Monday, May 26, 2014
Ask the Administrator: Resources for New Department Chairs
I was just appointed the Department Chair position for my medium sizeddepartment starting this summer. Would you recommend any good books onbeing a chair? I see several specific to the Department Chair role -- is there a specific one you would recommend to start with? I should note I am at a large community college (about an hour and a half away from yours) and am a long time professor moving up
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For example, if you want to discuss victim-bullying, I think a good case can be made for the Ohio University denial of tenure to Bill Reader as a classic example. Introducing the case in a discussion with a dean or fellow chairs BEFORE you have an instant case would be healthy, and I've often used such "distal cases" to discuss core issues -- my comments on Reader are at http://shermandorn.com/wordpress/?p=1786 and I also recommend Bob Sutton's at http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/01/the-no-asshole-rule-versus-compassion-for-the-mentally-ill.html
My only additional advice for an incoming chair is to learn the administrivia. If you've been sheltered from the nuts and bolts of scheduling, of accreditation (and your accreditor's version of both faculty credentialing and assessment), of your institution's financial reporting system, etc. -- get unsheltered as soon as possible. Pick one new system to learn every two weeks. Find a staff member/professional who can guide you through it. Listen: you'll both learn things and make a friend who will assuredly be essential to solving an arcane problem within six months.
Ten Tough Realities of Academic Administration by Juston C. Pate
If you accept this as a given, it would be much easier to deal with the daily rough 'n tumble. Good luck!
I can't be the only person who wants to read this.