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Longevity of ECU leadership

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

East Carolina University has benefitted by numerous long-serving administrations. On three occasions during ECU’s history, these administrations have been followed by (non-interim) short-timers.

At least the last short-term administration aggressively and pompously forced changes without learning, understanding and respecting the history and complexities of the culture of the university community. The community includes students, faculty and staff; alumni, family and fans; and the people and organizations of eastern North Carolina and beyond.

In contrast long-serving leaders have been successful in at least two ways. First, they allowed good people do good work with minimal interference but with support when appropriate and possible. Second, in concert with the community they identified academic, local and regional needs and worked hard to address those needs. Under these conditions the university has grown and matured.

I write this because I believe that the university and region benefit from stable, wise leadership. It is too soon to know if the new leaders will be long-serving. I certainly hope they will. But borrowing from Reinhold Niebuhr, they should have the serenity to accept the things they cannot change, courage to change the things they can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Bob Christian

Greenville

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