The Academic Leader and the Intellectual Life

Academic Leader

If you were to ask a college administrator, “Do you have a strong commitment to the intellectual life?” the answer would probably include a look of either confusion or annoyance. Pressed further, the academic leader may well say something like, “I’m not sure what you’re asking. All I do is support the intellectual life. Academics are my life’s work, and I’ve certainly made my share of sacrifices to promote higher education.” But all too frequently, academic leaders mistake their strong commitment to the formal processes of higher education with an equivalent commitment to the life of the mind: perpetual discovery, personal growth, embracing challenges to long-cherished assumptions, and remaining receptive to exciting new ideas.†

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