Succession Planning and Leadership Development in Texas Public Universities
King, Serenity Rose
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At many institutions of higher education in the United States, those in leadership positions are of retirement age. In addition, public higher education, as a portion of the public sector, faces additional scrutiny from external stakeholders who have far greater demands for accountability, including institutional integrity, and transparency as the public questions the value of higher education. The public has several concerns, among them that higher education does not focus on seeing students through to degree completion, that many of those degrees fail to prepare students adequately for the workforce, that student debt is skyrocketing, that Title IX violations are inadequately addressed, and that the academy infringes upon freedom of expression. This has led to what is commonly referred to as “A Crisis in Confidence in Higher Ed.” The expected leadership turnover due to impending retirements, the greater external stakeholder expectations, dwindling enrollments, demographic shifts, and reduced funding combine to put the academy as a whole in what is commonly referred to as the “Higher Education Leadership Crisis.” To address these two interrelated crises, higher education must strengthen its “bench depth” by prioritizing the development of its next generation of leaders. Drawing on literature in the private sector, public sector at-large, and higher education in general, this concurrent mixed methods research project is a case study of the extent to which public academic universities in the State of Texas engage in formal succession planning and formal leadership development programs. The study employs the usage of a survey, which is supplemented by website reviews and unstructured interviews by the researcher, who is herself a mid-career administrator at a Texas public university.