ERIC Number: EJ926244
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Reference Count: 14
Opinion: How to Destroy an English Department
Hall, Donald E.
College English, v73 n5 p538-547 May 2011
Many teachers have known of (or been members of) departments in which all of the potentially successful chairs--after having proven themselves by running subunits or graduate programs--have decided to devote themselves solely to research or teaching, and to leave department administration to whoever is willing to do it or whoever can be talked into it. Disaster almost invariably ensues. In such cases, the "blame" for the havoc that is wreaked is not so easy to pinpoint as it would be in the case of the nefarious dean or provost, for it is shared by all of the competent members of the department who refuse to step forward and perform their civic duty. In such cases, nonaction is a form of action, and passivity means culpability. In this essay, the author presents an overview, gleaned through years of observation and experience, of things never to do as a department chair or head. He explores monologic attitudes and behaviors that are designed to make everyone "sweat" and undermine any possibility of a healthy community. He offers a 14-step guide on how to destroy a department.
Descriptors: Higher Education, English Departments, Department Heads, Administrator Role, Job Skills, Politics of Education, Group Dynamics, Power Structure, College Faculty, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Leadership Styles, Conflict, Administrator Behavior, Figurative Language, Leadership Effectiveness, Personality Traits
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site: http://www.ncte.org/journals
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A