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A college president has a demanding job that requires a broad skill set. A college president has a wide variety of duties relating to administration, academics, development, public relations, and alumni. Depending on the size and stature of the college, a president may have more or less administrative/academic duties or development/public relations duties, but all college presidents are expected to represent their institution at important social and civic events.
As the chief executive officer a college president is the main liaison between the board of trustees and the administration of the college. She will likely be involved in a number of high-level administrative decisions like search committees for major new hires, expansion of facilities and major fund-raising. At smaller colleges the president might even be involved in more day-to-day affairs like budgeting or significant personnel decisions.
While the deans of the various academic departments bear the greatest responsibility for academics in most colleges, the president will often have input on some level, whether it is a final approval or appointing members to a committee to make a final decision on a subject.
Development and Public Relations Responsibilities
A college president is likely to spend a good bit of his time and efforts on development and public relations activities. These kind of public-facing responsibilities are the most important part of a president's duties in larger colleges, as fund-raising for endowments is essential at many institutions.
Social and Civic Responsibilities
A college president (and her spouse) will also have a number of social and civic responsibilities, from greeting VIPs and dignitaries at functions to hosting holiday parties or other events. It is even possible that local political lobbying is part of the job.
Pay and Benefits
According to MySalary.com, the median annual salary for a college president in the U.S. is $240,356. College presidents (and their families) also get a lot of perks. A complete benefits package including insurance, several weeks of paid vacation, and good retirement benefits is typical, and a wide range of other perks are possible depending on the institution (ranging from free housing to tickets to big sporting or social events).
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Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.