ERIC Number: ED368414
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Feb
Chairing the Multi-Disciplinary Department.
One of the most distinctive features of academic departments in community colleges is their multi-disciplinary nature. While the creation of multi-disciplinary departments usually results from pragmatic considerations, they do present some advantages over one-subject departments in that faculty are obliged to learn other disciplines and a system of checks and balances is maintained between the disciplines. The chairs of such departments, however, are faced with unique considerations. First, they must create an inclusive departmental identity through departmental meetings and off-campus retreats in which faculty can identify and discuss goals, interests, and needs that all the disciplines share. Second, chairs must understand the size and politics of the department and identify common interests to offset any rivalry between disciplines. Third, it is important that chairs set standards for good teaching, while at the same time learning what methods work in which discipline. Fourth, it is imperative that chairs become knowledgeable about the disciplines in their departments by listening to faculty, reading, or taking courses with leading faculty. Fifth, chairs must provide leadership for all the disciplines represented in the department, and sixth, they must inevitably share decision-making duties with faculty. Finally, chairs should promote professional development activities. Faculty multidisciplinary departments also have responsibilities, including sharing information with the chair and other faculty about their discipline and accepting each other as colleagues. (Includes four sample problem situations in a multi-disciplinary department.) (ECC)
Descriptors: Administrative Organization, Administrator Role, Collegiality, Community Colleges, Department Heads, Departments, Instructional Leadership, Intellectual Disciplines, Interdisciplinary Approach, Participative Decision Making, Professional Development, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Role, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented the International Conference for Community College Chairs, Deans, and Other Instructional Leaders (3rd, Phoenix, AZ, February 23-26, 1994).