Nathan Harris is one of the tenure-track faculty members in the Educational Leadership department at Warner. Harris studies colleges and universities as complex organizations, specifically the stresses and pressures that senior administrators confront. Senior administrators are expected to manage budgets, academic quality, nurture and stimulate a safe environment for students, recruit inspired top faculty, and develop and deepen relationships within their communities all while raising money. Harris’ experience in management consulting was his first encounter with the complexities of higher education organizational structure – working with diverse individuals that have competing and diverging interests for institutions. He is fascinated by exploring the parameters of organization theory and how the organizations work within the realm of higher education. The most fascinating of these parameters is how deans make sense of their complex role within the systems of leadership and governance as it relates to ethical systems and cultures and the role athletics plays in helping presidents shape their agenda and vision for their institution.
In the past year and a half, Harris has discovered the familial and bonds that define Warner and the University of Rochester, giving it the feel of a small liberal arts college while being a well-respected research university. He has found that the students in the Higher Education program find a passion for rich conversations; the classroom is a place where Ed.D. and Ph.D. students can deepen their understanding of the field while Master’s students engage with the Ed.D. and Ph.D. students and the class material to interpret the world around them as they build on initial experiences.
Being from Bellaire, Michigan, Harris finds Rochester to have the small town feel he’s used to with all the amenities of a larger city. The cost of living in Rochester is fairly cheap, with stress-free commutes, and is a friendly place with many familiar faces. Within the U of R community, the Eastman School of Music offers many concerts for no charge with a school ID, there are a variety of sports venues and teams located in the local area, malls, and dependable airports that are not as costly or inconvenient as other airports.
Harris’ advice for prospective students is to invest the time in thinking about a range of things you’re interested in, having a plan of where you want to go throughout the program and what careers you would be interested in pursuing. It is also important to think about what piqued your interest and how you can build on this passion to be a part of a long-term career path. Writing is a large part of the coursework so being willing to develop and engage with your ideas and material in a meaningful way will be crucial to your success.