Colleges: Picking Presidents

Nearly 300 college presidencies in the U.S. are vacant this year—which suggests that the nation desperately needs a pool of skilled academic administrators. In the past, the grooming of college chief executives has often owed as much to chance as choice—a reluctant professor unexpectedly does well when his department's revolving chairmanship is thrust upon him, a dean displays a special talent for public relations or fund raising, a learned Government official wants an academic post.

One promising way of taking the guesswork out of presidential promotions is the internship program sponsored by...

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