Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts, 2004- present » Postings in 2005 » Leadership from the perspective of the department/program chairperson » Handbook for Department Chairs »
Handbook for Department Chairs
Stories and Reports
- A report from the undergraduate physics community
- Three national physics societies, with support from the ExxonMobil Foundation, collaborated in identifying how certain undergraduate physics departments are achieving success in increasing the numbers, persistence and success of students. The chair of the project (Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics: SPINUP), Robert Hilborn of Amherst College, reports on their findings: that what works is a challenging but supportive academic program, strong and sustained departmental leadership, with continuing experimentation and evaluation built into the process of curricular transformation.
- A synthesis of recommendations from Keck/PKAL Consultancies: Dealing with dysfunctional departments
- Identifying what does not work is sometimes as important to efforts to build strong STEM departments and programs as knowing what works (see stories posted 02/06/04 from the undergraduate physics project SPIN-UP). Most problems facing departmental leaders have been identified and addressed in other settings: attrition after first-year courses; little or no administrative support; "ownership" of specific courses. Bringing an outside voice to the discussions is sometimes helpful, as illustrated by this report summarized from several Keck/PKAL consultancies.
- Advancing Reform Efforts through the PKAL-Keck Consultation Program: A Psychology Department
The Keck/PKAL Consultation Program
- This small private college in the west requested assistance in reviewing its psychology program. The request was triggered by the dean, who was considering adding a new faculty line for the department and wished to have a clearer sense of the future of psychology programs in undergraduate settings.
- Developing People and Programs
- Advice for department/program leaders on helping young and old faculty achieve their potential, and on developing tranformative programs within the confines and context of institutional structure.
- Don't Drown Students with Details: A Psychology Department's Transformation
The Keck/PKAL Consultation Program
- This public institution in the northwest requested an evaluation of their psychology department. It was determined that the department should focus on breadth rather than depth. The consultants felt undergraduate psychology students would benefit from increased exposure to many aspects of psychology. It is believed graduates of the program will be more well-rounded following this revision.
- Key characteristics of good departmental leadership
- By creating a coalition around issues relating to intellectual life and intellectual curiosity, an academic leader can help develop a broad commitment to a vision that links to greater institutional goals.
- Linking departmental planning to larger institutional initiatives
- A personal story: linking departmental planning to larger institutional initiatives that reflect institutional goals in regard to the quality of student learning, the building of an intellectual and physical infrastructure that enables robust learning.
- One Institutional Story: Lawrence University
- Preparing 21st Century Leaders: A Departmental Responsibility
- The experience of the mathematics department at the United States Military Academy illustrates how to integrate a comprehensive faculty development program into departmental efforts to reform the curriculum and serve larger institutional goals for student learning.
- The Saga of Departmental Transformation