When college presidents network, political ideology matters. According to a new report, published in Public Administration Review, college presidents’ political views shape the way they interact with policy makers, business owners and other community leaders.
Liberal presidents are less likely to network with local and community actors, a finding the researchers found unsurprising. For the most part, “local actors” meant businesses and community groups -- and conservatives believe these groups ought to play a larger role in public policy.
How presidents interact with political leaders also depends on the political climate, the researchers found. At public universities, leaders are spending more time shielding the organization from harm -- like budget cuts or aggressive oversight -- than searching for new opportunities. And generally, presidents are more likely to focus on challenging “skeptical and critical” political leaders, rather than building relationships with those who are more supportive.