Monday, March 24, 2008

Leadership Matters
Or, Eat Pancakes, Teach, Listen...and Learn

"And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche"

The jungle drums are beating out the message that OurFormerPrez, Mark Yudof, may very well be asked to run the prestigious University of California system. Even the Daily will have an article tomorrow. A casual google of Yudof and California will provide a rich harvest for those interested in universities and how to lead them.

F'rinstance (from the Jewish Journal):

Yudof, chancellor of the University of Texas since 2002, is to be formally confirmed by the UC Regents within a week. As such, he will take the helm of the world's leading public research university, with 10 campuses, including Berkeley and UCLA, some 220,000 students and an $18-billion budget.
Mark Yudof, 63, was born in Philadelphia and started his academic career in 1971 as an assistant professor of law at the University of Texas, Austin. During 26 years as a teacher and dean, he earned a reputation as an authority on constitutional law, freedom of expression and education law.
After a five-year stint as president of the University of Minnesota, Yudof returned to Texas as chancellor of the multicampus UT system.

In a 2003 interview in the Dallas Morning News, Yudof is characterized as "an energizer, outgoing and at meetings he rarely lets a moment pass without a quip."

As he described himself, "I am what I am. I have my weird sense of humor and I'm proud of it. What I've found works best for me is transparency, being direct and being honest."

Yudof is not above poking fun at himself, pointing to his habit of getting lost as well as his obsessive love of pancakes.

As chancellor, he has continued teaching classes and likes to open the session by asking students, "How did the university oppress you this week?"

Mr. Bonzo notes that BigU's administration certainly isn't into teaching. OurProvost is too busy even to write a once a week blog. Nor are Bruininks/Sullivan very good at seeking out serious complaints or suggestions from faculty and staff about how we could actually improve the university.

Yudof's approach of transparency, directness, and honesty is in stark contrast to what has been exhibited by the administration lately at BigU. There is still a possibility that some impasse may block Yudof's appointment, but you can be sure that if he gets the opportunity, he will succeed, because the man has a track record.

Live long and prosper, Mark.

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