Sometimes when I meet people who ask what I do, I say “I preside.” Every once in a while, someone will ask me what a college president actually does, and in truth, most days, the answer would seem to be “talk.”
Yesterday was a day of many conversations and “talks.” I talked with the president of SGA about student elections and the SGA constitution, with a group of student organizers about their “Relay for Life” benefit, and with the Executive Committee of the Board about the to-do list emerging from last week’s Board meeting. I chatted with the SWEBOP director about a sustainability conference, with the chair of the Philosophy search committee about how that’s going, with the Athletic Director about the Vixen costume, and so on.
And I gave three more formal presentations. First, I met with the faculty to do my regular post-Board meeting report and to introduce the strategic planning process in more detail.This meeting was very helpful in identifying issues we need to pay extra attention to in the next faculty meeting and in upcoming written reports.
Then, I met with Professor Ross Mecham’s “Corporate Leadership” class. Each member of the class will be interviewing three leaders, using a standard interview protocol and analytical methodology. I got to be their “practice” interview! I was very interested in the way the discussion with the students tended to center on issues of authenticity. How can a young professional choose mentors and role models that will help her grow into her own authentic leadership — rather than, say, those who will simply be trying to clone themselves?
Then, in the evening, I went in to Lynchburg to meet with the Estate Planning Council, a group of lawyers, financial advisers, and other professionals who work in the area of estate planning. That was fun, too — they were interested in hearing stories of the Fletcher family’s connections to Lynchburg and also about how important planned giving is to higher education in general and Sweet Briar in particular. (Did you know that on average, Sweet Briar receives about $2M in realized bequests each year?)
So, if you’ve ever wondered how the president of Sweet Briar spends a typical day on campus, that’s about it!