Phi Beta Cons

High Presidential Turnover

Commenting on my post comparing the salaries of public college presidents in Maine with those of Maine’s governor, a reader asked if the presidents were doing a good job.

The one piece of objective evidence is that the turnover has been tremendously high. At the University of Southern Maine, Glenn Cummings took over a year ago when Harvey Kesselman, who had agreed to be president, felt he had to stay at his New Jersey school, Stockton, to deal with troubles there.

According to the Portland (Me.) Press Herald (May 20, 12015), Kesselman was to take over from an interim president, David Flanagan, who had replaced Theodora Kalikow, who had been interim president for two years after Selma Botman left “amid faculty unrest.”

And, the paper says, “The university system has had a string of top leadership changes at its seven campuses in recent years.”

So you can see why the schools would have had trouble filling the positions with low salaries. Why the turnover has occurred would require a deeper look. Budget cuts undoubtedly were a factor, but, really, does a state with 1.33 million people need seven campuses?

Jane S. ShawJane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...


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