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Crisis Leadership in Higher Education

Program Session(s):
March 5, 2018 - March 8, 2018

Application Deadline(s):
January 5, 2018

Program Fee:$4,900

Program Fee includes: tuition, housing, curricular materials, and most meals

Click here to see this program’s Executive Core Qualification (ECQ) alignment.

Faculty Chairs: James Honan, Herman Leonard

Program Director: Laura Simolaris

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Successful Leadership in the World of Higher Education

Given the power of the media, colleges and universities are more cognizant of the threat of potential crises. However, as much as institutions can prepare, the unexpected can still happen. As a campus leader, knowing how to act quickly and effectively in the wake of a crisis can protect your students and your institution’s reputation. Since relatively mundane events can quickly turn into crisis events, it is important to understand how to successfully plan for, manage, survive and recover from unexpected events such as disorderly protests, hostage situations and outbreaks of violence.

Crisis Leadership in Higher Education provides critical information about proactive training and planning so you can implement effective crisis management systems in advance of a critical event. Faculty experts in crisis leadership guide participants through a variety of concepts and scenarios, examining practical challenges ranging from natural disasters to emergent infectious diseases. The program identifies communication strategies and reviews techniques and protocols that can be tailored to a wide range of institutional circumstances.

Faculty co-Chair Herman "Dutch" Leonard on Crisis Leadership in Higher Education

Crisis Leadership in Higher Education focuses on the strategic and operational issues that arise when preparing for, responding to and recovering from a crisis—from on-campus violence to natural disasters to controversial statements or actions by faculty and staff.

It is impossible to control whether a crisis will happen at your institution, but you can control the way you react to it. Organizations must improvise and innovate, usually under acute time pressure and high stress—making it critical to know how to manage, survive and recover with minimal damage. The quality of your response can have a lasting impact on institutional community, culture and reputation.

Crisis Leadership in Higher Education will help you respond to crises effectively, develop protocols and practices that minimize the potential for future occurrences and inspire confidence in the long-term success of your institution. The program draws on the complementary expertise, knowledge and experience of Harvard Kennedy School on crisis management and the Harvard Graduate School of Education on higher education, creating a powerful opportunity to engage this important topic in a way that no other institution can.

“Participants come from both large and small institutions, but they all share common interests, concerns and challenges about managing institutional crises effectively. The program inspires, motivates and empowers higher education leaders to gain more confidence, sharpen their skill, and better serve their institutions.”  

- James Honan, Senior Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Crisis Leadership in Higher Education has been jointly designed by faculty from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). The program draws on the complementary expertise, knowledge, and practical experience of both schools to help senior administrators plan for, respond to, and recover from a range of crises that can beset institutions of higher education. The joint HGSE/HKS faculty draws on concepts and materials presented in the Harvard Kennedy School Leadership in Crises Executive Education program (offered annually since 2002), along with other information developed to address the particular challenges faced by higher education leaders. The rich combination of HKS faculty experience in crisis management and HGSE faculty knowledge of higher education creates a powerful opportunity to engage these important issues in considerable depth.


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