GSE Former Dean Co-Authors Book on Leadership in Higher Education

January 23, 2017

What does it take to be an effective leader at a college or university? Can leadership skills be developed? These questions were addressed by, Richard De Lisi, University Professor and former Dean of Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE), in his new book on leadership in higher education.

De Lisi recently co-authored ‘A Guide for Leaders in Higher Education. Core Concepts, Competencies, and Tools’, which is intended to serve as a resource for faculty and staff members in the field who seek to enhance leadership skills and competencies. He was inspired to co-author the book because of his experiences as department chair and dean at the GSE and his extensive knowledge of the field of higher education.

“I have many years of experience as an informal and formal leader in higher education here at the GSE,” said De Lisi. “Based on my observations and experiences it occurred to me that training faculty and staff members to become effective leaders is vital.”

De Lisi joined the GSE in 1976 as a professor for the Department of Educational Psychology. From there, he became the first Ph.D. in Education Graduate Program Director and later went on to serve as Dean from 2003 to 2014. Last year, De Lisi served as the Graduate Program Director for the newly launched Ph.D. in Higher Education program.

He noted that the skills or characteristics of an effective leader can be described as being a good communicator, having relationships that are honest and based on mutual respect, being a person of ethics and integrity, and having a vision for the organization or company. The book also discusses how to manage difficult situations and how to tackle change, which are challenges that most leaders face when striving.

De Lisi’s book can assist anyone to become an effective leader, not just in higher education, as the tools and skills discussed in the book can be applied to different fields and should work for anyone seeking leadership improvement.

‘Leaders are made, not born,” said De Lisi. “Anyone can become better at the skills needed to be a leader if you take an intentional approach and commit to working at improvement.

De Lisi and his co-authors, Brent Ruben, Distinguished Professor of Communication and Executive Director of the Rutgers Center for Organizational Development and Leadership, and Ralph Gigliotti, a Ph.D. candidate in communication at Rutgers, are currently using the book as a reference for doctoral students, including GSE students, enrolled in the Rutgers Pre-Doctoral Leadership Development Institute as well as for faculty and staff enrolled in the Rutgers Leadership Academy.  “We see the book as being a companion to programs that are referenced on campus such as workshops on leadership improvement,’ said De Lisi.

The Chronicle of Higher Education also referenced the Pre-Doctoral Leadership Development Institute and the Rutgers Leadership Academy in its article “What 4 Colleges are Doing to Groom New Leaders” in order to showcase how these type of programs are producing effective leaders.

To learn more about De Lisi’s book and the program, please visit the webpage.





Who to contact: