Metropolitan University Leadership Roles During Periods of National Peril


  • Joseph F. Sheley California State University


Metropolitan Universities, Leadership, National Crisis


The events of September 11, 2001 have reoriented communities and the universities serving them to matters of national crisis. In the wake of such tragedies, community-oriented universities potentially encounter pressures to conform their activities and speech to popular notions of patriotism. They also encounter opportunities to provide leadership in fostering public discussions of diverse responses to crises. The author considers how administrative leaders can define the institutional role in helping shape the community response to the crisis at hand, especially the role off acilitator of public discussions of government policy. Conducted well and neutrally, the university's proactive assumption of such a role vastly farthers its capacity to be a vital community partner.