Robert Glidden was president of Ohio University from 1994 until his retirement in 2004, and interim president of California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo from August 2010 to February 2011. He holds the title of President Emeritus of both institutions.
At Ohio University, a public research-extensive institution with 20,000 students in Athens, OH and 9,000 students on five regional campuses, Dr. Glidden led strategic planning efforts to engage the community and focus Ohio’s mission as one of America’s top research universities. He oversaw Ohio’s technological development and established its Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, resulting in more prestigious national scholarship awards for the University than any other institution in Ohio. He also led a successful $200M campaign to commemorate the University’s bicentennial.
While at Ohio University Dr. Glidden was a member of the Ohio Governor’s Science and Technology Council and chaired the Ohio Aerospace Institute. He chaired the Mid-American (Athletics) Conference and the Inter-University Council of Ohio, served on the Board of Directors for Ohio Campus Compact, and was a member of the Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission from its inception in 1996 through 2004. He served as chair of the American Council on Education’s Commission on Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness and on ACE’s Advisory Committee for the Center on Policy Analysis. He has facilitated a number of ACE presidential roundtables and he continues to work with the ACE Fellows program as a mentor and leadership coach.
Before his two presidencies, Dr. Glidden was at Florida State University as provost and vice president for academic affairs (1991-94), and as professor and dean of the School of Music (1979-91). He was on the faculties at Wright State and Indiana Universities and the University of Oklahoma, and, in the late 1970s was dean of music at Bowling Green State University. He served as executive director of the National Association of Schools of Music and National Association of Schools of Art in Washington (1972-75) and as President of Pi Kappa Lambda, the national honor society in music.
President Glidden has been a consultant or evaluator for more than 80 colleges and universities across the United States. He has been active in higher education accreditation in the U.S. and abroad throughout his career. He served a term as chair of the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation and was founding chair of the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). He served on CHEA’s board for eight years and now serves on the American Bar Association Accreditation Committee. He has twice conducted higher education quality assessments for the Republic of Ireland, most recently chairing a team of Europeans in the evaluation of the Dublin City University during Spring 2010, and he has delivered papers on various aspects of American higher education in both Europe and Asia.
A native of Iowa, he holds the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D degrees in music from the University of Iowa. He and his wife René live near Lexington, Virginia. They have three children and five grandchildren.
My career includes nearly 30 years in administration but I have always defined myself as primarily a teacher and mentor. Since my retirement I have been engaged as a “leadership coach” with the American Council on Education Fellows Program, where I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to help mid-career academics prepare for roles as senior administrators. During my years as a university president I took seriously the responsibility to serve as advisor and mentor to vice presidents and other senior administrators, and as a provost I felt the same responsibility toward deans, especially those new in that position. Having worked with Ann Duffield on several projects over the past seven years, and because of the satisfaction I derive from helping others to be successful leaders, I am delighted to join Ann as a colleague in her consulting enterprise.
In my work with consulting clients, I have found that my background and continuing interests have coincided to enable me to be helpful in a number of areas, including:
Helping institutions prepare for accreditation: Having held a position as executive director of a professional accrediting organization early in my career, I became deeply involved in accreditation policy and procedures. Later, as a dean, provost, or president at several universities, I had the opportunity to conduct many accreditation reviews and serve on accrediting commissions. I chaired the former Council on Postsecondary Accreditation in the mid-80s, and a decade later was founding Chair of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the body that now represents and coordinates accreditation on the national level. I have enjoyed helping both institutions and programs in their preparation for accreditation reviews and, more importantly, in helping them to use the process to achieve strategic improvements rather than merely going through time- and energy-consuming motions.
Addressing important but challenging academic administrative issues: There are several areas of academic administration that are challenging for many institutions but that I believe important in helping institutions improve. One such area is the evaluation of personnel to improve performance of individual faculty members, staff, or administrators. Another is the evaluation of institutional performance by assessing student-learning outcomes. And a third is improving and maintaining faculty morale, in part by developing appropriate and equitable workload assignments.
Working with institutions to strengthen programs in the arts: My academic background and experience with music and the arts in higher education continues to be a focus of special interest that has led me to interesting and rewarding volunteer opportunities as well as consulting and advisory work in the arts.
Helping associations offer planning and evaluation assistance to their members: My work with the American Council on Education, the National Association of Schools of Music and National Association of Schools of Art in Washington, and Pi Kappa Lambda, the national honor society in music, always energized me and gave me new perspectives that helped me be a more effective institutional leader. Consequently, I now enjoy assisting other associations as they develop their plans to be effective in their critical work in today’s accountability-intensive environment.
Using outside reviewers, review boards and panels for strategic purposes: Often, it is in the strong interest of colleges and universities to become their own probing and stimulating critics by forming outside review boards and panels made up of experts in relevant fields to help with a variety of tasks related to institutional and program improvement. I have some experience with this type of institutional engagement and believe that I can be helpful in advising how to make the best use of volunteers for this important function.
Coaching or advising new deans or senior administrators: Although we have a number of workshops or institutes nationally to help prepare aspiring leaders, many people in higher education are invited (sometimes required) to assume new leadership roles without time or opportunity for adequate preparation. I have both experience and interest in helping new administrators adjust and learn while on the job. My personal professional experience is in public institutions, but as a consultant and evaluator I have also worked with individuals in private higher education and have found that, for the most part, most of the challenges for new administrators are the same in both sectors.