Cautionary Tales
Strategy Lessons From Struggling Colleges

Foreword by William G. Bowen
Paper: 978 1 57922 780 7 / $38.95
Published: March 2012  

Cloth: 978 1 57922 779 1 / $95.00
Published: March 2012  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 57922 781 4 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: February 2013  

E-Book: 978 1 57922 782 1 / $30.99
Published: January 2013  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
280 pp., 6" x 9"
Scarcely a week goes by without a headline about the unsustainability of higher education as we know it, under threat from new models, for-profits, or online education. Most threatened are small liberal arts colleges – with commentators predicting the demise of colleges with fewer than 1,000, or even 1,500 students. Are these trends inevitable, or can they be overcome?

Through a unique case study approach to examining and analyzing colleges that have struggled, Alice Brown reveals the steps that can lead to a sustainable operation and, when closure is inevitable, the steps to do so with orderliness and dignity.

Rather than expounding on trends, or management theory and prescriptions, Brown focuses on narrative examples of survival and closure, recounted by real people in actual colleges, and reports the lessons they learned. Here are examples of strategies involving mergers, partnerships, or “going it alone”, and their outcomes, that illustrate principles that can serve as guides for fragile colleges struggling to address their social and economic challenges.

Added to Brown’s six carefully researched and extended case studies, her own insights and analyses of decisions made and actions taken, this book offers guidance by seasoned scholars and administrators on issues as varied as leadership, the roles of the president, governing boards, faculty and staff, in articulating and implementing mission and strategies for survival, and on the changing landscape of higher education. The references to the literature on college survival strategies constitute an education in themselves.

While this book is of immediate practical value for trustees and leaders of small colleges as they look toward and plan for the future and for anyone aspiring to an administrative positions in higher education, the examples constitute a microcosm of the interplay between the external constituencies, governance structures and internal forces that sustain or undermine institutional health, and which are hard to observe clearly in larger, more decentralized environments.

Table of Contents:
Foreword by William G. Bowen

1) Early History
2) Twentieth Century
3) Twenty-first Century

Part One: Turning Around
4) Trustees
5) How Governing Boards Fail—Susan Whealler Johnston
6) Presidents
7) Observations of a Past President—Michael G. Puglisi
8) Faculty and Staff
9) The Role of Faculty and Staff in Reviving Fragile Institutions—Elizabeth R. Hayford
10) Financial Resources

Part Two: Going It Alone
11) Sue Bennett College
12) Mary Holmes College
13) Lindenwood University

Part Three: Merging with Another College or University
14) RX for Nonprofit Colleges—Richard K. Kneipper
15) Barat College/DePaul University
16) Western College/Miami University

Part Four: Partnering with a For-Profit
17) College of Santa Fe
18) The For-Profit Challenge—Robert Zemsky

Part Five: Lessons Learned
19) Is There a Future for Small Colleges—Richard R. Johnson

Endote—Elizabeth R. Hayford
About the Contributors

Reviews & Endorsements:
"Cautionary Tales: Strategy Lessons from Struggling Colleges offers a unique case study approach to examining and analyzing struggling higher education systems and structures, and is a pick for any education collection. It offers case histories of the struggles by insiders themselves who recount the lessons they learned in the process of the educational system's struggles. Examples of strategies involving mergers, partnerships, and other survival options and their outcomes illustrate paths that can serve as guides for other struggling colleges, making this a strong pick for any education collection."
- California Bookwatch
"Pays particular attention to threats faced by small, private liberal-arts colleges; offers case studies of colleges' strategies to stay afloat, including merging with another institution or partnering with a for-profit."
- The Chronicle of Higher Education
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