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President Buck Smith on campus at Davis & Elkins CollegeThe Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting story about a turnaround at a tiny Appalachian college.

Seventy-four-year-old Buck Smith is the president of Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia. He's been president for just one year, but already things are turning around. His recipe:

  1. Reduce expenses
  2. Recruit students
  3. Retain students
  4. Raise funds
  5. Renew programs
  6. Reach for new possibilities

That sounds like a good recipe for any school in trying economic times. But maybe that's just conventional wisdom. It's implementing all those goals that takes time and talent.

I like this quotation from the president:

We can't, in a Pollyannaish way, say, "The liberal-arts college will always survive." We are all under threat or under siege. It comes down to whether you are going to look at your future based entirely upon your past or what others are doing, or whether you are going to look at the fundamentals, the principles, the basics, and have the discipline to stay with those.

Having the discipline to stay focused. That's good advice for a college president, a president of a theological school, or any board member.

Read the entire article in the Chronicle of Higher Education here.


Photo credit: Pete Marovich for the Chronicle of Higher Education

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