How to be an effective acting director, chair or dean — Part II (essay)

Last week, Inside Higher Ed published an essay of mine describing my experience as an interim dean. It covered several practical, task-oriented topics: identifying one’s core mission for the interim period, allaying colleagues’ fears, acquiring reliable information and triaging the issues that land in your inbox. But leading a college that includes a department of theater helped me recognize …

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Repurposing Your Scholarly Skills

About to start your first stint in academic leadership? Congratulations! Feeling apprehensive? That’s hardly surprising: many challenges are surely in your future. But you are probably more prepared than you think. This essay is aimed at faculty members who are planning to try their hands at academic leadership and are wondering whether they have what …

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Inclusive Conversations

In a previous column, I described spending a year learning about academic leadership as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow.  One of the best parts of the experience was talking extensively and honestly with new and experienced administrators from a wide variety of backgrounds, disciplines and institutions. It was fascinating to hear their viewpoints …

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Just Distribution

One of the most enjoyable parts of academic leadership is the chance to give people good news: they will be receiving the conference invitation, increased salary, or research grant they have requested.  But since invitations, raise dollars, and grant funds tend to be limited commodities, hard choices have usually preceded the happy announcement. Designing a …

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Negotiation Tips for New Chairs

In a previous column I addressed the issues facing candidates who are negotiating their first faculty positions. The recent controversy over a job offer that was retracted when the candidate attempted to negotiate reminded me that the person sitting on the administrator’s side of the table may also be new to the process. This article advises new administrators on …

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Climate Change

When scientists talk about issues related to diversity or broadening participation in their disciplines, the focus is typically on supporting women, persons of color, or first-generation college students.  However, scientists who identify as part of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community are also a minority within the scientific community and may, likewise, find …

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Pre-Tenure Leadership

As the dean of a college whose faculty includes many assistant professors, I am frequently asked for advice on how much service they should undertake. The twin horns of their dilemma? They know that service counts for less than teaching or research in annual and promotion evaluations … but they also know that demonstrating leadership …

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