April 13, 2020

Randy Helm was President of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA from 2003 -2015, and Interim Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth from 2016-2017.  He is a founding principal of Torrey Helm, LLC.

  1. Never ever criticize your predecessor to anyone but your spouse, dog, or cat....

This spring, as the pandemic hit our country with astonishing speed and force, colleges and universities (with one conspicuous exception) responded swiftly, decisively, creatively, and in keeping with their deepest values. Within a period of days (which must have seeme...

Note from Randy Helm:  I believe that the true character of individuals and institutions is best revealed by how they respond in times of crisis.  This recent letter to the Colby College community from Colby's President David Greene, seems like a powerful illustration...

It was fun for me to walk down memory lane and look at the things that I jotted down--and sometimes talked publicly about--as I was leaving the Denison presidency.  It's been helpful to dust some of them off as I carry on in the interim president role at Southwestern.

1...

This is the first in a series of blogposts by seasoned college and university presidents sharing their best advice for new presidents and chancellors. 

  • Stay student focused.  Everything we do should be about the experience the student is receiving.  If we are making...

I was president of a small residential liberal arts college during a period which saw the SARS outbreak, the Swine Flu epidemic, the financial meltdown of 2008-2010, the active shooter anxieties that followed the Virginia Tech massacre, a minor earthquake, and several...

Searching for a great Chief Advancement Officer? Maybe you already have one, but need a Chief Operating Officer for Advancement. Or maybe it’s vice versa.  It’s a rare person who can handle both jobs at once.

So what do you need?  A fundraiser or a manager?  That’s...

This has been a tough summer for college and university presidents.  An unusual number (perhaps half a dozen) have had their sudden departures announced after relatively short tenures in office (2-4 years).  The announcements have been carefully phrased to put a positi...

June 26, 2019

Assuming your institution is on the typical July 1 to June 30 fiscal year, you have two business days left before the books are closed on FY’19.  What should you be doing RIGHT NOW?

If you’re the VP for Advancement, you should have date-to-date comparisons for the num...

June 12, 2019

I know, I know. We live in an age of political gridlock, partisan polarization, diminished expectations, and cynicism about once respected institutions.  But what if?  What if, as a country, we gave ourselves a good talking to and resolved to do better? How could highe...

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Our Recent Posts

Randy Helm was President of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA from 2003 -2015, and Interim Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth from 2016-2017.  He is a fo...

What New Presidents (and Chancellors) Need to Know (Chapter 3)

April 13, 2020

This spring, as the pandemic hit our country with astonishing speed and force, colleges and universities (with one conspicuous exception) responded sw...

Known Unknowns: Covid-19 and the Academy

April 12, 2020

Note from Randy Helm:  I believe that the true character of individuals and institutions is best revealed by how they respond in times of crisis.  Thi...

Exemplary Leadership in a time of Crisis

March 27, 2020

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