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Management Department Heads page 4

 
 

Weakness without Leadership

The weaknesses of schools without program leadership positions are:
1
Without leadership positions by discipline, isolation of faculty members within disciplines is encouraged. There is no formal structure to promote unity among faculty members serving each program. This discourages curriculum development, planning, and faculty interaction. It therefore diminishes the educational experience for students within those programs. A unified faculty compared to a divided one reflects the Gestalt principle of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The most successful educational programs have always been those with a unified faculty sharing common values and goals. All in all, programs without appointed leadership are bound to have a negative impact on educational quality, and they are destructive to faculty commitment and sense of well-being.

2
There is over-reliance on graduate teaching assistants and part-time faculty. Once a School moves into this trap, it is nearly impossible to escape because of the cost of replacing teaching assistants and part-time instructors with full-time faculty.

3
There is absolutely no way that the Director can provide educational leadership for two or more programs. At best, the Director can function only as an operational manager.

4
The establishment of a School and Director with the latter serving as advisor to the Dean removes the Dean from any direct, structured contact with educational programs. This is compared to the Department Head system where all program Heads as members of the College Council had regular contact with the Dean.


5
Within Schools without appointed leadership by program, the professional identities of individual programs begin to blur as the operation of the school takes on the qualities of a single entity rather than as a combination of distinctly different programs of study.


6
Programs without appointed leadership have no representation no spokesperson for the program, faculty or students. The Director's role is unmistakably an administrative one, and it is representative only in terms of what the Director chooses to represent. Faculty from each major discipline do not have an unencumbered communication channel to the Dean.


7
Schools without appointed leadership and program budgets are overly paternalistic. (Administrators are parents and faculty members are children.) At many Schools, there are no annual operating budgets for each program. If funds are required, they are disbursed at the discretion of the Director. Individual or program funding is available only by personal request.

8
Too much decision-making is removed from program or faculty level and invested in the Director.

9
The Director is responsible to the Dean but not accountable to faculty under his supervision.


Needed Changes
The organization of educational programs into a School is beneficial but with a few modifications it could function with greater effectiveness. At the same time, the educational environment would be improved and faculty productivity increased.

 

The most important changes would involve
1
Making schools into Divisions within the College and retaining Department Heads for each program in the School.

2
Educational leadership positions should be filled with a Department Head appointed by the Dean or elected by the faculty. The Department Head would be listed in the table of organization, there would be financial compensation, the Head would serve at the will of the Director and a majority of faculty in the program.

3
The Director is an administrative position, and serves at the will of the Dean, but should be accountable to Department Heads. At such a time as a majority of Department Heads vote no confidence in the Director, the Director should be replaced. If the Director does not have strong incentive to represent faculty and programs, they invariably end up representing only their best interests and serving the Dean.

4
Each program should have an operational budget to be spent at the discretion of the Program Head and faculty.


5
Department Heads serve as an advisory council to the Director.


6
Department Heads should have structured access to the Dean that would not be interpreted as circumventing the Director. There should be a direct link between the Dean and the educational programs.

 

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