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What is a College Chancellor?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A college chancellor generally reports to a college or university president and works with his staff and the board of trustees. The position often requires that she interact with faculty members, deans and vice chancellors of the institution. A chancellor may also serve as the liaison with local and regional governments. She often works closely with a multitude of people to monitor campus conditions and to formulate policies and make decisions aimed at mutually benefiting the college and the community.

A college chancellor benefits from strong leadership skills, as the job may entail participation in debates involving curricula, faculty salaries, budget policies and academic procedures. She may also be expected to establish and maintain strong ties with the college’s metropolitan community as a whole. This normally involves regular interaction with cultural and educational institutions. The college chancellor is often viewed as the most influential college contact by social and philanthropic groups. She is regularly approached by leaders of the industrial and governmental sectors.

Because of her stature in the community, the college chancellor’s job can be challenging and time-consuming. It also may demand a great deal of tact and diplomacy, as she is tries to balance college and community demands. The college she represents is expected to simultaneously concentrate on educational goals and significantly contribute to the cultural, sociological and fiscal well-being of the community.

When a college chancellor is not meeting with community leaders or fine-tuning the curriculum, she is often busy researching funding sources to finance the needs of the school and the local residents. The chancellor typically is required to work toward keeping the college operating at a profit while increasing its educational standards and expanding academic programs. These goals often require creative solutions. Incorporating municipal benefits for the community compounds the challenge.

A successful college chancellor is generally required to have an exemplary track record in research coupled with superior academic and intellectual credentials. Her leadership and character may be regularly scrutinized, and she is generally expected to have strong achievements in her personal and professional background.

Her extensive interaction with the academic and municipal communities requires top-notch oral and written communication skills. Creative negotiating skills are highly desirable, as is an entrepreneurial spirit in raising money for the college and community. The ability to juggle multiple projects without compromising goals or interests is a great asset.

The college chancellor’s job can be rewarding, though it requires long hours and incredible tenacity in addressing educational and community issues. Successful college chancellors are commonly honored by their peers and contemporaries for their stamina, integrity and noble dedication to excellence.

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Discussion Comments
By turquoise — On May 17, 2011

I think that the college chancellor's most important duty is university policies. They do have a wide range of responsibilities, but they can also delegate some of that work to vice chancellors.

I think, the main responsibilities are policy changes, overseeing vice-chancellor's work and of course, working with the President and taking care of work he or she requests.

By serenesurface — On May 15, 2011

Wow, that sounds like a lot of work!

How is a College Chancellor selected? Does the College Dean make the decision or is there a group of people who decide together?

Do the students or community leaders have any say in it?

By anon120934 — On Oct 22, 2010

I'm surprised this article refers to the Chancellor as a "she" I'm sure a man could perform these duties. I'm sure men are in these positions. To be politically correct, you need to change this as not to offend anyone. Otherwise I thought it was a good article good information.

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