Effective Practices for Academic Leaders
The Challenges and Opportunities of Technology in Higher Education
Edition: Volume 1, Issue 6

Journal: 978 1 57922 155 3 / $20.00
Published: June 2006  

E-Publication (PDF): 978 1 57922 384 7 / $10.00
Published: June 2006  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
16 pp., 8 1/2" x 11"
Series: Effective Practices for Academic Leaders Archive
Executive Summary
Universities and colleges face a growing crisis of relevance in the twenty-first century, and academic departments and disciplines will not be immune or protected. Department chairs and other academic leaders need to provide leadership in this new complex, competitive, technologically advanced, communications-dependent, and consumer-oriented society. In doing so, they need an informed voice, as well as support and even advocacy for faculty members, who are the heart and soul of academic innovation.

Academic leaders need to understand the changing contexts in which universities are operating, including evolving learner expectations, culture, challenges, and opportunities. New technologies are changing the nature of learning and teaching, and powerful competitors, who are seeking to meet the educational needs of adult workers and other nontraditional students, have emerged. The department chair is at the center of effective leadership, helping faculty and staff to use technological developments wisely, effectively, and efficiently. While the department chair will provide leadership in changing technical and procedural processes (first-order changes), the more important changes will be at a fundamental level that will involve substantial shifts in philosophy, values, goals, and core processes (second-order changes).

This briefing explores both opportunities and challenges for exercising leadership in exploring new uses for technology in department settings. It offers specific ideas for chairs to consider in promoting technological changes as they develop approaches and strategies for program development, department administration, faculty development and mentoring, and overall departmental leadership.

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