Shift in Perspective

Faculty members tend to have a great deal of autonomy in the classroom and in their scholarly work. They often teach courses of their own choosing and design, and even when this is not the case, they typically have the liberty to adjust syllabi and course materials or to develop new assignments with relatively little consultation with colleagues.  As scholars, faculty choose their own projects and pursue them in whatever ways they deem most interesting and fruitful.

However as the “service” leg of the “teaching-scholarship-service” triad becomes increasingly important, you may find that your work expands beyond the skills and expertise developed as a teacher and scholar.  As this happens, you will need to learn to approach this new work from a different, broader perspective.  You will have responsibilities to faculty colleagues, departmental staff whom you now officially supervise, as well as to students that your unit serves.  You will want to consider the longer term aspirations and needs of your unit as well as its place within the institution as a whole.

As chair, your relationship with your colleagues, both faculty and staff, will change, as you will be in the position of supervising individuals that you’ve long considered peers and colleagues.  You will be responsible for submitting formal evaluations and recommendations concerning promotion or continuation of contracts, and will likely have access to information that may be confidential or sensitive in nature.  These adjustments to your role can be difficult to navigate, particularly in a community as small as ours.  These pages are intended to provide some guidance as you begin this service as well as to provide resources that may prove helpful.