Lincoln University is held in high esteem by many loyal alumni and long serving members of its faculty and staff. The nurturing, family-like atmosphere is especially attractive to students who value the support they receive in the intimate setting Lincoln offers. Lincoln is viewed as a valued member of the community it serves and is among the top 20 HBCU’s in the country. The University is at a major inflection point where the right leader will have an enormous impact on Lincoln’s future success.
Lincoln seeks an innovative, decisive, strategic, energetic leader with a deep commitment to the value and importance of higher education, who will embrace the history and legacy of Lincoln while leading the university’s growth, strengthening its academic offerings, and assuring its financial stability. The president will create a campus climate that encourages the development and retention of exceptional talent; embraces student involvement, access, interaction and success; fosters high levels of morale and engagement; promotes respectful and effective working relationships; prioritizes a high quality service culture; and cultivates an environment that encourages academic excellence and success.
Lincoln offers a vibrant and nurturing family-oriented campus that is poised for growth and in need of sustained leadership. The Lincoln community is poised to welcome and embrace a new leader who embodies a spirit of respect, innovative thinking, and sound leadership in making the decisions that build upon Lincoln’s current assets.
Some of the specific action items and responsibilities the new President will face are listed below:
- Raising the profile and visibility of Lincoln University through public engagement, partnerships, marketing, and institutional advocacy.
- Recruiting and retaining high academic achievers to Lincoln University and strengthening academic standards.
- Promoting academic innovation through the continued review of all existing academic programs for relevance and strengthening the University‘s position in today‘s marketplace. Leveraging technology to increase academic offerings through online education.
- Establishing and executing sound management and financial principles and maintaining fiscal stability, given the reality that Lincoln University, as a state-related university funded in part with appropriations from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is largely a tuition and fee-driven funded institution.
- Ensuring the fiscal strength of Lincoln and managing the University‘s financial dynamics, measurements and institutional processes (budgeting, costs, revenues, overhead, balances, and investments).
- Continuing the positioning of the University in Chester County as part of the economic viability of the region and building strong linkages with leaders, civic, business and non-profit sectors and supporting programs in the surrounding communities to increase the visibility and reputation of Lincoln. Identifying opportunities that promote economic development.
- Establishing credibility and influence with local, state and federal officials and organizations irrespective of party affiliation.
- Building a strong and cohesive leadership team needed to create the operational infrastructure to support the University‘s mission and priorities.
- Charting a course of action that respects faculty, students and staff, and the institutional culture, while moving the culture and key stakeholders forward to meet the stated goals and challenges.
- Reviewing, updating and changing present strategic plans that align with agreed upon priority objectives of the Board of Trustees, faculty, the executive leadership team, and other relevant constituents.
- Strengthening relationships with alumni to leverage their connection and strong commitment to the institution to solicit a solid volunteer base, increase alumni giving and involvement, and cultivate a quality pipeline of potential students.
- Increasing gifts and grants from individuals, alumni, corporations and foundations.
- Understanding and operating in a climate of accountability for both fiscal stewardship and academic success, which requires a high level of transparency and a high level of engagement in institutional issues with greater assurance of institutional accountability.
- Growing the University‘s endowment to a level needed for a university of Lincoln‘s stature as well as to alleviate the dependency on funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- Continuing to develop processes and plans to rehabilitate the University‘s physical plant and infrastructure, including residence halls, using private gifts and grants or other funding sources.
- Maintaining excellent relationships with elected officials to secure annual capital funding for renovations and new construction through the State-related Capital Project funding process.
Key Characteristics and Selection Criteria
Lincoln University's mission, history, location, and aspirations suggest particular values and competencies that should be in the University's next president. The president will be an effective and politically astute communicator who will recognize the importance of building consensus and providing leadership on the basis of influence, credibility, respect, and transparency. As a leader and a team player, the president will recognize that results are accomplished through, and with others. S/he will value staff and faculty and the critical roles they play in the lives of students. The president will be student-friendly, academically strong and administratively gifted.
Required Qualifications and Experience:
- Candidates should have a distinguished record of senior leadership experience and professional achievements in higher education, or an equivalent level of functional responsibility in a related setting such as business, government, philanthropy or nonprofit enterprises.
- A proven track record of success in building and cultivating financial support through fundraising and other strategies for revenue growth.
- Demonstrated experience in organizing and managing the human, financial, and capital resources of a university, private enterprise, government entity, major nonprofit organization or other similarly complex organization, and in developing, empowering, and coordinating a skilled leadership team. Must possess a significant level of financial and operational acumen as well as the ability to set strategic priorities and make difficult decisions.
- Exceptional communications skills to include public speaking and experience interacting with the media. Demonstrated ability to relate well to others in an academic environment as well as with business, community and political leaders, and to work effectively with a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
- Experience in building, mentoring, and motivating a supportive staff; displaying fair judgment in recognizing talent; a successful track record of recruiting, retaining and inspiring a talented team committed to excellence. Experience working with collective bargaining units desirable.
- Experience and capacity to take advantage of the opportunity to create a leadership team that will provide consistent and stable leadership over the long term.
- Experience working closely and successfully with a governing board.
Desired Personal Characteristics:
- Student-centered – a student-focused leader who makes student success a priority for the continued improvement of retention and graduation rates. Embraces all aspects of the student experience and is willing to engage with students and welcome their input.
- Respect for Lincoln’s historic legacy and traditions of HBCUs - An ability to build on Lincoln‘s history and heritage while working with the Board of Trustees to develop and promote a vision for Lincoln University. A commitment to Lincoln's mission, with its focus on opportunity and access, and an inclination and capacity to support quality in Lincoln's academic programs. Values and embraces the traditions of our nation’s HBCUs and understands the mission, the purpose, and the current state of HBCUs and how they are impacted by changes across the higher education landscape.
- Academic leadership and commitment to academic excellence - A commitment to increasing academic quality and rigor, attracting outstanding faculty, and developing new programs consistent with the knowledge and skills Lincoln graduates need to have -- now and into the future. Respected in his/her chosen discipline and committed to strengthen the academic culture at Lincoln. Demonstrates a deep commitment to the value and importance of higher education and the impact Lincoln can have on its students and their future success. Must have a clear understanding of public higher education institutions and their unique challenges and opportunities.
- Relationship builder/outreach and engagement - The capacity to be politically astute and an effective advocate for Lincoln within the State System, with the administrative and legislative branches of government, and the community. Displays interpersonal savvy and appreciates being an active and engaged leader in the community with the ability to build meaningful relationships with a broad range of constituents.
- Experienced and competent leader – A goal-oriented leader who displays an integrative leadership style and possesses strong conceptual, strategic, communication, financial and business acumen; analytical and synthesizing skills, and first-hand experience in leading and managing a complex organization. Proven financial and strategic planning skills. A terminal degree or professional leadership achievements that demonstrate preparedness to lead an institution of higher learning.
- Respectful and collaborative communicator - The ability to effectively communicate an appreciation for the particular contributions of all constituencies, internal and external to Lincoln. Treats others with respect. Exhibits calm demeanor and values the input of others. Displays confidence, a positive attitude and good common sense. Understands the importance of collaboration and values creative thought in his/her approach to problem solving.
- Successful in fundraising – Possesses the personal and social skills needed to cultivate financial support and partnerships for the University in the corporate, business and philanthropic communities.
- Integrity - Exhibits and embodies integrity, collegiality, and is capable of building confidence and trust; values participating in a campus community that honors and celebrates its history and traditions.
- Effectiveness in building internal relationships – The ability to create constructive leadership relationships with the board of trustees, faculty, administration, staff, students, and other stakeholders in the university is critical.