The Insider's Guide to Working with Universities

Practical Insights for Board Members, Businesspeople, Entrepreneurs, Philanthropists, Alumni, Parents, and Administrators

By James W. Dean Jr., Deborah Y. Clarke

216 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 7 drawings, 14 halftones, 1 graph, 7 tables, appends., notes, index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5341-9
    Published: September 2019
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-5342-6
    Published: August 2019
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5752-1
    Published: August 2019

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit
Colleges and universities stand to benefit greatly when businesspeople engage with them, whether through governing boards, alumni associations, consulting arrangements, philanthropy, or other channels. But many businesspeople are frustrated by the way institutions of higher education work--or rather, how they don't work. Why do decisions in universities take so long and involve so many people? Why aren't profit and growth top priorities for colleges? Why can't the faculty be managed like any other employees? Shouldn't alumni have a greater say as they continue to invest in their alma mater?


As leaders in higher education, James W. Dean Jr. and Deborah Y. Clarke have years of experience addressing these questions for a wide range of professionals outside the academy. This book draws on their expertise to offer real-world guidance for businesspeople who work with and seek to improve colleges and universities. Dean and Clarke differentiate and clarify the motivations and structures that make universities unique among American enterprises. And while they acknowledge the challenges that businesspeople often face when working with academic institutions, they explain that understanding the distinct mission of higher education is essential to being able to effect change within these organizations. Presenting insights from interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, Dean and Clarke give succinct and practical advice for working with universities.

About the Authors

James W. Dean Jr., Ph.D., is president of the University of New Hampshire.
For more information about James W. Dean Jr., visit the Author Page.

Deborah Y. Clarke, Ed.D., works in the Office of the Provost at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about Deborah Y. Clarke, visit the Author Page.


"This book does an excellent job of educating businesspeople and others on how colleges and universities work—a much-needed primer on higher education for those who may be experiencing it for the first time as something other than a student. As someone who manages a university board, I can say that this is one of the best resources I've encountered in my thirty years in higher education." —Graham Stewart, associate vice chancellor for alumni relations, Vanderbilt University

"James Dean and Deborah Clarke have written a must-read for newly appointed trustees of university and college boards. By bringing together their deep understanding of the business and mission of academic institutions, they have identified the key sources of creative tension—and a board that can not only manage but also leverage that tension ultimately will be positioning its institution for success." —Mari Kuraishi, president, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, and cofounder, GlobalGiving