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Question: the case for the past three years jorge has served...

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The Case

For the past three years, Jorge has served as an Associate Provost at a mid-sized, public university. Prior to assuming this position, he forged an impressive career and record as a professor, scholar, and mid-level administrator at multiple institutions. On paper and according to the formal organizational chart, it is a position of importance in the university leadership infrastructure. Jorge is part of the Provost’s cabinet, he is well compensated, he oversees several support staff units on campus (but no faculty or academic units), and he is responsible for a number of important initiatives, projects, and programs (all of which are difficult to explain to those not intimately familiar with academic administration, such as assessment and accreditation). However, he is unfulfilled, bored, and frustrated. Simply, he possesses a great deal of responsibility, but very little authority. His

“success” depends in large part upon the efforts and goodwill of other people (faculty and administrators) across the institution to undertake work that they often deem as less-than-essential or tangential to the core mission of the university. As such, Jorge is more of a facilitator than a leader. In addition, the Provost does not communicate very well, does not include Jorge in major decisions or strategy, and has isolated Jorge somewhat, albeit unintentionally. The true “power” or influence within the university lies with the academic Deans, with whom the Provost works closely and involves in all strategy decisions. Technically, Jorge is in a “Dean-level” position, but is not considered as such. Jorge’s “portfolio” of decision-making and responsibilities could be considered “programmed” or routine, more so than “nonprogrammed” or strategic. Jorge accomplishes his tasks, politely asks for more responsibility, produces quality work, and is well respected across the institution. However, he hates coming to work and is looking for other positions outside the institution. What is most frustrating is that many leaders on campus (particularly the powerful Deans) have no idea exactly what Jorge does or how important it is to the institution, largely because the Provost does not include Jorge to the extent that she should. Jorge is an under-utilized resource with tremendous leadership potential that could be much better empowered and supported.

  1. In your opinion, how do Jorge’s duties, position, and responsibilities affect his motivation, or lack thereof? How could the Provost better utilize Jorge and his myriad talents, particularly with regard to decision-making authority and involvement?
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