Effective Practices for Academic Leaders
Managing the Transition Between Chairs
Volume 2: Issue 8

Journal: 978 1 57922 170 6 / $20.00
Published: August 2007  

E-Publication (PDF): 978 1 57922 398 4 / $10.00
Published: August 2007  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
16 pp., 8 1/2" x 11"
Series: Effective Practices for Academic Leaders Archive
Executive Summary
This briefing lays out a process for preparing a new chair to assume the leadership of an academic department. I review processes and considerations for the transition between department chairs, including using the transition period for acculturating new chairs to the job, providing them with useful documentation and information, giving them access to department rules and processes, having them shadow the incumbent chair, and introducing them to key personnel. I then address how preparation of the new chair, psychologically and otherwise, may be conducted during the transition period. The briefing then examines how the new chair may be alerted to and prepared for the different communication skills needed in transitioning from faculty member to department chair, including those involved in persuasion, negotiation, and running meetings. I also describe the documentation of the department’s activities that incumbent chairs should prepare for their successors. A table giving a sample chronology of tasks throughout the academic year with links to supporting documents is included. Finally, I consider the sensitivities associated with having the previous chair “return to the ranks.”

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See Leadership & Administration ( Higher Education )