expectations. Entries cited from James' personal diary revealed the demanding and ultimately exhausting encumbrances he experienced as president at Illinois. Among the major findings of this study are: (a) the situationalist literature contributes to analyze the enigmatic behavior of James to protect the public image of the university and project an image of institutional tranquility and democracy while he also appeared to support discriminatory policies toward women faculty and students and a caste attitude toward Blacks; (b) due to the expanding scope of university activities, governance became a more shared enterprise as James was required to relinquish administrative power to college deans and department heads; and (c) the archival resource of James's diaries strengthens the dissertation by providing his personal perspective of the perseverance required in the academic presidency.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Ray, Bernard T.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9210960
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9210960

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