Roles and responsibilities of senior administrators in nurturing strong ERE programs

Breakout session II:
Roles and responsibilities of senior administrators in nurturing strong Environmental Research and Education (ERE) programs

Saturday, September 20, 2003
3:15 - 4:45 pm

Facilitators:
James Howard, Dean College of Natural Resources and Sciences- Humboldt State University
Marlene Moore, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Biology- University of Portland
Gary Reiness, Dean of Mathematical and Natural Sciences and Professor of Biology- Lewis and Clark College

This session focuses on common problems perceived by administrators of ERE programs, including building a stable faculty that includes colleagues from a variety of disciplines, and providing mechanisms for effective evaluation of faculty for tenure and promotion. Case studies will be used. The primary roles of senior administrators are

  • program approval and evaluation,
  • resource allocation, and
  • aligning reward structures with institutional expectations.

ERE programs present special challenges in each of these areas. The following case studies will be used to examine the obstacles in each of these areas and to identify creative solutions to overcoming these obstacles.

Case #1: A faculty member with a joint appointment in chemistry and environmental science is being reviewed for promotion. He receives a strong evaluation from the environmental science program and a negative evaluation from chemistry. The chemists are not impressed with his applied research and do not see him as a contributor to the department. The case will be discussed by a group of people playing the following roles:

  • Academic Vice President
  • Dean
  • Chair of Chemistry
  • Chair of Environmental Science
  • Chair of Rank and Tenure Committee
  • Community Partner

Case #2: As a result of program review, a justification for additional resources to support growing ES program has been made. The program was originally "sold" to the campus as a cost-free option for students (i.e. repackaging existing courses to provide an integrated curriculum). Now the number of students, advising and course demands are stretching the college's budget. No new resources are available even though the case is made for new integrated courses. Redistribution of existing resources is the only option. The case will be discussed by a group of people playing the following roles:

  • Academic Vice President
  • Dean
  • Chair of Environmental Science
  • Faculty member from the program
  • External Evaluator (program reviewer)
  • Student in the program

Case #3: A recent graduate of the program is having difficulty finding a job in the area of her major and in getting admitted to graduate programs. She is told that she does not have enough depth is any one area and that she has had no practical experience. Her program did not include any team-work, research, or real-world connections. She is angry and has filed a complaint with the dean. The case will be discussed by a group of people playing the following roles:

  • Academic Vice President
  • Dean
  • Chair of Environmental Science
  • Angry recent graduate
  • Current student - an activist who wants to save the planet
  • Community environmental group

Having discussed the above scenarios, how could you structure a program to avoid these problems?