How to keep academic departments drama-free
- Higher education consultant executive Robert Weisbuch writes in Inside Higher Ed about the need to maintain decorum and high collegiality in university academic departments.
- He suggests that finding quality leadership in department chairing, incentive-based rewarding, balanced governance among faculty, and reorganization of departments as potential recommendations to promote unity.
- Truthfulness and and contrition in the face of mistakes are critical elements of reducing discord among faculty, which begin with the tenor of faculty department chairs.
We all have seen publicly what can happen when relationships break down at board, presidential and dean levels with disgruntled faculty, such as the current crisis within the University of Florida law school. Solving these breakdowns can be virtually impossible, so preventing them is the key aspect of promoting solidarity within the academic ranks.
For provosts and deans, making sure that department chairs are conscious of resource needs, course load obligations, and philosophies of instruction is a critical element in maintaining individual and collective support from faculty members. Promoting opportunities for media exposure and grant-making are also potential methods of support, and valuable assets in showing confidence in faculty members' work and commitment to students.
- Inside Higher Ed Rescuing the Department in Distress
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