Described as one of the toughest jobs in America, Roger Martin, former Harvard dean, writes about the triumphs and disappointments, defeats and victories of his first year as the president of a small liberal arts college in the Northeast. He deals with tight budgets, challenging enrollments, a restive faculty and staff, and a spirited student body all while juggling the responsibilities of home and family. We receive added insight from Susan Martin who, after a successful professional career, takes on the ill-defined responsibilities of a president’s spouse. The book is simultaneously serious and funny and gives the reader a feeling for what it takes to manage a complex institution of higher education. For those seeking to be college presidents themselves, the book provides a useful appendix on what to ask for when finally hired and negotiating a contract.
Roger Martin served for 20 years as president of two liberal arts colleges, Moravian college in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. Before this, he was an administrator and faculty member at Middlebury College and Harvard Divinity School. Today, Dr. Martin serves on the Board of Education in Mamaroneck, New York and is senior consultant with R. H. Perry & Associates, an executive search firm in higher education where he does searches for colleges and university presidents. He is the author of Racing Odysseus, a College President Becomes a Freshman Again (University of California Press: 2008) and Off to College: A guide for Parents (University of Chicago Press: 2015).