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Leadership in Abundance


Leadership Approach

Unity Environmental University leaders need access to information and personnel need access to decision-makers. A flatter administrative structure allows day-to-day realities to better influence strategic decisions. One-on-one relationships between students, faculty, and staff are central to the Unity’s value proposition. A more horizontal organization helps establish students at the heart of the University and keeps executive administration closer to that heart. A flatter organization also makes sure that there are opportunities to develop leadership at all levels of the organization, creating the right conditions for leadership in abundance.

Unity Environmental University expects empowered and accountable leadership.

Functional leadership is an approach that leans heavily on a team of mutually invested senior leaders. Rather than identifying a leader’s role by reporting lines, in a functional leadership model senior leaders are identified by their area(s) of primary functional responsibility. The senior level team shares overall responsibility for meeting strategic institutional goals, establishing campus culture, managing risk, and—most importantly—stewarding the mission of the University.

Within the senior leadership team, individuals serve as first among equals or chief officer in a given functional area of primary responsibility. The language of “chief officer” is familiar in the role of “Chief Academic Officer” and “Chief Financial Officer.” Chief officer is not a rank; it is a role.

The leadership team may have deans working with directors as first among equals. Different rank, parallel role.

A first among equals approach means being responsive to changing conditions; an individual’s capacity to serve will, at times, seem to stretch the boundaries of a strict job description in order to place project and need above reporting structure. First among equals means shared successes and shared failures. Celebrations are inclusive. Challenges, vulnerabilities, and mistakes are treated with transparency.