Given the array of presidential leadership changes taking place in the HBCU sector, I have given a great deal of thought to what can be done to increase the probability of success for new presidents. While there are no magic bullets, I believe that there are at least five things that can and should be done to strengthen presidential leadership success.

Here are five practical strategies for success

1. Appoint a Transition Committee

Immediately following his/her appointment, the president, in consultation with the board chair, should appoint a small transition committee, comprised of internal and external members, to identify critical challenges and opportunities he/she should be prepared to address within the first year of appointment. The committee should identify key players from the campus, civic, corporate and alumni community who can be helpful to the president.

President of Paul Quinn College, Michael Sorrelll

2. Participate in a New President’s Academy

The board of trustees should provide the president with the necessary financial resources to participate in a New President’s Academy or other appropriate professional development activities offered by one of the national higher education associations or major universities. There is enormous value in new presidents being able to establish positive relationships with peers who can serve as a sounding board when they encounter challenges in their presidential leadership journey.

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