A new book
Kenneth A. Shaw
in higher education
As a researcher of educational leadership for two decades and a Syracuse University administrator for the past nine years, I was very interested in Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw's (http://whitman.syr.edu/shaw) new book on university leadership. I was curious to know how our successful Chancellor viewed his own leadership style and situation. The chief executive's fast-paced, high-pressured hierarchical world all too often causes top leaders either to over-attribute events to external causes beyond their control, or to inflate their influence on organizational outcomes. Staying grounded in the core values of one's institution and keeping a realistic picture of oneself are key ingredients for success, but are very difficult to maintain. Kenneth A. "Buzz" Shaw knows this well: His own leadership style stresses communication and active engagement. In The Successful President: "BuzzWords" on Leadership (American Council on Education/Oryx Press, 1999), he shares his secrets for success with other aspiring leaders.|
The book is quintessentially Buzz Shaw. It is an unpretentious, practical guide to leadership. Its conversational tone is peppered with parenthetical comments that faithfully capture Shaw's wit and down-to-earth style. I couldn't help but hear Buzz's own voice echoing what I read.
Syracuse University's remarkable success story during this decade provides the backdrop for the book. By briefly telling the story of how the University responded to a substantial decline in undergraduate enrollment and a projected $40 million annual deficit, Shaw helps readers understand core leadership tools: identifying essential institutional values, encouraging participation, managing group conflict, and articulating budget trade-offs. He claims a modest goalto help new and prospective university leaders improve their skills by taking stock of their personal talents and motivations as well as their ability to manage groups. The book does not offer general prescriptions for leadership or for improving higher education in our country. Rather, it speaks about the essence of day-to-day activities that help a leader chart and maintain the institution's course. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala G'70 points out in her foreword that the book offers broad insight for leaders in all organizations.