Chair of the Department

There is one common misconception on this whole Ward Churchill brouhaha that I’d like to clear up: being chair of the department is not “the pinnacle of the faculty” as Horowitz alleges. In fact, in many departments no one wants to be chair because the Chair has to deal with all the bureaucratic issues, scheduling issues and faculty issues that arise. To the layman it sounds impressive, but to the academic, the serious academic, it is a lot more work that only succeeds in getting folks (i.e. your colleagues, generally) mad at you.

6 Responses to “Chair of the Department”

  1. Ken Summers says:

    And the minivan-driving WalMart greeter knows this how?

  2. NJ Sue says:

    Depending on where you work, being chair of a university dept. involves doing a lot of administrative grunt work (scheduling, hiring adjuncts, going to meetings, getting funding for your dept., writing reports etc.) that takes away time from scholarly pursuits. The chair has to physically be there to handle complaints and problems from parents and students, disgruntled faculty, awards ceremonies and luncheons, visiting dignitaries etc. The chair also gives the final word on political situations that can alienate a lot of colleagues. So, no, it’s not exactly desirable. Academic “stars’ want to write books and attend conferences, not haggle about the number of adjuncts the university will allow your dept. to hire this semester.

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    i have my sources ken.
    and i’ve been promoted to bagger.

  4. Ken Summers says:

    [grumble] Crap. Still trying to keep up with the Bingleys.

  5. Crusader says:

    While all that you say is true, does 95% of the population, perhaps more, realize that? No, and this is a perfect example of perception being reality, as people will take notice if you say that you are the dept chair, regardless of what the other profs think of the positions desirability. It carries a certain ‘important’ sound to it; so the laymen attach a respect to it that, if what you say is true (and I believe it is), is undeserved, but attached and given nonetheless. While knowledge is power, sometimes the greater power is most peoples lack of knowledge.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    That is true, sir. Ignorance is…amiss?

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