First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies, published earlier this year by Kate Andersen Brower, was given to me as a gift upon my appointment as APUS president. It tells the story of ten of our country’s first ladies, including Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, Betty Ford, Lady Bird Johnson, Jackie Kennedy, Pat Nixon, Michelle Obama and Nancy Reagan. At the time, I thought, well, this is interesting, and why this book? I was quickly captivated by the fascinating stories of their unique and similar challenges living in the White House and being in the public eye as first lady.
In keeping with my leadership theme this week, I wanted to share some noteworthy takeaways from this week’s Online Learning Consortium (OLC) annual meeting. In an invitation-only session on Wednesday, I joined several other senior online leaders in exploring common issues and topics we face on our campuses, in our institutions and in our nation.
Strategic focus and savvy time management are key leadership success criteria. Over the next several months, through the first quarter of 2017, we will be focused on several critical supporting priorities for APUS, including the topic of today’s post, leadership onboarding and development, along with leadership “Listen and Learn” and strategic planning. Other key institutional priorities such as curriculum quality, teaching excellence and strategic enrollment and relationship management will be addressed in future posts.
On July 1, 2016, I became just the third, and first woman, president of American Public University System. This week, APUS celebrates my inauguration, commonly understood as “the beginning or introduction of a system, policy, or period,” "the formal admission of someone to office,” and ”a ceremony to mark the beginning of something.”
The role of president, as my long-time predecessor Dr. Wally Boston and others confided, couldn’t be more different from either of the two other roles. In fact, I had no idea it would be as different as it is. When asked if I like being president I have said it is really different, I am enjoying all that I am learning, and then asked them to ask me if/how I like being president at the end of the year.