The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

President of higher education association reflects on administrative changes

President of higher education association reflects on administrative changes - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

As the national search for provost and dean of students continues, AACU president Lynn Pasquerella weighs in on administrative changes. Photo retrieved from A&M-San Antonio's official website

Sudden changes in leadership at colleges and universities  — such as those at Texas A&M University-San Antonio — are common and can be beneficial, an advocate for liberal education in higher education said in a phone interview Sept. 16.

A&M-San Antonio has launched a national search for a new provost and dean of students. Jo Anna Benavides-Franke left her position as dean of students in August. Mike O’Brien is set to leave his position as provost and transition into Senior Vice President for Research and Health Science, according to a Sept. 14 email from university President Cynthia Teniente-Matson.

Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Association of American Colleges and Universities, said it’s not unusual to have administrative changes like this happen so suddenly. It is also common to see university leaders shift positions within the university.

“Often, those kinds of leadership changes can be destabilizing for institutions,” Pasquerella said. “At the same time, they can provide opportunity to strengthen a college or university given the strategic plans it has before them.”

AACU is dedicated to advancing the public standing of liberal education, “a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a strong sense of values, ethics and civic engagement,” the organization website explains.

Pasquerella said there’s a variety of reasons a president may ask the provost to change positions.

“It’s important for the president to choose the right leadership team that is going to support his or her values and at the same time value the vision… and have the courage to challenge the leader,” Pasquerella said.

Pasquerella also said it was important for there to be shared governance as the university prepares to welcome a new provost.

“It’s imperative for all administrators to demonstrate a genuine commitment to shared governance, transparency, collegiality, cooperation, and so being as transparent as possible about the challenges that particular divisions are facing within an institution, understanding that personnel matter are private matters that they can’t by law disclose the circumstances under which people have been moved along or have left the organization,” Pasquerella said.

About the Author

Daisy Gonzalez-Quezada
Managing Editor
Daisy Gonzalez-Quezada is a communication senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She transferred from Allen County Community College in Kansas in 2019. In her spare time, she likes to listen to music and watch either sitcoms or k-dramas. She wants to explore the world as a journalist after graduating.

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