Phi Beta Cons

President Fires Provost; Board Fires President; Who’s in Charge?

Back in April, I posted a commentary on how the boards of trustees at LaSalle University and Dickinson College had apparently done a less than stellar job in vetting their presidential candidates.

We might think that larger universities would do a better job, since the stakes are high at larger enterprises that serve thousands more students.

But we would think wrong. It seems that Temple University’s Board is on the verge of terminating its president after only three years on the job, unanimously expressing a lack of confidence in him after he recently terminated his own provost for reasons purportedly related to financial aid cost overruns.

The point remains that any board has no more important duty than to thoroughly vet presidential candidates, and to closely monitor their performance once selected. The cost of mistakes in this area is high indeed, and I continue to wonder how deeply these boards dig into the actual workings of the universities that they are charged with guiding.

Vic Brown had a thirty-year career in the chemical industry with FMC Corporation, where he held senior positions and worked internationally in sales, marketing, manufacturing, information technology and procurement.


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