In this profound look at the academy, John Bennett reminds us that our leadership decisions always presuppose our philosophies of life and that understanding precedes practice. How we understand the communities we lead informs the many practical judgments we make about directions to take, structures to create, processes to initiate, and values to uphold. Bennett argues that faculty may understand their departments or institutions in one of two ways: as simply aggregations of individuals or as communities of intertwined persons. From these views, two different leadership values and positions emerge. The first disposes us toward seeing academic conflict as inevitable and elevates heroic leadership styles where power is understood in terms of advancing one agenda over competitors. The second underwrites leadership as supposing openness to others and emphasizes the vital contributions that can follow. By providing specific illustrations of the two modes of leadership and the nature of hospitality and openness, Academic Life presents a strong platform from which to build a rich and rewarding academic community. Contents include: The nature of insistent individualism Why the prevalence of insistent individualism? Hospitality as an essential virtue Self, others, institutions, and the common good Conversation as an essential metaphor The uses of conversation Community and covenant Engaged, but not heroic, leadership John B. Bennett is former Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Quinnipiac University.