Presidential Leadership

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Even in the face of political complexities, incomplete research data, and time constraints, college and university presidents are in a critical position to influence the social atmosphere of their campuses. As the chief executive of an institution of higher education, a president can make informed decisions to improve the health and safety of students and be a catalyst for new research-based programs that will benefit future efforts to develop and maintain safe and supportive learning environments. Presidents can take an active role in assuring that their campuses provide safe and supportive learning environments by


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The Higher Education Center formed the six-member Presidents Leadership Group to create a blueprint for alcohol and other drug prevention on college campuses. For the first time this decade, a national group of college presidents came together to review approaches for curbing student substance use and to develop a comprehensive plan of action. This step was prompted by growing public concern about high-risk drinking by college students and its negative impact on the ability of colleges and universities to fulfill their educational mission. As Center Director William DeJong explained, "Our

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Presents a compilation of articles related to presidential leadership in addressing alcohol, drug use and violence prevention initiatives and challenges on college campuses. The articles discuss lessons learned from program implementation, strategies and recommendations for better collaboration and cooperation, and an overview of governance in prevention. 

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explores the ways that presidents engage with students, using traditional means as well as social media. As the United States becomes more heavily entrenched in social media as a form of open expression and communication, presidents have been tasked with using the various platforms to better engage with their students. The report addresses two questions: 1) What does past research say about college presidents and the engagement of students? and 2) How do presidents of Minority Serving Institutions engage students?

American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

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