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Leading an Academic Unit: Best Practices N O R T H T E X A S Dr. Nourredine Boubekri Professor & Chair.

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Presentation on theme: "Leading an Academic Unit: Best Practices N O R T H T E X A S Dr. Nourredine Boubekri Professor & Chair."— Presentation transcript:

1 Leading an Academic Unit: Best Practices N O R T H T E X A S Dr. Nourredine Boubekri Professor & Chair

2 Nourredine Boubekri Professor and Chair Ph.D. Nebraska Attributes of the Ineffective Chair Delegates all budgetary and policy decisions to staff. Waits to deal with problem situations until they have reached crisis stage. Expects deans office to solve all departmental problems and conflicts.

3 Nourredine Boubekri Professor and Chair Ph.D. Nebraska Attributes of the Effective Chair Participates actively and collaboratively in college and university issues. Proposes solutions to problems rather than simply reporting them: understands that the department must share in solving of problems.

4 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Communicates effectively with faculty and makes sure they are aware of important issues. Keeps deans informed of potential departmental problems, issues, and needs. Assumes responsibility for fiscal management of the department. Very important part of the job. Get or train a good administrative assistant who will stay in contact with the college budget officer.

5 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Exercises oversight over curriculum, faculty workload, etc. Another important activity. Set expectations about teaching loads, office hours, work off campus. Help faculty understand expectations and work ethics, to undercut outlaws.

6 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair A bifocal vision – push people to look at immediate and long range concerns, especially curriculum and service commitments. Learn to manage difficult dilemmas in policy and personnel areas; try to find an intellectual framework that will help in sorting out decision options.

7 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Nurture, support your colleagues. When criticism comes, dont take it personally; try to develop a sense of humor about your job. Create communication glue; communicate as much as possible to provide a shared base of information. Encourage some social glue on neutral ground, efforts at building external commitments to each other.

8 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Promote esprit de corps – find out what is being accomplished and be a spokesperson and cheerleader for your colleagues, consistently bestowing public thanks and credits on them. Do this through: , newsletters, or annual awards ceremonies – serious and humorous.

9 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Be around Be visible Hold conversations with colleagues in their offices: ask for their advice publicly and privately (this builds a sense of community), and listen (ones professional nature is to be critical – watch that).

10 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Use faculty meetings only for decision making Share information in other ways; set up committees in major areas of faculty life unless they explicitly prefer you to be the decision maker Admit mistakes and accept irresponsibility.

11 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Be a role model: teach a seminar, attend one, try to stay involved in some way in the life of the faculty. Dont wait around for applause – take satisfaction in your roles, in the accomplishments of your colleagues.

12 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Be prepared for the unknown, for surprises – experience will help you anticipate. Some books have useful insights such as: The Academic Chairpersons Handbook by Creswell and others, and Roy Blount, Jr.s Not Exactly What you Had in Mind.

13 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Set up consultative mechanisms, linkages with: your department, other departments, outside groups, interdisciplinary programs Get rid of committees you dont need.

14 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Simple decisions have unintended impact: space and parking, for example, can be your undoing – some folks view their self worth in terms of square footage. Sometimes you do have to get rid of people or make referrals for medical or psychological reasons – dont duck these responsibilities.

15 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair Dont give up your scholarship or you will lose credibility with your faculty; delegate and prioritize more. You may need more tutoring in some areas, especially the budget: dont bluff it; learn from administrative colleagues, your predecessor, your staff. Share information on the budget but expect to sign off on decisions – you will be held accountable.

16 Nourredine Boubekri Attributes of the Effective Chair To change department functions or culture, start small, surround yourself with a small group that wants the same thing – you cant get consensus all that easily!

17 Nourredine Boubekri Professor and Chair Ph.D. Nebraska Deans Expectations of Department Chairs & Heads: Four Major Roles With Differing Expectations that may be in Conflict.

18 Nourredine Boubekri Deans Expectations of Department Chairs and Heads Advocate/Power Source. Deans expect chairs to accurately represent the needs of their units, not distort needs to curry favor with their faculty. There is always competition for scarce resources which can become destructive and unseemly. Watch out that you dont demonize other heads – be fair and open with information.

19 Nourredine Boubekri Deans Expectations of Department Chairs and Heads Coach/Disciplinarian. You will see the darker side of human nature. You must manage your people problems and, because of the possibility of litigation or grievances, keep deans informed about them. Serve as a developer of faculty, especially junior faculty, using University resources to help.

20 Nourredine Boubekri Deans Expectations of Department Chairs and Heads Coach/Disciplinarian. Be a good listener, be respectful, keep confidences, provide a moral compass. Maintain a positive environment, striving for good performances among faculty and staff. Their success is your success. Dont make deals out of expediency.

21 Nourredine Boubekri Deans Expectations of Department Chairs and Heads Manager/Administrator. Make administrative systems work in a timely way, especially the financial management, P&T, annual performance review, and salary systems. Delegate and create a context for faculty to work together in these areas.

22 Nourredine Boubekri Deans Expectations of Department Chairs and Heads Manager/Administrator. Be careful and clear about what you say publicly. Use – faculty often dont read hard copy but they do review e- mail.

23 Nourredine Boubekri Deans Expectations of Department Chairs and Heads Leader/Liaison. Serve as a liaison to other collegiate units and outside constituencies. Learn to take statesmanlike, school- wide perspectives. Regularly and accurately communicate the big and little pictures – the linkages among the department, college, and University.

24 Nourredine Boubekri Deans Expectations of Department Chairs and Heads Leader/Liaison. Dont put negative attribution to communication from the deans – this feeds us vs. them attitudes. Changing department culture(s) is difficult. You cant tell faculty your vision, you must work with them in creating it. If the cost of changing is perceived as too high, people wont change.

25 N O R T H T E X A S Questions? Dr. Nourredine Boubekri


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