Seth Masket chairs the Department of Political Science at the University of Denver. If you are a department chair (or aspire to be one) at a college or university you should read his piece “How To Chair A University Department And Not Be Terrible At It.”
In August I will enter my sixteenth year of teaching history at Messiah College. Half of those years have been spent as a department chair. After the 2017-2018 academic year I will leave my post and return to life as a normal faculty member. My hope is to never return to this post again.
I have never thought of myself as a very good department chair. I mess things up a lot. I am not very good at scheduling courses, assessing student learning, or getting paperwork done on time. Frankly, I am surprised I have lasted this long in the position.
But I can affirm that everything Masket says in this piece is correct. If you want to be a good department chair:
- Don’t blow off the teaching schedule
- Make agenda control your friend
- Fight, if necessary
- Recognize that you can’t please everyone
- Create social capital
- Set realistic goals for yourself
See how Masket develops these six points here.