Resources for Leaders and Scholars

Full text copies are attached to some of the following articles.  For copies of others, contact

Collaborative Chaos and Unruly Passions:  New Directions for Scholarship and Real-World Engagement by Susan Frost, 2007 EIGER Distinguished Address, Virginia Tech University, October 2007

Chaos and the New Academy, by Susan Frost and Aimee Pozorski, April 2006.

What makes academic leadership so challenging?
Every day academic leaders make decisions that fly in the face of conventional management models. Rather than seeking greater efficiency and order, these leaders are guiding the institution toward high energy activity that seems chaotic and hard to direct.

Our research at leading universities and colleges shows that those who favor chaotic activity have significantly increased their institution’s productivity, quality and scope. Leaders at these institutions understand that today’s academy must embrace unruly intellectual passion to discover new ideas for scholarly directions and real-world engagement.

This work-in-progress explores this new model of academic leadership. Drawing on metaphors from other disciplines and successful examples of the “ordered disorder” principle, we suggest some ways leaders can use specific practices to achieve the gains we describe. We welcome your comments and suggestions to Susan Frost at

Matching Donor Interests with Problem-Centered Academic Programs is an interview with Susan Frost and Larry Hirschhorn by Robert Kelly. It was the lead article in the September 2005 issue of Academic Leader, a newsletter for deans and department chairs.

To appeal to today’s donors, department chairs and faculty need to play a larger role in fund-raising than they typically have in the past, say Susan Frost and Larry Hirschhorn, who describe a methodology they have developed to bring faculty and the board of trustees together to design programs that address societal issues that engage donors. In the interview, Frost and Hirschhorn describe the process they have implemented at one institution as part of a larger fund-raising campaign.

Overcoming Obstacles to Interdisciplinary Research is an interview with Susan Frost by Robert Kelly. It was the lead article in the May 2005 issue of Academic Leader, a newsletter for deans and department chairs.

Although scholarship often crosses academic disciplines, higher education institutions are not equipped to fund and recognize interdisciplinary scholarship properly. As a result, faculty “steal time” from their traditional departmental duties to create new forms of scholarship that do not fit neatly into a single discipline. In the interview, Frost explains that too often, academic leaders adopt a bureaucratic managerial style based on traditional academic-unit boundaries.

The University as Global City: A New Way of Seeing Today’s Academy by Susan Frost and Rebecca Chopp, March/April 2004. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 44-51.

“The University as Global City” compares the role of leaders in the university with those of the global city (as defined by sociologist Saskia Sassen), suggesting that leadership begins with two assumptions: ideas build institutions, and the best ideas are emerging from new directions within the institution rather than from external sources. The article describes how creative leaders-in both the university and the global city-base change on organic growth rather the more formal structures they might impose. As knowledge production becomes more fluid, this approach to organizational improvement assumes even greater importance.

Advancing Universities: The Global City as Guide for Change by Susan Frost, Rebecca Chopp and Aimee Pozorski. Tertiary Education and Management (TEAM), 2004, 10, 73-86.

“Advancing Universities” asks leaders to think about ways to guide future change in universities by embracing a new cultural model. Emphasizing blurred boundaries and organic development over the more rigid structures of bureaucracies, the model recognizes the roles of conflict and creative churn in supporting positive change. This essay combines research on the cultures and structures of some of the leading universities in the U.S. with the ideas of scholars in the fields of history, sociology, and higher education.

Research at the Crossroads: How Intellectual Initiatives across Disciplines Evolve by Susan H. Frost, Paul M. Jean, Daniel Teodorescu; and Amy B. Brown, Summer 2004, The Review of Higher Education, 27(4), 461-479.

“Research at the Crossroads” emphasizes the conditions that help interdisciplinary programs succeed and proposes that intellectual work across disciplinary boundaries lies at the heart of new intellectual communities. In particular, scholars who work across disciplinary lines address important problems that extend beyond the scope of traditional knowledge fields while simultaneously helping universities increase their definition and distinctiveness. Findings from this study were also presented in a brochure that explains how intellectual initiatives form and flourish.

Intellectual Initiatives: Working Across Disciplines, Schools, and Institutions explains the study’s main findings and big ideas in a brief brochure.

Bridging the Disciplines: Interdisciplinary Discourse and Faculty Scholarship by Susan H. Frost and Paul M. Jean, Mar/Apr 2003, Journal of Higher Education, 74 (1), 119-149

“Bridging the Disciplines” confirms that a strong intellectual community not only supports interaction across the disciplines, but also help connects the larger purposes of scholarly inquiry. Based on an eight-year case study at one university, the article shows how leaders can make a genuine change in their institution’s intellectual culture.

Using Teams in Higher Education: Cultural Foundations for Productive Change, Susan H. Frost (volume editor and chapter author), 1998, New Directions for Institutional Research (100), San Francisco : Jossey-Bass.

Teams succeed or falter in the cultures that surround them.  In this book, Susan Frost and other experts use case studies to examine models of successful teams and recommend how leaders can use them to improve collaborative work.  Designed to be both provocative and practical, this volume can help guide useful change.

Purchase directly from the publisher and receive a 15% discount. Please use the code w5558 if the discount does not calculate automatically.

What’s Old is New Again: Alternative Strategies for Supporting Faculty by Susan H. Frost, Rebecca S. Chopp and Paul M. Jean, Nov/Dec 2000, Change, 33 (6), 43-46.

This article considers the most effective way to improve existing levels of excellence in scholarship and teaching at growing research institutions. One suggestion is to enhance faculty scholarship via the spirit of collegiality and inquiry that are vital to any flourishing academic culture. By creating an enabling, rather than a coercive, organizational setting in order to enhance faculty development, university leaders can tap into an ongoing dialogue among faculty about the types of collaborative programs that best serve their needs.

Making More of Faculty Culture: An Experiment in Building Intellectual Community,
by Susan H. Frost and Paul M. Jean, 2000, Tertiary Education and Management (TEAM), 6(3), 227-243.

“Making More of Faculty Culture” considers how an experimental organizational structure strengthened intellectual community in a university. The article describes how a program designed to support interdisciplinary faculty conversation contributed to intense involvement, broadened and deepened intellectual discourse, enhanced disciplinary orientation, and revealed new possibilities for teaching and research.

Teaching Excellence: How Faculty Guided Change at a Research University by Susan H. Frost and Daniel Teodorescu, 2001, Review of Higher Education, 24(4), 397-415.

“Teaching Excellence” considers the benefits of promoting teaching goals within the university’s culture rather than simply changing the structures of support. One method involves a three-pronged approach: to gather opinions of the faculty systematically; to extract meaning from their feedback; and to use it to reach some universal conclusions about how to support teaching excellence. As such, this article illustrates the positive effects of enabling faculty priorities to guide change.

Introspection at Emory by Susan H. Frost, Emory Report, 2003, April 7.

This informal essay provides some background on Emory’s distinct intellectual culture and tradition of faculty interaction, and describes how the university used institutional research to help develop new academic programs and activities.

Using Scholarship: Lessons for Practice at One University by Susan H. Frost, Research in Higher Education, 1998, 39(2), 219-233.

This essay draws together ideas by some of the top scholars in higher education research — Jonathan Cole, Henry Mintzberg, Robert Kegan, James Bess, and Patrick Terenzini – with the author’s experiences at Emory University. The findings reveal much about academic collaboration in this country today.

Susan’s work in academic advising and student success is also nationally recognized.

See Susan’s vita for a complete list of her publications.