ERIC Number: EJ1001220
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr-8
Faculty Members Can Lead, but Will They?
Barden, Dennis M.; Curry, Janel
Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr 2013
Colleges and universities looking to recruit leaders from within the faculty ranks will face more and more difficulty. From their respective positions--as a provost (Janel) and a search consultant (Dennis)--they often hear senior executives in higher education say that building a new generation of faculty leaders will be a major challenge in the next decade. They hear the same thing from trustees and members of search committees seeking college and university leaders. At stake is the effective governance of the academy. All too often in academe, taking an appointment as department chair is seen as a demotion or simply a temporary term of service. Those who do become chairs are thought to be sacrificing what they want for what the institution decides it needs. Department chairs see themselves as mere paper-pushers rather than leaders. That represents a lost opportunity, because they are on the first crucial step toward leadership on campus. Decision-making structures in higher education also contribute to limited leadership development for faculty members. Faculty members must accept that change is the norm. Higher education is going through significant changes at a fast pace. Some faculty members simply do not comprehend how challenging the times are. Governing boards may grasp that better, but they have difficulty understanding the decision-making culture of academe. The question is: Can faculty members lead in this context of rapid change? The times demand a different sort of academic leader, one adept at strategy. Can this culture be changed? The authors believe it can, but it will take intentional action on the part of the faculty and those in administration. Structures need to be developed that provide professors with meaningful opportunities to learn vision-setting, strategic planning, and budgeting at the departmental level. But it will also take a change on the part of faculty. What is needed are breed of professors who will not nurture antipathy toward leadership. Maybe the immediacy of the leadership dilemma will galvanize faculties and administrations alike to re-examine their prejudices. Then again, maybe this culture is too entrenched, and higher education will have to continue looking beyond the traditional faculty for its leaders. Either way, one thing is clear: Faculty members can lead. Everything they need is available to them. The future of leadership in the academy, then, turns on that latter question: Will they?
Descriptors: Higher Education, College Faculty, Governing Boards, Search Committees (Personnel), Leadership, Strategic Planning, Department Heads, College Administration, Budgeting, Teacher Attitudes, Decision Making, Governance
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A