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The Journal Gazette

  • Wolfe

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 4:18 pm

Not all leaders able to lead in every situation

Lisa Green The Journal Gazette

Tim Wolfe’s resignation last week as president of the University of Missouri might raise questions about whether everyone can use their leadership skills successfully in varied settings.

Wolfe had corporate experience at companies including IBM and was reported to have been hired to help the university cut costs. He didn’t exactly have a short stint at Mizzou. Wolfe held the top administrative post at the university more than three years. But his tenure might have been longer if he had given more of an audience to those voicing concerns and taken some steps earlier.

Several complaints have been aired by constituents this past year at the university, but the ones about blatant racism – including a swastika drawn on a dorm wall – proved to be his undoing.

A Mizzou chancellor also stepped down, saying he would move to a lesser role involving research at the university.

Upon Wolfe’s resignation, Mizzou announced several steps to help smooth tensions and provide diversity training.

It might take time to put strong programs into place. Some of Wolfe’s critics believe he should have been more vocal, declaring a lack of tolerance for any racism and leading dialogue about what needed to be implemented to improve the campus culture and environment.

In the end, Wolfe acknowledged the racism concerns as “clear” and “real.” Yet, based on news reports, Wolfe seemed to fail to make it clear early enough he was not just listening but willing to act. Leaders can’t get away with that too often.

Survey on interest in leadership Ph.D.

A focus group of 40 people gave a thumbs up to the idea of IPFW launching an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, so an online survey has been developed to get more input.

The group that met Oct. 22 had representatives from areas including public and private sectors, health care and education. The response was “overwhelmingly positive” about the potential for the doctorate program, IPFW said in a news release.

“One of the main purposes of this degree is to improve leadership practices that sustain and advance the quality of life throughout the tri-state region,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Programs Carol Sternberger said in a statement.

Likely areas of concentration for the degree include education, organizational leadership, business, and health sciences.

The survey seeks to gauge the importance of a leadership Ph.D., potential barriers, motivation for enrolling and requests other information.

The survey is available through Nov. 20 through a link on the leadership Ph.D. program information page at

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at