Handling complaints is one of the defining roles of academic administration. It demands perseverance, good listening skills, tact, and adherence to institutional policies and legal requirements. In an interview with Academic Leader, C.K. Gunsalus, author of The Academic Administrator’s Survival Guide (which includes an entire chapter on complaints), offered advice on how to manage this important role.
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The transition to a new academic leadership position is full of complexities, unwritten rules, and new challenges. Whether the new provost, dean, or chair is new to the institution or has years of institutional knowledge, a simple orientation is not enough to get him or her off to a successful start, says Anne Massaro, project manager and organizational development consultant at The Ohio State University.
Editor’s Note: Today we feature part 2 of Dr. Greenstreet’s “10-Point Survival Guide to Being, and Staying, an Academic Leader.” If you missed part 1, please click here for yesterday’s post.
6. Talk straight: Someone once said: “Sincerity is the key to good leadership — if you can fake that, you’re in.”
While entering the administrative ranks of academia might seem a formidable task, staying there presents a whole other series of challenges. The average length of stay for a dean, vice chancellor, or chancellor can often be fewer than five years and in some programs, the duration of leadership has been known to be considerably shorter.
It’s been said that no one dreams of someday becoming an academic administrator. It’s a tough job that’s only gotten more challenging as budgets shrink, public scrutiny rises, and responsibilities continue to grow. But what does it really take to be an effective leader?
Colleges and universities have realized increasingly that effective teaching by instructors and successful learning by students does not occur through serendipity. Even though more and more graduate programs are providing doctoral students with experience and training in how to teach at the college level, many faculty members still reach their positions largely through an education based on how to perform research, not on how to include students in that research or train others in their disciplines.
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned all-day orientation program to get new academic leaders acclimated and ready to tackle the challenges of their new positions, right? Wrong.
All too often new administrators are left to fend for themselves when it comes to discovering and developing the skills they need to succeed in their new position. This report will help new administrators navigate the potential minefields and find their voice when it comes to leading effectively.
The current conditions for leadership development in academe are less than optimal. More often than not, academic leaders come from faculty ranks having been asked to assume positions as department heads/chairs or even deans having had no previous administrative experience. The individual has opportunities for development, but not on any long-term or ongoing basis.
Inadequate preparation, unrealistic expectations, and increased workload can be overwhelming for faculty members making the transition to department chair. Brenda Coppard, chair of occupational therapy