Advice from Experienced Chairs

  How do you motivate faculty?

1.                   Positive feedback about the things they have done

2.                   Special recognition at department meetings

3.                   One-on-one meetings focused on goals

How do you motivate adjunct faculty?  

1.                   Sometimes adjuncts are the most motivated.

2.                   Don’t renew their contract

  How do you find time to address bigger and more substantive issues when so much time is consumed by brush fires, reports, etc?

  1.       Many conflicts resolve themselves.

  2.       Fall - Spring retreat - not for day-to-day issues.

  3.       Have fall meeting to decide on department priorities, and a spring meeting  to follow up on progress.

  How do chairs grow professionally?  

  1.       Attend conferences for chairs (see website for list)

  2.       Continue to teach and do scholarship – schedule time for this

How do you participate in the dean’s review of faculty?

1.                   See contract for details on what is expected.

2.                   Use department personnel committee:   write down details of their recommendations and circulate for consensus

3.                   Have conference with faculty members to discuss what might come up in meeting with dean

  How do you deal with contradictions between what dean expects and department expects?

1.                   Choose your battles; you have limited influence

2.                   Make sure dean knows goals of department

3.                   Keep the dean informed about what is going on in department

4.                   Explain the department’s perspective to dean

  How do you deal with student complaints of faculty behavior?

1.                   Grade grievance procedure is a useful procedure for all student complaints about faculty

2.                   Always visit with faculty member to hear other side

How do you work with faculty who are giving only bare minimum in terms of performance?

1.                   Consider differential loads – might need bylaws change

2.                   Small incentives

3.                   Small steps (Encourage work w/grad students)

4.                   Peer pressure to cover fair workload

5.                   Ask peer to approach & encourage activity

6.                   Formal peer evaluation process

7.                   Establish a peer coaching group to provide support

8.                   Article 6 conferences - follow up plan

9.                   Arrange collaboration in areas where individual has been successful.

10.               Assign department projects

11.               Give “friendly” advice “colleague to colleague”

12.               Assign to G A - type responsibility

13.               Assign a M through F teaching schedule

14.               Make expectations for faculty explicit & public – discuss expectations at a department meeting

  How do you work with warring factions—especially those that are long term and when individuals take overly personal approaches?  

  1. Faculty retreat (during honeymoon)

  2. Find a common goal toward which everyone would work

  3. Take out to lunch -- Ask direct question, “what is all this about?”

  4. May not be as bad as it looks so don’t overact

  5. Figure out whether conflict gets in the way of department functioning

  6. Don’t let department meetings become a forum to air these more personal/focused issues

  7. Look for and build on common ground

  8. See if “factions” want to establish own goals, then see if those goals could align w/ dept goals and get dept. support

  9. Chair attends meetings of all areas when critical issues being discussed

  10. Chair hosts food-event that brings factions together

  11. Be steadfast in making equitable allocation of resources across factions

  12. Emphasize how chairs decisions are in support of department’s common good.

  How do I get involvement with tasks perceived as outside of faculty responsibilities, but inside of chairs’ responsibility, such as assessment?

1.                   Hire new Tenure Track faculty and give responsibility to them

2.                   Many faculty don’t understand things like assessment terminology and procedures so get them some information and they might become interested

3.                   Reframe issue as central to basic mission of department

4.                   Think of priorities - which tasks are most important?

5.                   You may have to take the lead in setting up a draft assessment plan

6.                   Try small steps, build on what you are already doing (e.g., assessment) (simplify task)

7.                   Review senate policy on assessment

  How do you support rigorous standards for faculty and instruction?

1.                   Review standards in bylaws

2.                   Encourage faculty to talk with you about their performance and frustrations

3.                   Meet with junior faculty as a group every year to discuss performance and TPR expectations

  Some frustrations of being chair

1.                   Student complaints - not equipped to chat w/them

2.                   Bureaucracy

3.                   Personnel issues

4.                   Not understanding dean’s vision

5.                   Getting faculty motivated

6.                   Caught between faculty and dean

  What makes it worth it?

1.                   When the faculty reach consensus

2.                   When something good happens for department

3.                   New program or task completed

4.                   When you develop a resource network

5.                   When you are able to really assist students

Advice to New Chairs

1.                   Learn to delegate

2.                   Work on time management

3.                   Don’t take “it” personally

4.                   Apply the five-year rule – will anyone really care about this issue in five years?

5.                   Don’t “need” to be chair