So You Wanna Be Chair? Part 2: Strategies and Resources for Mid-Career Faculty Mentorship

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Careers and Professional Development
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 11:50 AM / 1:05 PM
Room: Capitol Ballroom 3, Hyatt Regency, Fourth Floor
Organizers: Cerian Gibbes, Francis Koti, Kenneth Foote
Chairs: Cerian Gibbes


This session is part of the 2020 Denver AAG Department Leadership Symposium. The symposium will bring together chairs and mid-career faculty to share resources, experiences and also explore best practices for mid-career faculty mentorship and departmental leadership preparation and transition. The symposium consists of two linked sessions. Attendees are encouraged to participate in both sessions.

Most department leadership transition practices involve external chair hire or internal appointment from among current faculty. Where the latter is the case, the selection could involve senior or midcareer faculty. Unfortunately, however, the chairs job is not always understood especially among many mid-career faculty. What most faculty hear about are the negative aspects of a chair’s job including but not limited to unrealistic expectations, too much work and less compensation, student complains, managing crisis all the time, interactions with difficult faculty, limited resources, and declined research productivity. Consequently, very little is known about the positive aspects of the job to the extent that majority mid-career faculty are either unmotivated to seek administrative roles or are simply disinterested on the basis of saving their professional careers.

Session 2 Strategies and Resources for Mid-Career Faculty Mentorship will involve breakout sessions where chairs and mid-career faculty will work in groups to address specific aspects of a chairs job and potential strategies for mid-career development. The breakout sessions will be guided by the following questions:
•What changes in support and mentorship are mid-career faculty seeking?
•What is the area of greatest anxiety among midcareer faculty with regard to department leadership ambitions?
•What are some successful leadership transition models?
•When has good leadership impacted your individual success? The success of your department?
•Describe a time when you or another faculty member exhibited effective or visionary leadership. What made that leadership possible?
•What is one thing that would support the emergence of more mid-career faculty ready to enter department leadership roles with a positive mindset?
•What are some best practices in mid-career mentorship for department leadership?

Groups will then report back to the larger audience reports of their discussions focusing on best practices and positive experiences. It is expected that participating chairs will share experiences and also gain insights into best practices regarding mid-career faculty mentorship and department leadership preparation and transition. On the other hand, mid-career faculty will learn about positive aspects about what department chairs do, available resources, and debunk myths about common (mis)perceptions about the chairs job.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Jessica Salo University of Northern Colorado 15
Panelist Bryan Wee University of Colorado Denver 15
Panelist Sarah Smiley Kent State University 15
Panelist Gang Chen University of North Carolina at Charlotte 15

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