Factors CAOs Consider to Remain in Their Positions

In June 2022, ACAO partnered with the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to study the longevity of Provosts in their positions. The resulting study led to a research paper.

Factors Chief Academic Officers Consider in Deciding Whether to Remain in Their Positions


Shelley B. Wepner, Manhattanville College, William A. Henk, Marquette University Emeritus, Heba S. Ali, Marquette University

The average length of service for a CAO is 4.6 years, which is briefer than a President’s average term of 6.7 years (Clayton, 2019). Along with Deans and Directors of Schools and College of Education, CAOs have the highest turnover rate (Higher Education Publications, 2018) because it is considered one of the most difficult jobs on college and university campuses (Carlson, 2019; Clayton, 2019; Jaschik, 2018). Some CAOs continue to serve in these challenging roles notably longer than the average term of office, while others fall short of this average (Bartanen, 2019).

This wide variation begs the question of what factors contribute to chief academic officers’ interest and ability to remain in their administrative positions beyond relatively brief periods of time.

For the full study, CLICK HERE

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