NCAA Division I - Breakout
Selecting Future Leaders in College Athletics
(Tuesday, June 17, 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.)
We're very proud to have three outstanding leaders on this panel today. I think they'll come from different areas with regard to this topic. Let me, first of all, introduce our panelists and then allow them to make some comments. They will depend on a number of questions you all might have and we'll go from there.
President Carol Harter has been the president at University of Nevada-Las Vegas since July 1995. She's been a president on the Division III level, on the Board of Control for the NCAA, for our member organization and she's had great experience in terms of selecting leaders. Carol has some very interesting observations as we look toward our future.
Lattie Coor has been the president since 1990 at Arizona State University and, again, comes from a very wide background in selecting leaders, both in higher education and in athletics. He currently is the president at Arizona State University and comes from the perspective of how important selecting future leaders really is.
The third panelist is formerly the athletics director at the University of Houston and the University of Florida and comes from a perspective of being one of us, so to speak. He's going to talk to us a little bit because he's done some consulting on selecting leaders.
We'd like to turn this into a panel discussion. It does need your participation. Please give our panelists a very warm NACDA welcome. Because this is home, we'll ask President Harter to start and we'll go from there.
Welcome to our city. We're pleased to have you all here. I wasn't quite sure how we were going to do this, so I will make a few introductory remarks and then we very much want to get into an interactive discussion with you. Having been a president at both a Division I and a Division III institution, I have had perhaps some unusual experiences in regard to the screening, selection, supervision, monitoring and, sadly, the losing of ADs and coaches. With the exception of presidents and coaches in Division I schools, there is probably no more vulnerable group, and I think you all know that, of professionals in higher education than ADs, particularly in highly visible institutions with very visible athletics programs. Ironically, it seems to me, that's really as it should be. If the AD is doing his or her job terribly well and in the proper alignment with the university or college's leadership, they are as vulnerable as a president is, as well.
We have all come to understand the importance of institutional and presidential control and oversight of athletics. If those are important goals to be met, an athletics director will embody the values of the university and will be an ambassador for athletics within the context of the vision that the president articulates.
While that may not be big news to anyone, it is amazing how often athletics directors, coaches and sometimes other athletics staff members do not fulfill these expectations. Although, we could do another whole presentation on why they don't always fulfill them, our time can be much better spent if we talk together about what makes the very best athletics administrators and what we are looking for when we hire athletics administrators.
Furthermore, we should discuss how we would hire the right people in the future to insure that, despite the enormous pressures to professionalize and commercialize intercollegiate athletics even further than it already has been, those people in leadership roles need to understand the unique nature of higher education and athletics within the higher education context and help us keep it there with integrity and without the loss of the competitive edge.
Let me give you a set of observations about the kind of people I believe we're looking for and the kind of person I've hired as an athletics director. I won't embarrass Charlie Cavagnaro, but I believe he embodies many of these characteristics. Two or three he doesn't, but I'm going to talk to him about that after the meeting. Just kidding, Charlie.
First, I think people who make great ADs are people of genuine integrity, not fake integrity, not a smooth line or a smooth talker who says all of the right things, but compromises on everything. I've seen those. No, they are people of genuine integrity who will not compromise on issues of substance and principle, but who also know the difference between issues of substance and principle and other issues where compromise is totally appropriate. Knowing the difference between those kinds of issues is the key quality in people who have real integrity and who administer athletics terribly well.
Second, they are people who have institutional and educational perspective. I cannot overemphasize that. Again, they are not simply smooth talkers, they walk where they talk. They are people who recognize that universities are about human and intellectual development and that student-athletes are students first. I know that's tough sometimes, but that's what they are. Their educational development is critical to their future successes and to the institution's credibility and success. They are people who tirelessly set and talk about high academic standards. They find ways to reward coaches and staff and players for academic success. They demonstrate how graduation should be the only acceptable outcome for the vast majority of student-athletes, even after those athletes have used up their athletic eligibility. They find ways to do receptions, parties, give plaques, whatever, to acknowledge academic achievement.
Third, they are people who are excellent people persons that work with people very well. They are reliable administrators and superb garnerers of resources. In the climate in which athletics operates today, it is simply not enough to be an old and beloved coach. Insightful political and management skills are absolutely essential to ADs, senior women administrators and other senior staff. The ability to raise money and, I'm afraid this is becoming increasingly true, not only of ADs or presidents, the ability to raise money will continue to be essential as budget scrutiny increases and resources are reduced. More and more self-reliance in athletics will be expected and creative financial management skills will be demanded of future senior administrators.
Fourth, these are people genuinely committed to diversity and equity. Don't think you're going to get some lecture from a radical feminist. I hope I'm really a humanist and a pragmatist and won't scare you to death with this conversation, but it seems to me that no matter how many obstacles there are and arguments about who cares more about or participates more in athletics, men or women, there is no choice in the matter of getting us to gender equity. It is the morally right thing to do. If you don't buy that, then the most recent judgement by the Supreme Court in the Brown case makes it abundantly clear. There is no legal reprieve. So, set about achieving equity as rapidly as possible with as little negative effect on men's opportunities as possible.
The kind of people who will be hired at major institutions these days understand this issue thoroughly and have stopped waging wars to prove it otherwise. Start believing in the rightness of equity for everyone and by God, the task of getting there becomes incredibly easier.
Fifth. Great athletics administrators are people of cosmopolitan interests and are not simply and wholly consumed by athletics. This may relate to the issue of people coming into athletics administration who are not trained in that field, or who have not had much experience in that field. It's very important for those of you who have been trained to think about this. Just as presidents are required to be generalists, who are expected to understand and participate in an enormous and varied array of university activities, Athletics directors who go to concerts or foundation activities or plays or lectures are immediately understood to be men and women of the world. People who are sophisticated and who have the ability to understand and partake of the culture of a university beyond the courts and playing field and are true citizens of the university community and of the world of higher education in general, is what is characterized as the most successful athletics administrators, in my experience.
Last, terrific ADs are people of unquestionable and unquestioned loyalty. When I'm in a meeting of presidents and hear those who wish to keep from their ADs the most recent conference related decision because they don't trust their own AD, I wonder how they function on a daily basis with such a lack of trust. Now, when I talk about loyalty here, I do not mean a slavish form of obsequiousness. Rather, a loyalty to leadership, to good values, to student-athletic welfare and to the good future of the university as a whole, beyond the athletics department. Even when that future might require some compromises or sacrifices on the AD's part in terms of the athletics department's special interests. I expect no more or less from an AD in this then I do from the provost, the other most significant senior officer, or from anyone else at the executive level of the university.
As Jim Fisher, the wonderful commentator on the presidency has said, "Administrative subordinates either agree with the presidents, change the president's mind, or resign." I think that is a smart statement. I hope most of our time we spend changing our minds rather than just the other two options automatically, but it seems to me that's great advice to ADs as well as to vice presidents.
I hope we can now listen to Lattie Coor who might have some similar or different observations on this subject and then I hope we'll get into a lively debate about some of these issues. Thank you for being here.
Thank you Carol and thank you Jim, for having us here. I will try to join in the spirit of discussion and not duplicate a lot of the very good points that President Harter has presented, for indeed, I do embrace them quite substantially. I will try to run at it from a slightly different angle and one that will, hopefully, add to the landscape in reinforcing those basic points, but adding a few additional perspectives.
In her usual way, when Barbara Hedges called me and said, "Would you come?" She cut right to the chase, as indeed, I would expect from a distinguished alumna of Arizona State University. She said, "Folks are worried about recruitment. It used to be athletics directors were appointed from within the family, having had broad experiences, but there have been some changes in the last few years and a number of appointments have come from outside the athletics family. Would you comment on this?" Though she didn't say this, I've been a party to appointing three athletics directors, appointing or extending contracts over my 21 years as a president, all from within the family. I suspect she thought and hoped I would at least bring the wisdom of that perspective and I shall.
I welcome the chance to talk about a topic beyond my own daily routine, expanding the role of a university president put so eloquently by my favorite American higher education leader, Chancellor Clark Curr from the University of California, when he said a university president's role is to provide sex for the undergraduates, football for the alumni and parking for the faculty. Well, I'm going to add to that today and provide thoughts for our athletics directors. He's also my favorite phrase maker. Governor Reagan, campaigning for his first elective office in California, said he wanted to make changes to the University of California. At the first regents meeting, Chancellor Curr was fired. He walked out the door and quickly said, "I leave this job as I entered it, fired with enthusiasm."
Let me paint for you briefly three things I reflect on as I watch the changing landscape in leadership of higher education, because I think they are directly applicable to the issue of athletics directors and the recruitment of athletics directors in the future. When I joined the faculty, now 35 years ago, in the very strong universities as Division I universities are, it was unthinkable for anyone to go up the pathway to a presidency without going through all of the full ranks of the faculty. Absolutely unthinkable. Those occasions when it was otherwise were so legendary. General Eisenhower being appointed, for example, president of Columbia University before being named President of the United States. It was just assumed that was the case. That is, you all know, probably with vivid examples in your own experiences, no longer automatically the case. Indeed, while the dominate pattern is for the presidents to be drawn from the ranks, usually from the ranks of provosts, as someone said the other day, "A provost is a mouse studying to be a rat." It is now a recruitment that spreads beyond. I think there is something instructive about the recruitment of athletics directors in that lesson because the same forces at work in intercollegiate athletics are at work in the leadership requirements for a university.
Secondly, I am struck by the interesting dynamic of the suffusion of our universities with the total quality management principles. However they're phrased in each of our universities, the notion of continuous improvement, but most centrally, the notion of focusing regularly who we serve. Customers is a term that is often debated heatedly on our campuses. Is that the right term? That's not the important issue. The fact that we consciously think of those whom we serve has a way a defining our tasks. I can tell you that it has certainly influenced the leadership requirements for my job and President Harter's. It has influenced the leadership requirements for all of the senior academic jobs in an institution. I would suggest to you it very substantially influences the way of looking at the organization and the way the organization, in turn, looks back at directors of athletics.
The powerful impressions are now quite vividly before me as my university embarks on a very bold, substantial fund raising campaign. All of us are doing that these days, including major public universities. Some of us are newer to it because we're newer as universities and because we're newer in entering that venture. So, it brings interesting lessons to those of us who are really just introducing it into our own cultures for the first time. The lesson I draw from it as I watch our advisory committees being formed, as I watch deans and others enter this engagement, is how significantly hard we have to work to understand the perceptions other have of us. To understand, in effect, the culture, the parts of the society they are reflecting as they reflect on us. I don't mean just major donors. I mean all of those people that we are asking to bond with the university.
I see these three things as complimentary and significant in thinking about leadership requirements for any major position at a university for the future. The traditional path has great strength, but it is no longer the single path. That, secondly, understanding who one serves in a broader way and understanding it actively and thinking about it in organizing one's leadership capacities. Third, truly entering and gaining mastery over the cultures with whom we must interact is quite important.
What lessons might I offer for this discussion today from all of this? There are some things that have happened to the leadership requirements for directors of athletics that are substantially greater than they were 20 and 30 years ago. President Harter has mentioned several of those. Let me just highlight them. First, the managerial and leadership of the complexity of the job is substantially greater than it was 10 or 20 years ago. You know that and I needn't array the details of that. But, just as a leadership job, it is substantially greater.
Secondly, the array of audiences with whom one must work as a director of athletics has also grown quite substantially. Not just the coaches and the boosters and those that constitute the most immediate family, but the larger public beyond, the faculty, the students and their parents and, in new ways, the student-athletes and their parents, a larger society which carries with it certain skepticism about what we're really all about.
And, third, the array of personal skills including those significant ones mentioned by President Harter that one must possess in order to succeed, team building and working within a team context. The true ability to interface with the rest of the campus. I like President Harter's term, the cosmopolitan view, not just being affixed on athletics itself and development. Without question, all of us have to do that. As someone described, the role of a university president, now I would say it attaches to athletics directors, one who lives in a large house and begs for a living. We're all out having to work that field and to work it actively.
Some general observations in moving us to the discussion itself. First, leadership skills are more important than athletics heritage, so the traditional path as the sole force in determining the progression to directorship of athletics, leadership skills are more important. The ideal and, I tell you that from a personal perspective and I suspect you'll find it in many other university presidents, is the fusion of leadership skills plus the athletics heritage. But, the ladder alone will not be a predictable path to major leadership within intercollegiate athletics.
Secondly, a commitment to the broader goals of the university and an understanding of how those goals have been arrived at and how to advance them is increasingly important, and indeed, essential. I so welcome watching the flowering of the intercollegiate program at Arizona State University where, not only the director of athletics, Kevin White, but several of our colleagues here and our coaches are carrying the
larger message of the university and understanding it and helping advance it within the university, as well as beyond.
A genuine love and commitment to the student-athletes and the student part, as well as the athlete part, and their personal development. A commitment to continuous learning about leadership and management and how to fit that into a larger organization.
Let me close with two pieces of advice. First, to those who are thinking about their own careers, I simply would offer one of the two points I make in every commencement address I've made in the past 21 years, keep learning. Keep finding ways to expand your horizons, to fit it together, to try it on. Take an internship, serve on university committees. Serve on community committees. Do some of the things which many of our communities have where you can join leadership programs beyond and shadow executives for a day. But, keep learning. Not just the basic techniques, but learn beyond.
Advice for an organization like NACDA, keep making meetings like this places where people keep learning. If not, just at the annual meeting, whatever you have, keep encouraging ways in which people broaden those horizons.
I look forward to the discussion. Thank you.
I want to thank Barbara Hedges and the NACDA Executive Committee for, not only extending, but sustaining the invitation to participate in this endeavor today. Some of you may ask why on earth would Bill Carr be involved in a forum of this nature. I could give you ten reasons why I'm invited to be here and I'm grateful for the opportunity. Those reasons would be Richard Giannini, Jeramy Foley, Terry Don Phillips, Wright Waters, Keith Tribble, Debbie Yow, the late John Randolph, Tom Scott and Jim Weaver
and, most recently, Bill McGillis. Those are the people that I've had the privilege to work with, either at the University of Florida or the University of Houston, who have gone on to senior positions in athletics, either in intercollegiate athletics or in professional ranks. I'm excited about that fact and the opportunity I've had to work with them. I especially want to thank Richard Giannini for giving me the opportunity to work as a search consultant, as well as helping me survive some early years at the University of Florida. I appreciate all of the confidence and opportunities Richard has given me through the years.
My presentation today is to paint a backdrop in some of the different areas we've discussed today. First of all, how presidents make searches because I know this is an interested audience on this subject because each person in this room is a prospective candidate, either has been a candidate in the past, or certainly, hopes to be in the future. I hope my remarks will provide some thoughts in that regard. How presidents do searches, what process do they use, what presidents look for in leaders and the suggestions for prospective candidates are things you might think of.
It is important as President Harter has indicated, that we put in context what is happening here today. Higher education and what is happening with that today. It is a very complex environment. The sounds emanating from campus are strident and stressful. There is a true paragon shift that is occurring in higher education today as the industry responds to the forces of the market place, as it must. Some of the trends that are happening that are pertinent in higher education overall are that the collegiate governance structure is being replaced by faculty unions and collective bargaining.
Tenure, one of the very basic pillars of academe is under serious review. A separation of haves and have-nots is becoming more and more pronounced. That's not just between institutions, but it's also between programs on the campus.
The college of business and engineering subsidize the liberal arts in a way even more pronounced than in the historical sense.
Shrinking state support is another dynamic that is happening. There is a higher level of accountability than ever before. Boards of trustees are more involved or, I would use the term, more intrusive, therefore, the tenures of presidents are only four or fives years. That's a high rate of turnover.
What about within intercollegiate athletics? I would say that the dynamics there are even more rapid and more complex as they are occurring, the extreme high visibility we have and vulnerability that has been alluded to here today. USA TODAY and ESPN and other media entities, in their endeavor to provide an awareness beyond the pail, provides a sense of stress and concern that we have to contend with. My four years at the University of Houston, I would describe as I felt that sometimes I was sitting in front of a VCR that was stuck on fast forward and the monitor was six inches from my face. Things were happening so fast. The dissolution of one conference, the establishment of another conference, changes in the administration of the institution. Just total, total change. As we heard Zig Ziglar say yesterday, "The presence of hope within that dynamic is very critical."
One of the things I would like to mention that I think is very important as we study the context of higher education in intercollegiate athletics is that in intercollegiate athletics, we must recognize and take into consideration in a cognitive way the fact that there are three markets that we have to deal with. First, and our presidents here have very astutely indicated that we must keep it within that context, the national higher education market place is the first reality in which we live everyday. It includes government and voluntary regulatory agencies which include the NCAA, NAIA, athletics conferences, regional accrediting agencies. And, the laws which come forward and the regulations which come forward from such
groups such as Title IX, the Open Records Law and Affirmative Action among many others. Those are the realities that we have to deal with. That is the backdrop for everything we do.
The second market place that is somewhat opposed to that in many ways, but yet, is a real dynamic in our industry is the commercial market place. Here is where we seek for external awareness and support. The dollars from television, game revenues, contributions, as we've heard discussed here today, the significance of fund raising and media exposure. This market place has exploded in the last decade as we have seen the Final Four, with it's billion dollar contract, and the bowl alliance with the numbers increased so much. The commercial market place is the second of the two realities in which we function in intercollegiate athletics.
The third I see as the emerging significant environment for us to function, particularly in I-A athletics on the lower 50 to 60 percent financially of that group of 110 schools or so, is the local campus environment. The local campus environment is increasingly important to our operation because we, in athletics, are now competing for scarce resources on our campuses. We're competing for priority and for opportunity and for exposure. The institutional boards of trustees are more important to us because they must deal with athletics in terms of the allocation of those resources as we are less solvent and less able to pay our own way as we might have been historically.
So, we must keep in mind those three markets, the national higher education, the commercial market place and the local campus environment. We, as administrators in the future, must be able to function in that. These markets exert distinct, often cross-pressured forces on intercollegiate athletics. One of the true paradoxes is that in the 1990s, we've seen two major developments happen establishing the context. We've seen the reform agenda go forward and we've seen billion dollar contracts from the commercial market place. It's our great privilege and challenge along with our presidents and those boards of trustees to attempt to blend and balance those dynamics. That is not a simple task.
Some of the trends in intercollegiate athletics that I have observed as an athletics director and as a search consultant to the industry are, the non-traditional candidates are entering the field for athletics directors. That is very pertinent to every person sitting here today. The reality is, you look at the Big Ten and Notre Dame. Twelve institutions, and I would describe out of those 12 positions, the most recent ADs, seven of the 12 are non-traditional candidates. That is a very profound statistic. I don't criticize that. I simply point that out as a fact.
The second is increased opportunities for females and ethnic minorities in our industry. Last year, I had the privilege of serving on the Transition NCAA Management Council. The current formula that has been established with positions by gender, by race and by position, meaning faculty rep or senior women administrator or athletics director, will have a profound impact on the leadership in the future of intercollegiate athletics. It is not as well understood as it will be that will profoundly effect the positions and leadership opportunities in this industry.
The third thing I would say is the trend is the small number of coaches that are advancing to administration. As has been said here by our presidents, leadership is more important than athletics heritage, but I would encourage you on your respective campuses to seek out the coaches that have the greatest administrative talent and skill and encourage them, in their future career considerations, to move into administration because what coaches bring to administration is a sensitivity to student-athletes and an understanding of the concern of the student-athletes and how, in fact, to serve other coaches. That's very important that we keep that blend and balance in the future because, again, we have different constituencies that we must satisfy.
A fourth trend I see is, obviously, a high rate of turnover. The tenure of athletics directors is somewhat less than five years.
A fifth trend I see is an increase of compensation due to the commercial market forces. Not as much as coaches, but still a significant increase in compensation.
A sixth trend is a small item, but is indicative of how busy the calendar and lives are of athletics directors today. That is, the use of cellular telephones. Sounds trivial, not even worth mentioning, but I'm telling you that when I call athletics directors, either now doing some consulting work, or in my four years at Houston, I had one and one-half hours a day in commute. Forty-five minutes there and 45 minutes home, if I was lucky. That was when I used the telephone. I'm sure when I caught a lot of athletics directors, I needed mobile numbers as much as I needed office or home numbers.
Another trend is that the athletics director too often lacks an advocate. The athletics director promotes coaches' welfare, but who does that for the athletics directors? We discussed this last year. That's why the relationship with the president is so crucial. The AD must be loyal to the president as has been pointed out here, but the athletics director must also think strategically for political stability. The metaphor that describes the AD position is that of the fuse and circuitry of campus. It's very easy to have an overload on the circuit. The athletics director must be very prudent and not have his or her base of power external to the institutions so much that it constitutes disloyalty to the president. There must be a broad sense of supported consensus behind the athletics director.
Another point is that the authority of the AD, in many cases, has decreased, but accountability has increased. That's a challenge for us as professionals to deal with. For the future, the athletics director position should become a vice president on campus, in particular, at a Division I-A institution. It conveys a message of involvement, as President Coor and President Harter indicated here, of involvement in the institution and bringing into the circle of academe
the athletics director. This needs to happen and I really believe that it will happen in the years ahead.
How do presidents select leaders? What is the process they use? Presidents are looking to find someone to increase their comfort level with the athletics program. Fortunately, few presidents want to run the athletics program. That very seldom happens and it's tragic for the institution and it's tragic for the athletics program, but their looking for someone in whom they can confide and someone who can handle the responsibilities and do well. The objective the president desires is to have a fit with congruent expectations from both parties.
When they conduct a search, a president realizes they are doing three things simultaneously. Number one, they are hiring one person; number two, they are conducting an internal evaluation and planning process because that's necessary to do a good search. You have to calculate what you need from the position. Number three, they're conducting a public relations campaign with a lot of people outside the institution. A search will make impressions, good or bad, for the institution and that must be taken into consideration.
A well conducted search has four phases. But, the phase of the search that is most often overlooked and not given sufficient time is the assessment and strategy portion. In the parallel of a capital campaign, it's the quiet phase. It's the phase where the assessment in determining what it is we need out of the position in the next five years. It's a very critical question out of which, the end product is the profile of the ideal candidate against which all candidates may be measured. That is something that's very important. Whenever you are a candidate, you should ask the question, "what is your profile of your ideal candidate?" What are the qualities, skills, the experiences that are requisite for this position so that I might compare myself against that?
The use of a search consultant is advisable. You wouldn't be surprised by me saying that. Our industry needs that because a third party, a professional, who can objectively assist in communication and can assist in reflection is very important. I'm very pleased that the Eastman Boatman Firm has taken up the charge here in the industry and is providing that service to intercollegiate athletics.
The use of conference commissioners and other respected people is an important part of the president's resource.
Third question is what are presidents looking for in future leaders? They are looking for four particular qualities that are significant. For the sake of recall, I would break those down into four words; character, competence, chemistry and commitment. Dr. Harter has already referred to the significance of integrity and I could not agree more. Let me ask you a question. What is integrity? Remember in your math class, integers? An integer is a whole number. Hyrum Smith alluded to that this morning, that the person is complete, not lacking in essential qualities. He has a sense of inner peace, a sense of self knowledge and satisfaction. The institution, in turn, provides that type of integrity by stability of leadership and consistent sense of mission and purpose for it's athletics program. So, character has two components, in my experience. First of all, integrity and secondly, proper conduct. That is, you do the right thing every time.
The second quality a president is looking for is competence. That is the by-product of three components; vision, knowledge and productivity. Vision, I would describe as a pro-active form of leadership with a passion for the industry. Being an athletics director is not just a job and it's just like Bear Bryant who said to one of his former players when asked, "Should I be a coach?" Bear said to him, "Well, son, only if you can't live without it. When you can live without it, you won't be happy doing it because it demands too much of your person." I think that's the way it is being an athletics director in today's world. You must have a passion for the industry because it, not only allows you to be more effective in your role, but it also inspires your staff.
In addition to vision, I think knowledge is critical. Factual, intuitive feel for the business, creative solutions and synergies at all levels are very important. Productivity and a strong work ethic and results orientation are very important. There is a difference between leadership and management. Leadership is making sure that people are doing the right things. Management is making sure they're doing things right. That's a very cogent expression. Athletics directors need to be functioning 70 percent of our time. We're doing things that are important, but not urgent. That is, cultivating relationships and that's where the essence of that fund raising success comes from because people give to people. Competence is based on vision, knowledge and productivity.
Chemistry is very important also because intercollegiate athletics is a very emotional enterprise. The political fit is important. A sense of residence between the athletics director and his staff and the people that surround and support the program. There must be a willingness to and an ability to communicate with people and to share the common sense of celebration of the university's advancement because athletics is the forum for that celebration.
Finally, the fourth component a president is seeking is commitment. Terms of agreement where the athletics director makes a commitment to the institution to function properly and the institution reciprocates with a written form. In the ideal situation between a president and an athletics director you have a written contract that establishes the agreement between the institution and the individual. The president and athletics director are wise to consider a sense of covenant between the two because a contract is where I bind you to me in writing. A covenant is where I bind myself to you morally and ethically in terms of how I'm going to function. That's very important.
What are the suggestions I would offer for prospective candidates? Establish a professional development strategy recognizing in this industry that it's a pyramid. There's a need for a lot of captains and very few generals, therefore, the odds of your advancement are not favorable. That's just the way it is. We only need so many people to be in the top position in the industry and you must be prepared to persevere in this situation and you may not get there.
You should study the careers of others for good and bad decisions. You should seek natural relationships and not forced. Leaders respect ambition which has been tempered by good judgement. Don't be brash in your attempts. Approach people in this regard, but do it with a sense of good judgement. Formal education is critical. A doctorate for the future is a good choice. Computer literacy is essential. You heard Wright Waters in his comments yesterday talking about the Management Council and how that's going to function. You're going to have to be able to get on the web. You've got to be online in the future. You just don't have any choice. It's one of the realities of the industry.
Networking with peers and decision makers are critical things to be done. A smart thing to do is to stay in touch with the literature of the industry. Reading the Chronicle of Higher Education is absolutely requisite in this industry to be aware of what's happening. You should live every day as if it would be your last. Make it a monument which showcases your life and if today is not your last, you should fall to your knees and give thanks because you have an opportunity to continue.
I hope that anything I've said here today might be of some value in stimulating discussion that we're going to have regarding this. I'm looking forward to the questions you might have of the presidents as well as anything I might expound upon. I would like to leave you with one final quote because I think this is something of great substance and pertinence to what we're discussing here today. Booker T. Washington said a great deal for us when he indicated that, "Success is not to be measured so much by the position a man achieves as by the obstacles he has to overcome while trying to succeed." With that, I would like to open the floor to questions.