Managing a Department
Managing a department is very different from managing your own academic career. As the head or chair of a department, it is your job to prepare budgets, allocate resources, help resolve problems, evaluate your colleagues, and more. Unless you had a previous career in management, you'll be learning many of these skills on the fly. The resources and references below can help.
- Academic Leader is an online newsletter for academic deans and department chairs.
- Managing a Career Versus Managing a Program or Department
This article, from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List, addresses the challenges inherent in making the transition from managing one's own career to managing a department or program. The author describes several common, incorrect assumptions new chairs make, and suggests alternative points of view.
- Suggestions for Making Chair Work More Satisfying and Attractive
This article, also from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List, offers a number of suggestions for strategies to reduce the workload of being a department chair and its impact on one's other responsibilities.
Managing Budgets and Physical Resources
- Managing Tight Budgets
This article, from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List, offers strategies that chairs can employ to successfully meet department revenue needs with tight budgets.
- One Geoscience department chair who saw department members engaging in uncivil behavior toward each other wrote a Decorum Policy for the department.
In accordance with the College policy on decorum that states:
"[Our institution] is committed to proper treatment of all members of the college community. The college can achieve its educational mission only in an atmosphere of mutual respect that is free from intolerance and that offers equal opportunity to all. Every member of the college community shares the responsibility for addressing incidents of disrespect for the dignity of others and acts of discrimination, racism, bigotry, harassment, exclusion, abusive language, or mistreatment of individuals or groups."
The Department's Policy on Decorum is in place in order to ensure our collective and individual successes, and the success of our programs. This Policy includes assurances that faculty and staff have the right to fair and equitable treatment from and to each other within our department, and on campus. The department personnel are held to a standard of behavior where decorum and professional behavior are upheld at all times, including in meetings, within offices, and in the hallways and classrooms. We must maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect, where disagreements can occur. However, in the course of our business, disruptive behavior is not tolerated. Raised or agitated voices, and derogatory personal comments directed toward or about members of the department are not permitted. It is the responsibility of each member of the department to enforce this Policy.
- Conflict: A Most Difficult Task
This article, from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List, suggests strategies for preventing conflict as well as for managing it when it arises.
- Conflict Management and Problem Solving as Chair
This article, from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List, casts conflicts as problems to be solved, and suggests that chairs focus on finding a solution (without necessarily identifying the source of the problem).
- Helping Others Put Out Their Own Fires: The "Stop, Drop, and Role" Approach to Conflict Management
This article, from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List, suggests three steps to helping department members (students, faculty, or staff) identify the issues of concern in a conflict and think about how they will communicate these concerns to the other party.