With word that Margaret Spellings is stepping down as president of the University of North Carolina comes a headline from the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Margaret Spellings Is Stepping Down at UNC. Will Anyone Want to Replace Her?
It is always tempting to think that an institution is so troubled or that an incumbent leader has made such a mess of things that no one will take the job. But, our experience is that this is just not the case. We have seen open headships at schools that no one should try to lead attract applicants. In every case, the applicants either minimize the troubles or believe that the only missing ingredient in that school’s success is them.
Will anyone want to replace Spellings? Sure, but the more important question is about whether success in the role is even possible. That requires a more rational assessment than it’s usually the case in searches.