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Scholarship and Professional Development > Annotated Bibliographies

Chair Leadership Annotated Bibliography

Academic Leader (newsletter). Rob Kelly, Editor. Magna Publications.
The Academic Leader provides practical tips about chairing department and brief discussions of research studies.  Inquiries may be directed to Magna Publications, Inc. 607 N. Sherman Ave., Madison, WI 53704.

Bennett, J.B. (1983). Managing the Academic Department. New York: American Council on Education – Macmillan Publishing Co.
John Bennett’s book contains case studies of specific faculty and department situations.  This book is intended to help department heads or chairs learn constructive reactions to department problems.  Chapters containing case studies include discussion of responsibilities, conflict, performance counseling, departmental change, decisions, and other special situations.  “Performance counseling” case studies are concerned with teaching, course assignment and curriculum, working with teaching assistants and faculty career problems.
(Cresswell, et.al., 1990, p. 18)

Bennett, John B. & Figuli, David J. (1990). Enhancing Departmental Leadership: The Roles of the Chairperson. Oryx Press.
Originally published by Macmillan in 1990.  Twenty-six contributions discuss topics connected with the roles and responsibilities of chairs, faculty and staff hiring and evaluation, faculty development, legal issues, and determining departmental priorities and direction. (Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, OR)

Booth, D.B. (1982). The Departmental Chair: Professional Development and Role Conflict. AAHE-ERIC Higher Education Research Report 10, 1982. Washington D.C.: American Association for Higher Education.
David Booth’s fifty-three page book includes discussion of administrative aspects of chairing a department.  “The Chair at Work” section includes commentary on role conflict, ambiguity, and how the chair learns the job. (Cresswell, et. al., 1990, p. 18)

Creswell, J., Wheeler, D., Seagren, A., Egly, N., Beyer, K. (1990). The Academic Chairperson’s Handbook. University of Nebraska Press.
The Academic Chairperson’s Handbook provides the reader with practical guidance and specific strategies for managing an academic department.  The authors challenge the chair to consider his or her own development and create a positive work environment.  They give strategies for helping new-hires and improve the teaching and scholarship of department faculty.  Creswell and his colleagues’ work is based on a three-year study funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. and sponsored by TIAA-CREF.  This national study involved semi-structured interviews with over 200 department chairs on 70 college and university campuses.  The information is presented with rich quotations from the chairs making this book a quick and interesting read for those interested in improving their leadership skills.

Educational Leadership (journal). Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
Educational Leadership is acknowledged throughout the world as an authoritative source of information about teaching and learning, new ideas and practices relevant to practicing educators, and the latest trends and issues affecting prekindergarten through higher education.

Gmelch, Walter H. & Schuh, John H. (eds.) (2004). “The Life Cycle of a Department Chair” New Directions for Higher Education, 126. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.
This monograph identifies, examines, and analyzes selected issues related to the career development of the department chair with a special focus on how colleges and universities can assist faculty in preparing themselves for this role, and how chairs can be supported during their term of service.  Chapters examine how chairs can continue to develop their skills while serving in this leadership role, and how they can prepare themselves for academic life after they conclude their administrative duties as chair.

Gmelch, Water H. and Val. D. Miskin (1993). Leadership Skills for Department Chairs. Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
Gmelch and Miskin address three major challenges facing department chairs: 1) developing an understanding and clarity about the motives and roles of a chair; 2) understanding the strategic planning process or creating a productive department and 3) developing the key leadership skills required to be an effective department chair.  This book focuses on leadership skills of goal setting and team building as well as the communication skills of conflict management.  The authors present two somewhat unique chapters on coping with stress and leadership trade-offs and pay-offs.

Kimble, G.A. (1979).  A Departmental Chairperson’s Survival Manual. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Gregory Kimble has prepared this book for chairpersons in psychology departments.  This manual resulted from workshops conducted by the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology.  Content is pertinent to all disciplines.  Readers will be amused, elated, or saddened by Kimble’s observations.  Don’t miss the introductory “Letter to a New Chairperson.” It contains fourteen lessons starting with the idea: “As head of a department, you must be prepared to budget between one-fourth and one-half of your time for the totally unexpected” (p. 4). (Cresswell, et. al., 1990, p. 19)

Leaming, Deryl R. (2003). Managing People: A Practical Guide to Chairing the Department. Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
This collections of 13 essays by experienced chairs, deans, and vice presidents explores the many different aspects of people management and offers suggestions and resources.  The 13 essay titles are: “Understanding Yourself,” “Understanding and Communicating with Others,” “Establishing a Positive Leadership Approach,” “Creating Consensus Among Faculty,” “Using Meetings to Create Cohesion,” “Winning Over Your Detractors,” “Stripping Away Negative Defenses,” “Handling Conflict with Difficulty Faculty,” “Dealing with Troubled Faculty,” “Improving the Odds of Hiring the Right Person,” “Using Evaluation to Enhance Faculty Performance and Satisfaction,” “Building and Maintaining Morale,” and “Putting All the Pieces Together to be a Better People Manager and Leader.”

Leaming, Deryl R. (1988). Academic Leadership: A Practical Guide to Chairing the Department.  Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
Deryl Leaming draws on his own personal experience to provide an easy-to-use, comprehensive reference on how to handle many of the more complex situations faced by department chairs.  He offers practical advice on budgeting, faculty morale, recruiting and politics among others.  The examples and advice are down-to-earth and realistic, and the suggestions are excellent.  The book provides a context in which to work and will be a useful reference as the chair deals with the many complexities of the role. (paraphrased from Robert M. Diamond’s Institute for Change in Higher Education, Forward, p. xi)
Sample chapters include: Seven Habits of Successful Chairpersons, Evaluating Faculty Performance, Recruiting and Hiring Faculty Members, Dealing with Difficult Faculty, Building and Maintaining Morale, Fundraising for the Department, Managing Generation X, Strategies for Faculty Development.

Lucas, Ann. F. (2000). Leading Academic Change: Essential Roles for Department Chairs. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.  ISBN: 0787946826
This visionary yet practical book shows how to manage academic change at the department level.  It provides useful ideas and strategies on handling resistance to change, transforming departments into productive learning communities, and improving educational quality for students.  Readers will also find concrete guidelines for developing structure and policy that will shape the way departments view themselves and set priorities.  For new faculty members, a well-crafted promotion and tenure statement cannot only communicate the department’s priorities but promote conduct that will contribute to long-term personal growth and productivity.  In twelve incisive chapters, top academic scholars, authors, and consultants address topics and trends as diverse as service learning, technological change, curriculum renewal, faculty reward systems, and post-tenure review.

Lucas, Ann (1994). Strengthening Departmental Leadership: A Team-Building Guide for Chairs in Colleges and Universities. Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Presents critical survival techniques for academic department chairs struggling with team building, communication, faculty development, motivating difficult colleagues, faculty evaluation, managing conflict, and developing an effective relationship with the dean. Chapters include: Strengthening Leadership at the Departmental Level, Roles & Responsibilities of Chairs, Leading the Academic Department, Motivating, Evaluating, and Rewarding Faculty Members, Supporting Effective Teaching in the Department, Providing Feedback on Classroom Teaching, Enhancing Commitments to Scholarship and Service, Team Building Through Supportive Communication, Managing Conflict, Using Feedback from the Department, The Dean’s Role in Developing Departmental Leadership, Survival Skills for Department Chairs, Personal Strategies for Strengthening Leadership Effectiveness. (Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, OR)

Massey, William F. (2003). Honoring the Trust: Quality and Cost Containment in Higher Education. Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
This book offers solutions for improving the quality of higher education without spending more or undermining research and scholarship.  The eleven chapters include: 1) The Erosion of Trust, 2) Universities as Economic Enterprises, 3) Subsidies and Contribution Margins, 4) Research, Teaching, and the Quality of Education, 5) Technology’s Misunderstood Potential, 6) Education Quality Processes, 7) Core Quality Principles, 8) Education Quality Oversight, 9) Balancing Cost and Quality, 10) Performance-Based Resource Allocation, and 11) Educator’s Action Agenda.

The Department Chair (newsletter). Carolyn Dunmore, Editor. Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
This quarterly periodical is the most popular resource for news, advice, and practical information among college and university department chairs and deans.  Each issue includes original articles by experienced academic managers.

The Teaching Professor (newsletter). Weimer, Maryellen, Editor. Magna Publications.
The Teaching Professor is a forum for discussion of the best strategies supported by the latest research for effective teaching in the college classroom.  From tips for class discussion to mentoring fellow faculty, The Teaching Professor stretches from the theoretical to the highly specific.  Typical topics include assessment and evaluation, engagement of student interest, faculty time management, and the learner-centered classroom.

Tucker, Allan (1992). Chairing the Academic Department: Leadership Among Peers. Oryx Press.
One of the most widely used books on academic leadership is Allan Tucker’s Chairing the Academic Department.  Tucker’s 566 page volume is comprehensive and covers virtually every issue chairs confront and every skill chairs need to be effective.  Tucker’s initial project of exploring academic leadership was funded by the Kellogg Foundation and evolved over several years.  He designed and tested a model for enhancing the competencies of the academic chairperson.  His culmination of his work in this 32 chapter book that he hopes will “spur chairpersons to analyze their own departments and to compare them” with the departments described in his book.  Tucker’s book differs from other academic leadership books in his attention to part-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants as well as support staff and students.  Chapters on dealing with deans, university administrative offices and external agencies and assessing the department chair are also unique contributions to chair development.

Wergin, Jon F. (2003). Departments that Work. Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
Wergin’s new book is subtitled: “Building and Sustaining Cultures of Excellence in Academic Departments.”  He focuses on what he asserts is the most  useful way to build and sustain a culture of excellence – creating a culture of critical reflection and continuous improvement.  This approach is what separates Departments that Work from the rest of the chair development and leadership literature. The eight chapters include 1) The Concept of Academic Quality, 2) Motivation for Quality Work, 3) Evaluating Quality in Academic Programs, 4) Creating the Engaged Department, 5) Negotiating Departmental Values, 6) Finding Evidence of Quality and Quality Evidence, 7) Making Meaning of Quality Evidence and 8) Enhancing Departmental Quality.  In the Appendix, “Departments that Work: What They Do,” Wergin breaks down each chapter into the key characteristics that “work” on each topic.  Wergin’s work is a refreshing and innovative look at department leadership and adds to the literature as a departure from the typical “nuts and bolts” leadership books.

"Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment 'as to the Lord.' It is our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done and any grace received."
-C.S. Lewis; Learning in Wartime, The Weight of Glory