Service and Leadership: Provost looks back on first 100 days
|This in the seventh in an occasional series highlighting the unique educational environment at The Citadel. "Service and Leadership" will profile people and events that exemplify "The Citadel Experience," its leadership laboratory and the college's mission of achieving excellence in the education of principled leaders.|
Sam Hines came to The Citadel after 33 years at the in-town rival the College of Charleston. He started work July 1 as provost and dean of the college, and it’s been non-stop since he set foot in Bond Hall for the first time.
We asked Gen. Hines to reflect on his first 100 days on campus.
You’ve been in Charleston a while and you were comfortable in your position at the College of Charleston. You had your battle rhythm there, so to speak, after so many years. What was it that prompted you to make such a big change in your career path and come to The Citadel, which is admittedly a very different kind of college?
I had held many different positions at the College of Charleston and really enjoyed my work there. But the challenge of becoming a provost at The Citadel was very compelling. I had been a finalist once before for the job and was flattered to be asked to reconsider by the search consultant. Once I had the opportunity to meet General Rosa and other members of the leadership team, Board of Visitors, and The Citadel Foundation and saw the potential for me both to learn and grow professionally and to bring a fresh perspective to The Citadel’s team, I was committed to taking on the job of provost. The challenge of being the chief operating officer, working with a seasoned chief executive officer, was just what I wanted at this point in my higher education career. I have not been disappointed.
What have you learned about The Citadel or what stands out about your first 100 days as provost and dean of the college?
One cannot help but be impressed by the loyalty and dedication of the faculty and staff and the accomplishments of the Corps of Cadets. I have been so impressed by the “added value” that cadets receive from their Citadel education. The honor system, the Krause Leadership Initiative and the leadership development model, the esprit de corps, and the singular achievements of the cadets who have received so many major post-graduate awards and recognition have really impressed me favorably. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to teach next year so that I can get to know some of the cadets better. They are what we are all about.
We hear you wanted to be a spy at one point in your career. How did you end up becoming an academic?
When I graduated from Davidson College in June of 1968, I was commissioned as an Army second lieutenant and intended to go into Army intelligence. I immediately went to work at the Central Intelligence Agency. Because my father worked for the CIA I had worked several summers there during college and thought I would follow in my father’s footsteps. But I also applied to Duke University for a doctoral program in political science. As my dad, my fiancé, and I talked about my options over the summer I gradually decided that I really wanted to be a prof, not a spook. I still maintained my interest in Russian and Soviet studies, but at Duke rather than at the CIA.
How have you acclimated to the unique educational environment at The Citadel? Has it been a tough transition?
Actually, it’s not been a difficult transition at all. I was part of the leadership of my ROTC unit at Davidson and graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate and was inducted into Scabbard and Blade, the military honor society. I had anticipated serving my military duty with the CIA and so the military environment had once been a career path I almost chose. I find the organizational structure and the desire for rational administration to be very appealing. I’ve also benefited tremendously from the help I’ve received from my predecessor, Harry Carter, and from the other members of the senior staff, especially Col. Joe Trez. Along with Gen. Rosa they have made my transition as smooth as I could have hoped for. There is a real sense of teamwork among the college’s leadership and that is so critical to our ability to realize our goal of producing principled leaders.
What is your take on leadership development and training at The Citadel? It is a cornerstone of “The Citadel Experience” but may be very different from what you experienced at the College of Charleston and is probably unlike what can be found at other state colleges.
So far I am very impressed with the changes that have been introduced over the past two years through the efforts of Commandant Greg Stone, and his team and Col. Jeff Weart’s efforts to implement fully the leadership programs associated with the Krause Leadership Initiative. The cumulative experience that cadets receive through their cadet training with the cadre, the Values and Respect Program, ROTC training, and other programmatic elements of the leadership development model is very powerful and has the potential to establish our overall program for leadership development as a national model. There is nothing comparable to the combined effect of all these elements in higher education outside of a military college or service academy. This environment is very challenging and demands a great deal of the individual cadet, but the potential benefits in building character, confidence, and real leadership skills are very exciting and offer students a tremendous opportunity to leave the institution with a very real sense that they can handle any challenge they may face.
What leadership lessons have you learned in your life that would be worth sharing with cadets as they make their way through their Citadel experience?
During his first year Hines is doing a lot of listening- - trying to hear the story of The Citadel from all its constituencies, whether its faculty, staff, cadets, alumni, or friends.
I believe that the single most important leadership lesson that I have learned is that leadership is about helping others succeed. Whether we talk about “selfless leadership,” “servant leadership,” or in terms of “we,” not “I,” it really boils down to the fact that a leader will be judged on his or her ability to accomplish goals that require a team effort. Leaders do not exist without followers, and together, they can accomplish far more than anyone can accomplish individually.
The other lesson I have learned is that the best leaders are always engaged in developing the ability of others to step into their leadership role. Knowing that you are not the only one who can be an effective leader helps you look for the potential in others to lead. The best leaders want to be surrounded by talented people who will challenge them- - not sycophants who will seek to curry favor. You cannot lead without gaining as much knowledge, insight, and intelligence as possible, and you need others who are willing to tell you what you need to know, even if it is hard to hear. Finally, there is the challenge of follow-through or implementation. The best of ideas means very little if it isn’t translated into meaningful action. You must execute the best laid plans if you’re going to succeed.
What do you want to accomplish as The Citadel’s provost and dean of the college?
I want to make a difference in improving our academic programs overall and in particular our leadership programs. I also want to extend the leadership theme into the faculty and staff areas so that we can identify those who are capable and interested in assuming more leadership responsibilities in various areas.
Among the academic programs, I’m particularly interested in international education and want to expand the opportunities for the cadets to study abroad and to study topics that are especially relevant to the complex, interdependent world in which we live today. To that end, I’ll be creating a study group led by faculty and staff to review where we are and where we hope to be in international education. That group will bring forward a report and recommendations next fall to guide us as we undertake to strengthen what already exists and open new opportunities.
I also want to help build our institutional capacity to plan and implement the policies and programs that help us achieve our goals and realize our vision to be a pre-eminent leadership university. We are currently recruiting for several key positions and Gen. Rosa and I are eager to assemble an even stronger leadership team with the hiring of those individuals. In the highly competitive environment of higher education today we must secure the best talent available if we are to be successful as an institution. There is a great opportunity through The Citadel Graduate College to expand our graduate program offerings to support the professional development needs in the larger community. I’m eager to identify and pursue those areas where we can make a difference by creating new programs for which there is demonstrable demand and thereby support the economic development of the region.
So what’s on tap for your next 100 days and beyond?
During my first year I’m doing a lot of listening- - trying to hear the story of The Citadel from all its constituencies, whether its faculty, staff, cadets, alumni, or friends. So I will continue to do that over the next 100 days. We’ve been involved in reaccreditation reviews for education (NCATE), and athletics (NCAA) and now an initial review for Computer Science (ABET). Thus far we are doing quite well in these site visits and I expect we will receive very positive outcomes over the course of the academic year. There’s much work to do on becoming more strategic in our thinking and operational processes as the senior leadership of the college working with the BOV seeks to position the college for long-range success. Over the next 100 days we’ll be preparing for the next BOV meeting and working with The Citadel Foundation to develop our strategies going forward. Over the next couple of months we’ll also be making some very important hiring decisions in the critical areas of external affairs and communications, facilities and engineering, and in the office of the provost. I’ll be very much involved in those recruitment efforts.
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