ERIC Number: ED430493
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Becoming a Department Chair: Negotiating the Transition from Scholar to Administrator.
Gmelch, Walter H.; Parkay, Forrest W.
The Beginning Department Chair Study used qualitative methodology to examine the developing identities of 13 new department chairs at 10 public and private colleges and universities in eight states. Data were gathered during on-site semistructured interviews (approximately two per month) during the chair's first year and periodic telephone interviews. In addition, related material such as departmental memos, planning documents, newsletters, and program descriptions were collected. Analysis revealed that the beginning chairs experienced moderate to severe difficulty in making the transition into their new roles. Some of these difficulties stemmed from role conflict and/or role ambiguity experienced by the chairs. Two case studies are offered and analyzed to illustrate the six problematic role changes reported by subjects: (1) from solitary to social, (2) from focused to fragmented, (3)from autonomy to accountability, (4) from manuscripts to memoranda, (5) from stability to mobility, and (6) from client to custodian. The paper concludes that beginning chairs should be provided with support, mentoring, and time- and stress-management workshops. In addition, chairs should be encouraged to implement the following "balancing strategies": restructure the problem, purge unnecessary "adminstrivia," reverse the hierarchy, protect scholarship interests, and train for leadership. (Contains 37 references.) (DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Ontario, April 19-23, 1999).