Journal of Nursing Education

Major Article 

Shaping a Career Trajectory in Academic Administration: Leadership Development for the Deanship

Alexia Green, PhD, RN, FAAN; Nancy Ridenour, PhD, RN, CS, FNC, FAAN


The nursing profession continues to face many challenges, one of which is an insufficient number of aspiring leaders. The role of an academic leader, specifically that of dean, brings with it unique challenges and opportunities. Shaping a career in academic administration requires careful consideration of the leadership skills necessary to perform in this complex and challenging role. However, it is critical to the future of nursing as a profession that ample numbers of aspiring leaders can successfully make this transition. One can be better prepared to take on this exciting and rewarding leadership opportunity when one understands the challenges deans face, asks questions such as “Do I really want a deanship?,” identifies the required leadership skills, defines a career trajectory and pathway, and develops the leadership skills necessary for deans.

Dr. Green is Dean and Professor, School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas; and Dr. Ridenour is Dean and Professor, Mennonite College of Nursing, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois. Dr. Green is also a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, 2001–2004, and Dr. Ridenour is also a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, 2003–2006.

Address correspondence to Alexia Green, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Professor, School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 3601 4th Street, MS 6264, Lubbock, TX 79430; e-mail:


The nursing profession continues to face many challenges, one of which is an insufficient number of aspiring leaders. The role of an academic leader, specifically that of dean, brings with it unique challenges and opportunities. Shaping a career in academic administration requires careful consideration of the leadership skills necessary to perform in this complex and challenging role. However, it is critical to the future of nursing as a profession that ample numbers of aspiring leaders can successfully make this transition. One can be better prepared to take on this exciting and rewarding leadership opportunity when one understands the challenges deans face, asks questions such as “Do I really want a deanship?,” identifies the required leadership skills, defines a career trajectory and pathway, and develops the leadership skills necessary for deans.

Dr. Green is Dean and Professor, School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas; and Dr. Ridenour is Dean and Professor, Mennonite College of Nursing, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois. Dr. Green is also a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, 2001–2004, and Dr. Ridenour is also a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, 2003–2006.

Address correspondence to Alexia Green, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Professor, School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 3601 4th Street, MS 6264, Lubbock, TX 79430; e-mail:

An early academic leader, Eileen Jacobi, in describing the personality traits necessary to be a dean, stated:

One must possess credibility, observation, confrontation, and business acumen. You need to be able to see the past and present to be prepared for the have an analytical mind to see relationships. You need to be a financial wizard...a public relations person with the ability to speak well and extemporaneously. You need a lot of personal security, ego strength, and not be sensitive to the criticisms of others.

Jacobi also asserted that an academic dean must have an established record as a nurse educator, clinical specialist, and expert practitioner. While it is doubtful that most academic deans possess all of these traits and have accomplished all these prerequisites, it is important to differentiate between the “in name only” position of dean and that of dean as a leader. There are deans who are not leaders, and academic leaders who are not deans. It is hopeful that one would want to aspire to become a true academic leader and a successful dean—a leader of the future. In describing the leader of the future, Covey (1996) suggested three primary roles: path finding, aligning, and empowering. All three roles are inherent in Jacobi's description of a dean's traits. Given that the roles are well defined, the overriding questions become, “What does it take to be an academic dean, and how do I get there?” Before addressing these questions, it is important to outline the challenges deans face.

Challenges Deans Face

Deans face many challenges, including highly political environments, shifting economic issues, increasing demands by the corporate and business sectors, and rapidly evolving technologies. Individuals who assume a deanship must be prepared to handle leadership challenges such as strained fiscal resources, externally imposed accountability pressures, demands for relevant curricula and programs, advanced technology for educational delivery, faculty under pressure to meet student and system demands, diversity, and professional and personal imbalance (Wolverton, Gmelch, Montez, & Nies, 2001).

Leadership is clearly the main ingredient that holds organizations together, while at the same time moving them forward. Leadership as a dean is a triple challenge in that deans serve three primary customers: university administrators demanding a response to shifting external environments, faculty who are loyal to the academic discipline of the nursing profession, and students requiring different educational approaches for each evolving generation. Because nursing requires involvement in the community, the nursing dean also has a fourth customer: the public receiving nursing care. As the role of the dean evolves from manager to visionary leader, deans must understand and be comfortable in both multiple arenas and with multiple audiences.

Academic deans have been described as doves, dragons, and diplomats (Tucker & Bryan, 1988). In addition to the requisite skills of financial and political savvy and managing university and public expectations, being an effective leader as dean requires skill as a peacemaker, by bringing conflicting parties together to reach a workable consensus. At times, deans must glide softly into a position, while other occasions require breathing the fire of change to motivate others to move beyond the status quo. The emerging challenge of the role of the dean as the external face of the university and the college requires highly evolved skills of negotiation and diplomacy.

Do I Really Want a Deanship?

Bright and Richards (2001, pp. 26–31) offered a series of questions to help individuals decide whether they want a deanship:

  • “Do I really want to be a dean?”
  • “Will I enjoy working on behalf of others?”
  • “Can I live with the effects on my teaching and scholarly career?”
  • “What will be the effect on my personal life?”
  • “Am I ready for constant scrutiny?”
  • “Can I accept a new relationship with colleagues?”
  • “Can I handle the stresses of the deanship?”
  • “Am I ready to relocate?”
  • “Am I ready for a new social life?”

One of the most rewarding components of the role of academic dean is working on behalf of others. Because the role of dean has such breadth and depth and requires handling a variety of “customers,” it is necessary to be a juggler or balancer who likes people and their diversity. Deans must create a sense of commitment to the organization and the people they serve by becoming mentors, guides, and cheerleaders for many others, most importantly students and faculty.

Understanding the differences between the demands of a deanship versus those of a faculty position is also critical since role expectations differ dramatically. Faculty are intricately involved in teaching and are enriched by the scholarship role. Transition to a deanship usually requires a significant reduction in teaching responsibilities (if the dean teaches at all), coupled with many other expectations, which compromise time for scholarship. All of these expectations often require deans to redefine their “sense of life balance.”

Creating a sense of life balance is one of the greatest challenges of any leader. Bornstein and Smith (1996) described this challenge as one of the puzzles of leadership. The significant personal sacrifices and reprioritization of family interests is often viewed as an inevitable cost of academic leadership. Bornstein and Smith indicated that part of the solution to this leadership quandary lies in the redefinition of a balanced lifestyle, proposing that the reason a lack of satisfaction (or conviction) exists among people who have chosen not to attempt leadership is that they are unrealistic about the demands and rewards of leadership.

The role of a successful academic dean and leader can be extremely rewarding, and this attribute should not be overlooked when considering the life-balance equation. Obviously, the definition of balance varies among individuals. The harsh reality is that the role of academic dean is extremely demanding. However, with practice, discipline, desire, commitment, energy, and enthusiasm, one can achieve a redefined sense of life balance.

Constant scrutiny, new relationships with colleagues, and stress are all inherent in the role of any leader. The ultimate test of leadership depends on the dean's relationships with colleagues, faculty, students, and the public they serve. There are built-in tensions in any leadership role, which can either result in fruitful synergy or degenerate into conflict (Gardner, Csikszentmihalyi, & Damon, 2001). Meeting this challenge requires clarity of values and ethics.

The role of dean also includes redefined social expectations. A faculty member who may have enjoyed the sequestered nature of academic work in the past will now find it necessary to attend many university and community events. Community and academic leaders also have expectations that deans will be involved in their communities. Consequently, deans may be involved with a number of communities, as many deanships involve multiple or regional campuses. Deans serve as the external face of the university and the college. These new demands often lead to erosion of personal time. It is easy for deans to find that someone else's agenda, rather than their own, drives their actions.

Assuming a deanship may also require relocating to a different area of the state or even to another state. This decision is particularly troublesome for many individuals considering deanship, especially for those with families that are well established in their current communities. There many factors, which vary according to the situation, but careful consideration of the effects on retirement benefits is critical. Negotiating benefits and financial incentives linked to relocation should be an essential component of the decision-making process.

The responses to these questions should be well thought out before moving one's career toward deanship. It is important to know the types of leadership skills necessary to become a dean if one decides to pursue a deanship.

Leadership Skills Required To Be a Dean

Clearly, it takes both knowledge and skills to be a successful leader. Factual knowledge of nursing is best obtained through involvement in nursing practice, and factual knowledge of academia is best acquired through the faculty role. Knowledge of both nursing and academia is needed in potential candidates, but other skills are required to be an effective dean.

A variety of positions provide relevant experience for academic leadership, but none are better than the role of faculty and department chair. Traditionally, colleges and universities have elevated their most senior faculty members to the deanship, with more than 60% having been department chairs (Wolverton et al., 2001). Paradoxically, the role of dean requires a reorientation from focusing on personal scholarship to focusing on budget and finance, grant writing to support academic programs and projects, fundraising, and strengthening collegial and community relations. Transitioning from the role of department chair, with more circumscribed expectations, to that of dean, with much broader expectations, can be stressful, yet rewarding.

Gevedon (1992) examined the leadership behaviors of deans of top-ranked colleges of nursing and found that most of these deans were viewed as “transformational leaders.” Transformational leadership was described as encompassing both vision and the ability to blend successful organizational and individual dynamics as they related to the ever-changing organization. Transformational deans were viewed as people oriented, with a high commitment to ethical behavior and an ability to articulate a vision for their colleges of nursing. Krahenbuhl (1998) reported that successful deans are able to conceive of the possibilities for development and enhancement existing within the institution and the college. Individuals with vision and the ability to communicate that vision are more likely to be successful.

Hegyvary and de Tornyay (1991) believe deans must possess conceptual and technical skills, including those skills necessary to produce scholarship (see also the interview with de Tornyay on pp. 486–488 of this issue). They also believe a dean should have the ability to work with people and show concern for the human element of an organization.

Three primary skill sets were identified by Wolverton et al. (2001) as necessary for the deanship:

  • Analytical competence (i.e., an ability to recognize and formulate problems to be worked on).
  • Interpersonal competence (i.e., a capacity to build and maintain various kinds of relationships and groups).
  • Emotional intelligence (i.e., the ability to handle the emotional demands of the managerial role).

The last skill set, emotional intelligence, continues to emerge as an increasingly important skill for all types of leadership positions (Goleman, 1998; Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2001).

Career Trajectories Leading to a Deanship

As the role of academic administrators and academia as a whole evolve, so does the career trajectory to obtain a deanship. A seminal work by Morris (1981) describing the career paths to the deanship depicted four trajectories: professional ascension, trained administrator, managerial outside transfer, and political appointment. Professional ascension entails moving from full professor to department chair (and/or associate dean) to dean. The trained administrator moves from a line position of assistant dean to dean, while leaders arriving from another corporate setting exemplify managerial outside transfer. Knowing the right people and being at the right place at the right time is also a viable track to the deanship (i.e., political appointment). This occurs more commonly in disciplines other than nursing, such as law and business. The profile of nursing deans has changed over time to include leaders who have emerged from nontraditional trajectories.

From a nursing perspective, many nurses follow the professional ascension trajectory to academia. They progress from expert clinician and clinical leader to expert faculty. Once in the academic environment, they may move quickly to a senior rank, or they may be thrust into academic leadership positions while still at the junior faculty level. Ideally, a faculty member would have obtained tenure and senior faculty status before taking on the demands of deanship. Junior-level faculty contemplating a deanship should consider the rigors required to obtain senior faculty status and tenure. Most individuals cannot balance these challenges, in addition to the challenges of a new leadership role, without placing significant demands on their professional and personal lives.

Another way to view the trajectory to a deanship was proposed by Bright and Richards (2001) and includes three distinct approaches: the faculty citizen dean, the corporate dean, and the accidental tourist dean. Each trajectory possess distinct attributes and brings with it varied strengths.

Faculty citizen deans, primarily seen in smaller liberal arts colleges, view their leadership role more from the perspective of a faculty member who is capable of “doing the right thing.” These deans are usually viewed as well-respected scholars and model academic citizens, often on loan from their department as an “ambassador to a small and placid island republic” (Bright & Richards, 2001, p. 9). This trajectory results in a comfortable blend of academic leadership, whereby the dean works from the same premises, priorities, and perspectives possessed in the faculty role.

The corporate dean is becoming the most common trajectory to deanship. The impetus for a corporate approach comes primarily from the pressures placed on academic institutions to function more as corporations, whereby leaders are cast as corporate executives (Bright & Richards, 2001). The corporate dean usually ascends from another deanship or a department chair role in a smaller institution to a larger, more complex academic setting. Rather than starting from the familiar faculty role perspective, corporate dean leaders require a different lens in order to be successful. They must have the ability to see academic issues, defined by resources and policies, solutions, and actions cast largely in quantitative terms, and outcomes in terms of values or return on investment.

The accidental tourist dean (Bright & Richards, 2001) is currently the most common trajectory to deanship. These leaders begin as faculty, progressing to departmental administration or faculty governance roles. They realize the deanship is not just an extension of the faculty role but rather a complex and challenging role. These individuals usually assume the deanship with little or no systematic preparation and quickly discover how great the obligations really are, how unforgiving the calendar, and how varied the range of activities.

Bright and Richards (2001) described these three approaches as having a central feature: the degree to which one sees the deanship as both an academic role and something different from a slightly recast faculty role. Because each academic institution has its own expectations, individuals hoping to become deans should be conscious of these expectations, deliberate in accepting the approach, and comfortable in the requirements.

Finally, it is important to discern the institutional culture embedded in a specific deanship. Is the expected role one of daily management and supervision, or one of dynamic and visionary leadership?

Which Path Do I Take?

Individuals aspiring to a deanship should first assess their abilities and career trajectory. If the individuals are currently faculty members who aspire to the deanship, a little planning would help them reach their goals. The first step in determining a trajectory is to assess the current environment and then envision the desired environment for assuming the deanship. The size and type of institution should normally correspond to the type of campus where the aspiring dean has worked (Bright & Richards, 2001). There are many different types of academic institutions, with each requiring its own unique skill set as a faculty member and administrator.

Understanding the mission of academic institutions is critical to understanding the institutional expectations for academic leaders. Education, research, and service missions differ significantly among various types of institutions. The most distinct contrast occurs between universities and community colleges, especially as related to scholarship and service. According to Zambroski and Freeman (2004), universities place a greater emphasis on offering programs that achieve academic excellence, while stressing scholarship and research, which contribute to the creation and dissemination of new knowledge. Community colleges tend to focus primarily on workforce development through associate degrees, certification, and continuing education. The Carnegie Classification on Institutions of Higher Education (, part of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, can provide a framework to assess the institution and its mission, and then envision the path to the future (Table 1).

Framework to Assess Institutions

Table 1:

Framework to Assess Institutions

The usual academic career trajectory from instructor to professor can be achieved in most academic institutions. However, attention should be given to career movement between various types of institutions. It is not an easy transition from a community college or proprietary institution to another type of university or institution, or vice versa, for those aspiring to a deanship.

If individuals' career trajectory includes aspiring to a deanship based on an economic decision, then information about how dean salaries fare, according to type of institution, will be useful. According to American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) data on salaries of nursing deans, doctoral/research-extensive and doctoral/research-intensive institutions pay deans higher than Master's I and II institutions, baccalaureate institutions, and other health professions colleges (Berlin, Stennett, & Bednash, 2004). However, nursing deans with the highest salaries are employed at medical centers (i.e., academic health sciences centers). Of course, there is a substantial difference in salaries between public and private institutions. Overall, faculty and dean salaries are higher in public institutions and elite private institutions.

Developing the Necessary Leadership Skills

After aspiring deans have determined the type of institution, they must develop or refine their leadership skills in preparation for the challenge of leading an academic college. Many resources are available to assist in further development of leadership skills, including many books providing guidance and tips on leadership (Table 2).

Selected Books on Leadership

Table 2:

Selected Books on Leadership

One of the best ways to develop leadership skills is through professional nursing organizations, such as Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Nurses Association, state nurses associations, and any of the many nursing specialty organizations. Sigma Theta Tau has two programs that focus specifically on leadership preparation: the Chiron Mentoring Program for individual leadership development ( and the Omada Board Mentoring Program to prepare individuals for board leadership ( State nurses associations and the American Nurses Association provide bridge opportunities by linking practice to policy and regulation. In addition, these professional organizations provide a network of colleagues across the United States.

Membership in the National League for Nursing (NLN) also links nurses to opportunities to better understand nursing education and academic leadership. The AACN has developed a program entitled “Leadership for Academic Nursing Program” ( to enhance the leadership capabilities of individuals aspiring to become deans and those new to the deanship role in baccalaureate or graduate nursing programs. This year-long program, supported by the Helene Fuld Health Trust, provides participants with a focused assessment experience, a range of content and case studies related to successful leadership, and the opportunity to establish a network of mentors and peers.

One of the nation's premier nursing leadership programs is offered through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows Program for nurses in senior executive roles who are aspiring to lead and shape the U.S. health care system of the future ( This program is recommended for nurses who have already achieved executive positions in academic leadership. The program accepts applicants from health services, public/community health, and nursing education, who, along with their employing institutions, are willing to make a 3-year commitment to the program. The fellowships provide participating nurses with experiences, insights, competencies, and skills necessary to achieve or advance in executive leadership positions in a health care system undergoing unprecedented change.

Leadership programs offered through the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania ( are highly valued as evidence of superior leadership preparation. Many of the Wharton programs lead to certification. Recent programs offered by the Wharton School have focused on creating and developing leadership, critical thinking, executive negotiation, finance, leading and managing people, women in leadership, and executive coaching. The Harvard Graduate School of Education offers a range of programs focused on higher education (, in particular the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education “Leading Transformation and Change” program and the Management Development Program are targeted for deans. The Murphy Leadership Institute (, located in Washington, DC, provides leadership development including assessment, training, and advisory services that focus on developing leaders and leadership strategies. Although the Institute provides services to a broad array of industries, it is well versed in health care, with a special emphasis on nursing. In addition, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) ( regularly offers a development for deans conference.

Resources may also be available at the local level to prepare for transition into the leadership role. Excellent preparation, including a vast network of local, state, and national colleagues can be obtained by participation in leadership programs linked with local chambers of commerce, as well as state and national leadership programs. Programs such as Leadership Texas ( and Leadership America ( focus on enhancing leadership skills and knowledge of state and national and global issues, so participants can take advantage of greater leadership opportunities. Participants also benefit from establishing relationships and becoming part of state and national networks of graduates. These programs are excellent avenues by which aspiring deans can develop a vast and valuable network of colleagues and potential mentors.

After acceptance of a deanship role, it may be advantageous to link to a Web site developed by Rutgers University through its Academic Leadership program ( The site is designed to provide helpful information for deans and academic administrators coping with academic issues. Finally, membership in either the AACN ( or the NLN ( keeps deans apprised of current and evolving academic nursing education issues and provides a rich network of colleagues and mentors.

Transitioning into the Deanship Role

After accepting their first deanship, new deans may wonder what adventures lay ahead. Wolverton et al. (2001) described the stages of transitions to the deanship. Part of the transition requires disengagement and separation from previous nursing roles. The period of separation from previous roles and transition to the new role can be filled with chaos and isolation. It is important for new deans to seek mentors and executive coaches to guide them through this role change. Successful incorporation of the new role requires growth and development on the part of the new dean.

Transitioning into a deanship is not an easy process. According to Wolverton et al. (2001), this transition requires understanding organizational nuances and being able to build and sustain relationships over time. If new deans have trouble establishing sound partnerships in the work-place, trust will eventually be breached, and they will fail to move forward in the socialization phase. Wolverton et al. (2001) believe the salient factor in differentiating successful from failed transitions is the quality of the deans' working relationships at the end of the first year.

Suggestions for making a successful transition into the deanship role include socializing to build an internal and external dean network, which can be achieved by involvement in associations like the AACN. Developing relationships with fellow deans within the institution is critical to successfully understanding the organizational culture, sociopolitical culture, performance expectations, and informal cues.

Deans also need to understand how to relate to academic programs, students, and faculty. The dean's role in academic programs is described by Bright and Richards (2001) as “the point where all the forces that create the modern academy converge...the heart of the college” (p. 178). Although the faculty “owns” the curriculum, the dean has an indispensable role in its development, welfare, and renewal, in at least four areas: aligning the mission of the college with the university, providing quality control, ensuring consistency of practice, and coordinating with other academic units. Student recruitment, diversity, remediation, recognition, academic appeals and dishonesty, disabilities and illness, free speech, and sexual harassment are just a few of the issues deans consider on an ongoing basis.


Becoming a dean will be a journey of discovery and challenge. A dean's job is not easy but is challenging and rewarding. Pitts (1999) highlighted the need for new deans to promote excellence and accomplish new horizons of fairness. Bright and Richards (2001) recommended that new deans listen to constituents with a healthy skepticism, as friends and enemies alike may try to persuade and manipulate their new leader. Nurse leaders usually possess refined communication skills, which will serve them well in the deanship role. Preparation for the role can enhance successful transition to the deanship. Because the nursing profession needs visionary leadership, an inherent attribute of deans, deans have an opportunity to significantly affect the future of education and health care in this society. This is a challenging yet rewarding career trajectory—the academic nursing deanship. Enjoy the journey!


  • Berlin, L., Stennett, J. & Bednash, G. (2004). Salaries of deans in baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
  • Bornstein, S. & Smith, A. (1996). The puzzles of leadership. In Hesselbein, F., Goldsmith, M. & Beckhard, R. (Eds.), The leader of the future (pp. 281–292). New York: Drucker Foundation.
  • Bright, D. & Richards, M. (2001). The academic deanship: Individual careers and institutional roles. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Covey, S. (1996). Three roles of the leader in the new paradigm. In Hesselbein, F., Goldsmith, M. & Beckhard, R. (Eds.), The leader of the future (pp. 149–160). New York: Drucker Foundation.
  • Gardner, H., Csikszentmihalyi, M. & Damon, W. (2001). Good work: When excellence and ethics meet. New York: Basic Books.
  • Gevedon, S. (1992). Leadership behaviors of deans of top-ranked schools of nursing. Journal of Nursing Education, 31, 221–224.
  • Goleman, D. (1998). What makes a leader?Harvard Business Review, 76(6), 93–102.
  • Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. & McKee, A. (2001). Primal leadership: The hidden driver of great performance. Harvard Business Review, 79(11), 42–51.
  • Hegyvary, S. & de Tornyay, R. (1991). Transitions in the deanship. Journal of Professional Nursing, 7, 41–44. doi:10.1016/8755-7223(91)90073-T [CrossRef]
  • Krahenbuhl, G.S. (1998). Faculty work: Integrating responsibilities and institutional needs. Change, 30(6), 18–25. doi:10.1080/00091389809602651 [CrossRef]
  • Lavenson, B. (1990). Managing your academic career: Interview with a dean. Nurse Educator, 15(3), 3–5. doi:10.1097/00006223-199005000-00001 [CrossRef]
  • Morris, V. (1981). Deaning: Middle management in academe. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
  • Pitts, J. (1999). Academic deaning despite difference. In Allan, G. (Ed.), Resource handbook for academic deans (pp. 177–179). Washington, DC: American Conference of Academic Deans.
  • Tucker, A. & Bryan, R. (1988). The academic dean: Dove, dragon and diplomat. New York: Macmillan.
  • Wolverton, M., Gmelch, W., Montez, J. & Nies, C. (2001). The changing nature of the academic deanship. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Zambroski, C. & Freeman, L. (2004). Faculty role transition from a community college to a research-intensive university. Journal of Nursing Education, 43, 104–106.

Framework to Assess Institutions

Type of InstitutionBrief DescriptionDevelopment Opportunities
Doctoral granting institutions:

Doctoral/research universities-extensive

Doctoral/research universities-intensive

Doctoral/research-extensive institutions award 50 or more doctoral degrees across at least 15 disciplines

Doctoral/research-intensive institutions award 10 or more doctoral degrees across at least 3 disciplines, or 20 doctoral degrees overall

Public or private funding

Undergraduate education

Graduate and doctoral education

Research (particularly NIH, NINR, and AHRQ funded)

Educational training grants (HRSA)

Fundraising/institutional advancement


Community service

Master's colleges and universities:

Master's I

Master's II

Committed to both baccalaureate and graduate education

Master's I colleges and universities award 40 or more graduate degrees across 3 or more disciplines

Master's II colleges and universities award 20 or more graduate degrees

Public or private funding

Undergraduate and graduate education

Teaching role

Educational training grants (HRSA)


Fundraising/institutional advancement

Community service

Baccalaureate colleges:

Liberal arts



Liberal arts baccalaureate colleges focus on baccalaureate education, with 50% of degrees in liberal arts

General baccalaureate colleges focus on baccalaureate education, with less than 50% in liberal arts

Baccalaureate/associate's colleges offer both degrees, with baccalaureate comprising at least 10% of total

Public or private funding

Undergraduate education

Teaching role


Educational training grants (HRSA)

Fundraising/institutional advancement

Community service

Associate's colleges

Typically community college configurations

Focus on technical and associate degrees

Community tax base funding

Undergraduate education to associate degree level

Workforce development

Technical training

Teaching role

Specialized institutions: Proprietary institutions

Offer degrees ranging from baccalaureate to doctorate

Typically a majority of degrees in a single field (e.g., nursing)

For-profit private funding

Primary focus on education; minimal emphasis on research or scholarship

Nontraditional leadership opportunities

Specialized institutions: Medical centers (academic health sciences centers)

Offer degrees in medicine and nursing

Offer a variety of other health discipline degrees

Mission includes provision of health care to public

Public funding typical

Baccalaureate, graduate and doctoral education

Nurse practitioner education

Expert clinician/practice roles linked to teaching

Educational training grants (HRSA)

Research (particularly NIH, NINR, and AHRQ funded)


Fundraising/institutional advancement

Community service

Selected Books on Leadership

Axelrod, A. (2002). Elizabeth I, CEO: Strategic lessons from the leader who built an empire. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Press. Berber, R. (2002). Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt way. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Press. Bright, D., & Richards, M. (2001). The academic deanship: Individual careers and institutional roles. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Buckingham, M., & Clifton, D. (2001). Now, discover your strengths. New York: The Free Press. Clift, E. (2003). Founding sisters and the nineteenth amendment. New York: Wiley & Sons. George, B. (2003). Authentic leadership. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons. Goleman, D., McKee, A., & Boyatzis, R. (2002). Primal leadership: Realizing the power of emotional intelligence. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press Hammond, S.A. (1996). The thin book of appreciative inquiry. Bend, OR: Thin Book Publishing Company. Hesselbein, F., Goldsmith, M., & Beckhard, R. (Eds.). (1996). The leader of the future. New York: Drucker Foundation. Jawarski, J. (1996). Synchronicity: The inner path of leadership. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. Kaplan, R., & Norton, D. (2001). The strategy-focused organization. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Kotter, J.P. (2002). The heart of change. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Kouzes, M., & Posner, B. (2002). The leadership challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Kritek, P.B. (1996). Negotiating at an uneven table. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Linsky, M., & Heifetz, R. (2002). Leadership on the line: Staying alive through the dangers of leading. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Maxwell, J.C. (1993). Developing the leader within you. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc. May, M. (2003). Absolute impact: The drive for personal leadership. Los Angeles: Peloton. O'Neil, E., & Coffman, J. (Eds.). (1998). Strategies for the future of nursing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Rhodes, F. (2001). The creation of the future: The role of the American university. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Ridley, M. (1997). The origins of virtue. New York: Penguin Books. Sample, S. (2003). The contrarian's guide to leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Tracey, B. (2000). The 100 absolutely unbreakable laws of business success. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. Wolverton, M., Gmelch, W., Montez, J., & Nies, C. (2001). The changing nature of the academic deanship. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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