Department Chair Leadership Skills
Walter H. Gmelch and
Val D. Miskin
Authors Gmelch and
Miskin have focused their academic careers on supporting and training
chairs for one of the most challenging jobs in academia. Both have
written extensively and have conducted training workshops throughout the
country. Here they focus their efforts on the specific skills needed by
chairs in order to effectively lead their departments.
In the first chapter,
authors Gmelch and Miskin, clearly assert their concern for chairs and
for their work:
The time of “amateur administration”—where
professors play musical chairs, stepping occasionally into the role of
department chair—is over. Too much is at stake in this time of change
and challenge to let leadership be left to chance or taking turns. The
department chair position is the most critical role in the university,
and the most unique management position in America.…
The search for solutions to academia’s
leadership dilemma leads us to realize that the academic leader is the
least studied and most misunderstood management position in America.
Leadership in academia
has evolved into a complex array of specialized skills. For department
chairs, this book becomes an individual leadership seminar, complete
with strategies and exercises that will foster growth and encourage
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