President Brand featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education

President Jonathan Brand was featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “What I’m Reading” segment on Sept. 23, 2018.

Jonathan Brand
President Jonathan Brand

Brand wrote the article to explain how something he has read made him reflect on higher education.

He writes: The expression “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is particularly apt in higher education because the manner in which we, staff and faculty members, make decisions serves as an important model for our students. That is to say, our culture is a part of our strategy.

In today’s challenging external environment, institutional cultures within higher education are under greater stress. We are all acutely aware of the critical outcomes — enrollment, retention, and financial, in particular — that we must achieve or face a more uncertain future.

Brené Brown’s “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” (Gotham, 2012) posits that excellence requires comfort with vulnerability. We must be willing to stretch beyond our comfort zone — to take risks — in order to achieve our most ambitious goals. If we are consumed by our deep insecurities (Brown calls it shame, but I prefer “insecurities”), we block ourselves from that effort. And that is all too common.

Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, offers helpful guidance for us individually as well as for us collectively to name and own our insecurities. In so doing, we become comfortable with vulnerability and gain the confidence to pursue the strategies that could strengthen our colleges and enrich our students’ lives.