Wednesday, May 17, 2017
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For one, you don’t have tenure when you are an administrator. You serve at the pleasure of the dean, the provost, or the president, and you can be fired at any time for any reason, or even for no reason at all. For this reason, you might be wise to insist on retaining a tenured position in your department before you make the switch to administration, just so that you have something to fall back on if your administrative job gets too rough, if money gets too tight, or if too many higher-ups get pissed at you.
As an administrator, you will probably have to deal with continual budget cuts, where in each quarter or semester you will be forced to do more and more with less and less. You will have to deal with angry faculty members, who are upset at not getting any raises as well as having to pay more for their medical benefits and having to pay higher deductibles and copays.
With each passing month, you will find that you are thinking less and less like an academic, and more and more like a corporate executive, where everything gets reduced to an issue about money.
You will probably have to spend a lot of time in strictly ceremonial duties, where you spend so much time on the rubber chicken circuit that your family will forget what you look like.
You will have to enforce every silly rule or regulation forced on your institution by the accreditors, by the government, or by the deans. When your faculty members come to see you, it is usually to complain about various irritants, and there is probably very little you can do about them . You will find that you are responding to these complaints by spouting slogans and platitudes, where your faculty members will probably feel that they are talking to a bumper sticker. Pretty soon, your faculty members will start regarding you as the enemy, and some will even start to hate you. If this happens, it will be time to bail.
You need to make sure that you don’t embarrass your institution by making any awkward public pronouncements or by making any improper tweets. As an administrator, you have no academic freedom, and if you become an embarrassment, you can be quickly thrown under the bus.
Can you deal with all this? If so, an increased salary and the possibility of future advancement and promotion may be attractive to you.
The answer needs to be good enough to convince yourself that it is a good, long-term decision and it needs to be even better to convince the search committee (for some level jobs) or the hiring authority (for lower level jobs) to take you on. At that point, all of Dean Dad's suggestions are good ones. You need experience, and you need to avoid making "The One Thing Never to Say" mistakes along the way.
Have you looked at advertised positons, or even the position descriptions (and salary) for currently-filled jobs that haver your attention, both where you currently work or a nearby CC or within commuting distance? How about nationally or regionally? That will tell you if you are even qualified for the jobs you seek.
There really isn't enough information in the tweet to give more specific advice. Are you leaving a tenured position? That is quite a risk, as noted above. Even senior people get fired on a whim when a new President or Provost (or both) gets hired every three to five years. Buying a home is not advisable. And if you are not in a tenured position, your status as a long-term contract professor or denied-tenure assistant professor does not match up well with jobs on the academic side of administration unless you have proven skills dealing with outcomes assessment or other accreditation-related bureaucratic necessities or perhaps distance learning programs that got in the way of promotion at your current university.
Remember that taking a step down in prestige (in your view) offers no guarantee that you will be viewed favorably by that school. There are more budget constraints at CCs, so you could do better looking a universities that are more prestigious than your current school. They are the ones getting budget increases to fund all sorts of student success (tutoring or advising) or research success (probably not relevant to your situation) or athletic success (tutoring and babysitting) initiatives.
What is your field? For some areas, like the social sciences, you might already have the qualifications for some jobs on the student services side of the operations at your university or a CC if, and it could be a big if, there are openings at an appropriate entry level nearby. For others, the relevant skills you might have will not help if you don't have the experience and/or degree required.
What are your salary expectations? I am well aware of the fact that tenured faculty at some 4-year teaching schools make less than faculty at CCs, but most CC administrative jobs pay less than any faculty position. Getting entry-level experience on the alt-ac side of the house could be "expensive" unless you can do it without moving. Only upper-level jobs, ones that require experience, pay more. Most staff positions at my CC pay less than the local median wage. Private businesses may offer better opportunities!