Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Female Amherst College President Tweets

Lately, there have been articles on leaders, including the CEO, Rupert Murdoch, who are now tweeting and how their personas, and, perhaps, leadership styles, are coming through. The New York Times had such a column on Murdoch yesterday.

Now, the Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) has an article on the new President of Amherst College, Dr. "Biddy" Martin, who took over the Presidency from Anthony "Tony" Marx this past Fall (he is now head of the New York Public Library).

The article begins in a wonderful way, speaking about Amherst, the town that I live in, as being idyllic.

It also discusses the challenges that Dr. Martin faced in her former leadership position at the University of Wisconsin and asks why she left there to assume the Presidency of a small, outstanding liberal arts college (that actually is more diverse than many institutions).

The CHE article also has some inside information that I was not aware of -- of how Amherst College is essentially run by a "Committee of Six" with weekly 3 hour Monday meetings.

It quotes Dr. Martin as saying: "Everyone warned me about it," she says of the power of Amherst's faculty. "Someone just recently told me that a former president of Dartmouth is alleged to have said: 'Being president at Williams is a fun job. Being president at Dartmouth is a hard job. And being president of Amherst is an impossible job.' There's a reputation of faculty being ­really hard on presidents."

It also notes the anti-professionalism credo at this liberal arts college (and I can personally attest to this since I have had Amherst College students in my office trying to figure out how they can take courses at the Isenberg School of Management and the College of Engineering with the Amherst College restrictions). Yes, we are part of the Five College system but that does not mean that students from Amherst College (as I have found out) can take any course that they are interested in at UMass Amherst.

I do wish Dr. "Biddy" Martin all the best in her new leadership role. I think that she will be outstanding. Students are starting to notice already.

You can follow President Martin on Twitter.

The article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.