I read a recent article in Inside Higher Ed on Kenneth Starr being unanimously voted to be chancellor of Baylor University. Yes, the same Ken Starr of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky fame. Yes, the same University that has had a revolving door at president with more votes of no confidence by faculty to past leaders than the U.S. Congress. How could this be true when all you read is how faculties are forcing out presidents across the country?
No one would question Mr. Starr’s ability, but his world view is antithetical to most faculty members. Oil and water, dogs and cats, impossible. What is his secret?
According to the faculty, Mr. Starr never misses an opportunity to be thankful for their service. He is effective, collegial, and supportive. He is unflaggingly polite and considerate. He values a loyal opposition and lively debate. He is not put off by other views. He has a redemptive nature, even when being critical.
Mr. Starr is walking proof that Service Excellence is effective and adaptive to Higher Ed. He has created a culture of service excellence starting at the top. The descriptions of his actions could be your service standards: responsive, effective, collegial, and supportive. Maybe pigs do fly, Ken Starr was unanimously voted chancellor of Baylor by the faculty and Service Excellence works in Higher Ed. This is a testament to what we have in common and what are agreed upon mutual goals vs. what are our differences.
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