Auburn University president uses experience, technology to create digital textbook

Published: May 30, 2017
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Auburn University President Jay Gogue has drawn on his long career in higher education administration to develop a digital textbook on the subject.

"A President's Perspective" was available for review at the recent American Council on Education annual meeting where it received high praise from university presidents, scholars and students for its innovative use of media and technology to deliver content.

The new digital textbook is being described as unlike any other in the field. Currently, no other product illustrates how to manage complex institutions or how to prepare the next generation of leaders in higher education.

"Quality higher education leadership is critical to colleges and universities as they chart a course for the future," said Gretchen Bataille, former senior vice president of the American Council on Education. "This digital text 'fills in the blanks' for aspiring leaders who will confront governance issues, athletics, academic and student support and fundraising, as well as the day-to-day management of the campus."

In his first book, Gogue offers practical insights into the challenges of the university presidency. Before coming to Auburn in 2007, Gogue was president of New Mexico State University and the University of Houston.

In addition to Gogue's observations, each chapter includes video commentary from veteran administrators Bataille and Robert Moulton, who served as consultants for the project. Other high-level administrators at institutions across the country provide additional video commentary throughout the text.

"Aspiring and new presidents need experience, knowledge and mentoring to be successful," says Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. "Dr. Gogue and his colleagues provide thoughtful insights on a wide range of core contemporary issues in higher education."

Each chapter contains a video overview of the topic, along with case studies and classroom activities aimed at fostering discussion and further exploration of the topic.

The textbook is designed to be used in whole or in part. Faculty may choose individual chapters, which last 45 to 50 minutes, for their classes or even elements of the individual chapters. Elements of the text are easily adaptable for use in leadership programs and seminars as well.

"The overviews are excellent and provide depth and perspective to the challenges university and college presidents face," said Walt Gmelch, professor of organization and leadership at the University of San Francisco. "With the current dearth of material on the presidency, this is a welcomed addition and will be a critical resource for anyone seeking to become a president."

"The strong case studies at the end of each chapter allow participants to integrate the knowledge they have learned," said Mary Sias, director of the Millennium Leadership Initiative at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. "Because the chapters and elements can be used independently, they also can help participants to bridge gaps in specific areas. The experiences of respected administrators who have lived much of their lives doing this work enrich this digital textbook and elevate it beyond most standard textbooks in the field."

The digital text, developed by Auburn's Media Production Group, is distributed by XanEdu Publishing and will be available for classroom use this fall.