Joanne Glasser

President, Bradley University

I served as president of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky, for six years before coming to Bradley in 2007 as the University’s tenth and first woman president. Prior to leading EKU, I served as executive vice president and chief advancement officer at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, and as an attorney and labor commissioner for the Baltimore County government.

I am a graduate of George Washington University and the University of Maryland School of Law, and I have a certificate from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education Institute for Higher Education Management in Boston. I am a native of Baltimore and the mother of an adult son and daughter who bring me great joy and are the focal point of my life.

I serve as chair of the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification; as a member of the Board of Directors: Division I Presidential Advisory Group; and as a member of the Commission on Women in Higher Education Task Force and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

A firm believer that education is the best pathway to fulfilling dreams and future achievement, I enjoy sharing the excitement of reading with children in neighborhood schools. Every month I visit a primary school and read aloud from a timeless classic or an amazing contemporary book.

Two years after arriving at Bradley, I was drafted into a club that I did not choose to join. Along with hundreds of thousands of women diagnosed each year, I learned that I had breast cancer. As a breast cancer survivor, I am passionate about promoting breast cancer screening and prevention and avidly support the Komen Foundation and the Peoria Race for the Cure.

Major Accomplishments of 2011
During 2011, Bradley continued to experience extraordinarily positive change, in and out of the classroom. The Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance, the largest comprehensive capital campaign in the University’s history, raised more than $161 million, exceeding the $150 million goal. The success of the campaign includes an investment in people and programs and the remaking of the west side of our campus. Most recently, we completed the construction of the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center, the new home for our alumni, featuring a Hall of Pride that highlights Bradley’s rich and long history.

Beyond useful and beautiful facilities, the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance is fundamentally about people—faculty, students and alumni who through their scholarship, teaching or volunteering make the world a better place. Our greatest asset is the Bradley family and the campaign’s remarkable success that underscores this commitment to the community.

Our students and faculty will benefit greatly from new academic and programmatic offerings, including 79 new scholarships, for decades to come. Future students will find a Bradley education more accessible and more enriching because of this hallmark campaign.

The generosity of our alumni, faculty, staff and friends was immense. I am profoundly grateful that so many people unselfishly gave to the betterment of humankind by providing for a Bradley education.

This year the University also developed several new opportunities to promote student success and career competitiveness. The University opened a new pre-health advising center, building on our pre-law center, and will begin an exciting program in January in which students will study with industry professionals for a semester in Hollywood.

A Bradley sophomore won the individual national forensics championship, enhancing our reputation that includes 37 national team championships and 133 individual titles. Ten Bradley students secured internships with NBC for the 2012 London Olympics. In 2011, Bradley students contributed 47,000 hours of community service and volunteered for more than 200 local agencies.

The University continues to be recognized for its high academic quality, excellent value and distinctiveness in U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges, The Princeton Review, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Entrepreneur magazine, and Colleges of Distinction.

Bradley received the annual Outstanding Volunteer Group Award from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's leading grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists; the award came after I served as the honorary chair of the Peoria Race for the Cure. I am also involved in various community activities, including serving on the fundraising committee for the 21st annual Easter Seals Tribute Dinner. I was deeply honored to receive the Peoria YWCA Education and Care of Children Award this year, and Bradley’s Megan Fong Inspiration Award last year.

 

What is your leadership philosophy? Leadership is both a passion and a highly skilled craft that is continuously fine-tuned and challenged on a daily basis.

Through the centuries, great leaders—men and women alike—have led with passion and conviction and inspired others along the way. If leaders are without passion, there will be little in the way of personal or professional satisfaction. And if a leader does not have passion for an organization’s mission and vision, it is unlikely that others will.

A leader is most effective heading an organization that shares
his or her core values, beliefs and goals. A leader and an organization must be a good fit for optimal progress and ambitious achievement. Personally, I could only serve as a leader within an organization that seeks to make a positive impact in the lives of others and to change the world for the better. Integrity—the heart, conscience and
true essence of a person—is the core value that I consider as the gold standard.

Other traits of a good leader are the ability to take personal responsibility, give credit to others, and develop creative collaborative teams to multiply successes across an organization.

A strong leader cares deeply and shows concern and compassion for people at all levels within an organization. And ultimately, the first and last responsibility of a leader is to give hope and deliver a positive message with energy in challenging as well as good times.

I am at heart an optimist and see potential and opportunity for greatness even when faced with immense difficulty. Personally, excellence is a goal that I see as a continuous journey and I encourage others to join me in its pursuit.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming female professionals? Education is key—live up to your potential and appreciate the life of the mind even after you have earned your degree. I also encourage students and young female professionals to explore careers for which they have a keen passion. Speak with those in positions for which you aspire and make them part of your professional network. Learn from both the successes and failure of others. Failure may be the best teacher in preparation for life’s biggest challenges.

I have been fortunate to receive sound career advice at various points along the way. It’s important in both your personal and professional life to listen closely and process what is being said. This is especially true if you have solicited the opinions and sage advice of trusted colleagues and friends.

Treat people the way you want to be treated. Respect and appreciate others who are different from you, for they will enrich your life. Remember not to take everything too seriously, keep stressful situations in perspective with a sense of humor, stay calm and carry on!
 
Is there still a glass ceiling for women in 2011? From corporate boards to Wall Street, women are not represented as well as they should be. The glass ceiling persists for women in 2011 in terms of position, promotion and salary. Although there has been some progress made since the time I entered law school, we need to increase opportunities for qualified and talented women who can perform at the level of their male counterparts.

Successful women can be important role models and mentors to other women climbing the corporate ladder and can make a profound difference in their career mobility. This and a changing mindset within organizations at the top to hire and promote the best performer, regardless of gender, will have a powerful impact.

I remain hopeful that our intelligence, valuable contributions and abundant creativity will be recognized in the decades to come when solutions to our complex global problems will be most needed.

How has your organization adjusted to recent changes in the business climate? Global higher education has never been more competitive than it is today. Colleges and universities must be both strategic in decision making and highly innovative in attracting quality students and faculty, building and enhancing their institutional reputation and developing solid and meaningful relationships with alumni and other key constituencies.

We continue to hire the best faculty who join our already distinguished group of scholars, teachers and researchers. We have strengthened our physical infrastructure by building and renovating several facilities on the west side of our campus that rival those of any college and university. Bradley has also introduced several new academic programs to meet the needs and interests of our students and marketplace demands.

In all that we do and all that we are, we strive to distinguish our institution in delivering a world-class education that links academic excellence, experiential learning and leadership development. iBi

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