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Monday, May 27, 2019

Thoughts for an incoming department chair

Earlier this year, a former advisee indicated his department was interested in having him serve as chair and asked me for some advice. I sent along the following thoughts that came quickly to mind and perhaps some might be helpful to other aspiring department chairs.  

1. Everyone has a story and a history. Try to get some sense of it. Ideally, that means sitting down with everyone — certainly faculty, but staff also — and listen and learn how things are going for them and what would improve their quality of professional life. The question “how can I be helpful to you,” or some variant, goes a long way. This should all happen either before you begin or in the first weeks after you begin.