HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Unlike faculty who for the most part work with students and scholars within their subject matter area, chairs are responsible for representing the department in
Difficult conversations are inevitable in any organization. Understanding how they arise and how they play out can help minimize the disruption without avoiding the issue or alienating those involved.
Incivility and lack of collegiality are on the rise in institutions of higher education (Cipriano, 2011). This phenomenon can range from disputes and tension at one end of the spectrum to violence at the other. There are many departments that suffer from non-collegial, uncivil, and nasty encounters between faculty members, faculty members and professional staff, and faculty members and students.
In a mixed-methods study, Meghan Pifer, assistant professor in the Academic Development and Counseling Department at Lock Haven University, looked at the dynamics of informal intradepartmental relationships in two departments to determine how networks can affect faculty members’ access to resources, and ultimately their career success and satisfaction.
A study based at Oxford University looked at departments judged noteworthy for their teaching at 11 research-intensive universities in Europe, Australia, and North America to determine what these departments do to bring about and sustain teaching excellence.
Incivility in higher education has flourished in recent years, fueled by a convergence of factors ranging from the infiltration of a more corporate culture and a system that rewards individual accomplishments above collaboration to decreased state funding coupled with increased workloads and expectations. For department chairs, leading teams of educators during such a difficult time can be wrought with unexpected challenges and frustrations.