Strong Geoscience Departments > Department Heads and Chairs > Managing a Department

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.

Jump down to Managing Budgets and Physical Resources | Managing Conflict

General Resources

Managing Budgets and Physical Resources

Managing Conflict

  • A Departmental Approach to Addressing the Problem of Sexual Harassment and Assault in Field Experiences
    Dr. Walter Robinson (North Carolina State University) describes work the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences has taken to address the problem of harassment and assault during field experiences department wide and what he has learned in the process.
  • Sexual Harassment in the Sciences: A Call to Geoscience Faculty and Researchers to Respond
    This JGE Editorial calls on geoscience educators and mentors to take a stand again sexual harassment in the geosciences community. As the authors say, "how we behave and what behavior we tolerate by others sets a tone and becomes a behavioral model for the undergraduate and graduate students with whom we interact." Taking a stand against illegal, unethical, and unacceptable behaviors "says a lot about who we are and what we value as individuals and as a community of practice."
  • Sexual Harassment in the Sciences Resources
    The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geosciences Institute, the American Chemical Society, the Association for Women Geoscientists, and the Earth Science Women's Network joined AGU and cosponsored a workshop entitled "Sexual Harassment in the Sciences: A Call to Respond" on 9 September, 2016 in Washington, D.C. This resources website is one of many outcomes of the workshop.
  • 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.

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