What Does a University President Do?
Many visitors to this website have asked, “Just what does a university president do?” Dr. DiGiorgio is pleased to provide a brief overview of the various roles he plays on behalf of Winthrop University.
What is the official function of the President?
The President is the chief executive officer of the University and, as such, is responsible for overall strategic planning for and the sustained performance of the University.
What does the President do on a daily basis?
The President’s job can generally be broken down into three general areas: Planning, Leadership, and External Relations. Some days may find the President focused heavily on one particular aspect or issue but often he is involved in all three areas and there is significant overlap among them.
Planning: The President spends a great deal of his time thinking about and organizing for the future – he leads the visioning, strategic planning, and implementation of the growth and development of University programs and facilities to meet the challenges and needs that lie ahead. He may spend part of the day working with plans for appropriate construction or renovation of facilities, or with opportunities to expand or adapt programs and services offered to students and the community.
Leadership: The President may spend a significant portion of his time supervising the daily operations of a University with more than 1000 faculty and staff members and an annual budget of over $100,000,000. On a given day the President may have a series of meetings and make dozens of separate decisions related to budgetary resource issues, personnel, facilities planning, academic programs and cooperative public-private partnerships. The President is also responsible for the orderly conduct of the University's National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I intercollegiate athletic program.
External Relations: The President often hosts or travels to meet with national, regional, state, community, and business leaders as well as alumni, members of the general public and members of the media. As the most visible symbol of the University, the President is expected to maintain and enhance state and private funding for the institution and public higher education in general, extend the University’s services and good will to the public, and find ways for the University to contribute to the social, economic, and intellectual development of the state as well as the local community and the region.
To whom is the President responsible?
The President reports to the Board of Trustees, a group of individuals elected or selected by different constituencies including the Governor, the General Assembly, the Superintendent of Education, and the Winthrop University Alumni Association. In addition, there are faculty and student representatives who serve as ex-officio, non-voting Board members. The Board’s primary role is to establish the broad policy initiatives that guide the development of the University. The Board delegates the administrative responsibility for managing and leading the University on a daily basis to the President.
What kind of training do you need to be a President?
Usually a President has earned a doctorate or holds an equivalent terminal professional degree. Very often a President has substantial experience in higher education administration along with proven leadership, management, planning, fund-raising, public speaking, and organizational skills. There is no one automatic “path” to becoming a President – it often depends on the particular needs of a given university at a given time.
A President should have in-depth knowledge of strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities facing higher education in general now and in the future. President DiGiorgio has over forty years of experience in higher education as a faculty member and administrator.
What is the President’s vision for the University?
The vision is for Winthrop University to be, and to be recognized as, one of the best institutions of its kind in the United States.