ERIC Number: ED271806
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Apr-4
Reference Count: 0
The High School Department Head: Powerful or Powerless in Guiding Change?
Hord, Shirley M.; Murphy, Sheila C.
This report, one of four studies on roles of participants in high school change, presents data about activities of department heads in 30 schools throughout the nation. The report analyzes background research on the subject as well as popular perceptions, perceptions of teachers and administrators, and perceptions of department heads themselves concerning this particular teaching role. The finding is that, despite the general view that department heads occupy a "driver's seat" position, the most appropriate characterization is inconsistency in the way the role is operationalized across organizational structures and personnel. A variety of department head behaviors are gathered from personal interviews and organized into six roles: communicator, coordinator manager, emerging assister, teacher improver, program improver, and evaluating administrator. Five functions of these roles are described in personal activity accounts by individual department heads. Department heads often operate within parameters that are difficult to define, do not receive adequate fiscal remuneration, and are not offered sufficient inservice training, all of which influence the nature of the six roles they may assume. The study concludes with a discussion of relationships with other department heads, district office, principal, and department teachers. Further research on the department head is needed because the role is a viable one for facilitating the change process. (CJH)
Descriptors: Administrator Role, Department Heads, Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Educational Innovation, Employment Practices, High Schools, Needs Assessment, Organizational Communication, Performance Factors, Research Needs, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Role, Work Attitudes
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Practitioners
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Texas Univ., Austin. Research and Development Center for Teacher Education.
Note: In: Symposium 56.11 of the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 31-April 4, 1985); see EA 018 229.