Leadership is, in large measure, a response function of context and circumstance. Think, for example, of George Patton without World War II, or perhaps more apt, consider the preparation, forces and opportunities to which Eisenhower responded.
Considered this way, that means that higher education faces a perfect storm of leadership opportunity and demand. Reaching some degree of sustainability, like dealing with the consequences of climate change, is not a choice. What our institutions and societies can choose is the way we address the challenges.
Institutions of education are essential to understanding the nature and consequences of the choices we face, and essential to making them wisely and implementing them effectively. We are the crucible in which the shape of this century will be chosen, not in some cosmic moment – as Camus cautions us – but in the day-to-day learning and teaching which are our heart and soul.
We can no longer ignore the lights, and we occupy positions of unique opportunity. The basic ethic demanded by a commitment to sustainability is that the opportunity to make a difference creates the responsibility to act.
In his Chapter, Hales discusses the role and responsibility of presidential leadership in Higher Education to promote and integrate sustainability across the curriculum using a variety of measures.
- A Sustainability State of Mind: Smart Growth for UMaine as a Green Campus with Blue Sky Thinking
Dr. Paul W. FergusonPresident, University of Maine
- Sustainability: Then and Now
Dr. Theodora J. KalikowPresident, Southern Maine
- The Imperative: Ensuring a Sustainability Goal in the University's Strategic Plan
Dr. Harry L. WilliamsPresident, Delaware State University