ERIC Number: ED410649
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Secondary Department Chair Roles: Ambiguity and Change in Systemic Reform. UKERA Occasional Papers, No. 0010.
Bliss, Traci; Fahrney, Carolina; Steffy, Betty
In Kentucky, the administrative roles of the superintendent and the principal have received considerable attention from state-level policymakers since the passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). Although there are comprehensive, ongoing assessment procedures for Kentucky principals and superintendents, there are no state-level guidelines for the department chair role in Kentucky. This paper presents findings of a study that examined department chair roles in the midst of systemic reform in Kentucky--how department chairpersons perceive their roles and how they are perceived by the teachers with whom they work. The first phase of the study, a survey of 112 Kentucky department chairs from 28 secondary schools, elicited 68 returns, a 61 percent response rate. In the second phase, a survey of 266 teachers from 8 of the 28 schools produced 108 returns, a 41 percent response rate. Department chairs reported a major increase in their responsibilities but had not established consensus about what their roles were. Many ranked traditional administrative responsibilities among their main priorities, with communication responsibilities slightly less emphasized. Some chairs reported instructional leadership responsibilities among their highest priority roles; however, teachers did not note this trend. There was no clear relationship between chairs' perceptions of emergent instructional leadership roles and the degree of collegiality within the corresponding department. Teachers said that their needs for "improvement in teaching" and assistance with "assessment techniques" were not being met. Department chairs in schools undergoing restructuring and in nonrestructuring schools did not appear to differ in their perceptions of roles and responsibilities. In conclusion, teacher-leaders should be thoroughly supported and their roles aligned with restructuring goals. Eight tables are included. (Contains 22 references.) (LMI)
Descriptors: Administrator Role, Department Heads, Educational Administration, High Schools, Instructional Leadership, School Restructuring, Tables (Data), Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Leadership, Teacher Response, Teacher Supervision
Institute on Education Reform, University of Kentucky, 101 Taylor Education Building, Lexington, KY 40506-0001.
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Kentucky Univ., Lexington. Inst. on Education Reform.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Kentucky Education Reform Act 1990