Bridging the Gap:
Technology, and Organizational Change for Deans and Department Chairs
Michael J. Johnson, Donald E. Hanna, and Don Olcott, Jr.
When we think of leadership – in academe or
elsewhere – we tend to envision it coming either from the very top or
from the grassroots level. But as the authors write in Bridging the
Gap, “the most important leadership in the academy emanates from the
center” – that is, from you and your colleagues who serve as the
chairpersons of academic departments or the deans of academic
divisions. “Deans and chairpersons seldom get the glory and the
press,” the authors note, “but they and their units are the heart and
soul of the modern college and university.”
As a dean or chair, you have an enormous
responsibility – and opportunity – to lead dynamic change within your
unit. But how do you do that without alienating your faculty
colleagues and throwing out what’s already working? How do you mix the
best of the old with the best of the new? The key is to simultaneously
manage three interconnected dimensions of organizational change in the
academic setting: leadership, technology, and culture.
Bridging the Gap shows you how to do just
that – using a theoretical perspective in the early chapters followed
by a unique practical approach in the later chapters that features the
real-life experiences and advice of deans and chairpersons who were
interviewed specifically for this book. You’ll learn about:
- The forces that are placing pressure
on universities to change.
- The normative values and
organizational characteristics of the academy, and how they either
impede or facilitate change.
- What these normative values and
organizational characteristics will look like in the
- The roles you’ll play as a dean or
chairperson in facilitating change in an environment of global
markets, unprecedented competition, rapid technological advances,
increasingly selective consumers, changing faculty roles, and a
society that wants its college graduates to have “real-world” work
As an academic leader, the authors write,
you “must find ways to merge historic traditions with new ideas and, in
the process, lead us toward a new era for the teaching and learning
institution.” Bridging the Gap will be the start of your journey toward
thoughtful, effective change.