Peter Eckel

Senior Fellow and Director of Leadership Programs

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania


Professional Biography

Peter Eckel’s two-decade career as a scholar/practitioner focuses on understanding and strengthening higher education administration, management and governance. He has served as Vice President for Programs and Research at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and held several positions at the American Council on Education (ACE), including ending his tenure there as Director of the Center for Effective Leadership.

Eckel has worked with hundreds of college, university and state system administrators, faculty and trustees on issues such transformational change; student learning and educational quality; diversity; academic leadership; presidential transitions; academic joint ventures/partnerships; internationalization; shared governance; institutional entrepreneurialism; administrative teamwork; and effective trusteeship.  He led AGB’s National Conference on Trusteeship and developed its offerings for international trustees and leaders. He created AGB’s presidential agenda to strengthen presidential leadership through effective governance, and led the design of AGB’s Institute for Public University Presidents and Board Leaders. At ACE, he was the founding director of the ACE Institute for New Chief Academic Officers, the Advancing to the Presidency Workshop, the CAO-CBO Strategic Partnership workshop, and the ACE Presidential Roundtable Series. 

He additionally serves as trustee at the University of La Verne (CA), leading efforts on revitalizing the academic affairs and governance committees, and establishing the new enrollment management and marketing committee.

Research Interests and Current Projects

His scholarship focuses on the organizational dynamics of colleges and universities, higher education’s changing context, and governance and leadership.

His books include:

He has written 24 nationally disseminated papers, including Presidential Leadership in an Age of TransitionFinding the Right Prescription for Higher Education’s Ills: Can Health Care Provide Answers?; and ACE’s On Change series. He was the lead author of ACE’s The CAO Census, the first national study of chief academic officers and AGB’s first national study of presidents on their boards. His papers have appeared in Trusteeship, Change Magazine, the Journal of Higher Education, the Review of Higher Education, and Higher Education Policy, among others.