Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education


Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education


Article excerpt

Dear BI Career Consultants:

I want to become head of my department, but I've been having trouble persuading my colleagues that my expertise extends beyond subjects pertaining to people of color. What would you suggest?

DR. RODERICK J. MCDAVIS, dean and professor, College of Education, University of Florida

If you want to become head of your department, you should apply for the position and let your credentials speak for you.

Keep in mind that faculties are different and they look for different qualifies in department heads. Some look for colleagues in specific areas of expertise, while others are more interested in colleagues who possess specific leadership qualifies. Sometimes it is difficult for faculty members in the same department to perceive one of their colleagues, regardless of expertise, as the head of the department. Ultimately, however, deans select people who can provide the best leadership for departments based on the needs of departments at a given time.

My advice is to continue building the credentials necessary to become head of an academic department. To be sure, you should continue your research and scholarly activities, as well as involvement in professional associations as a chair or member of committees and task forces. In addition, you should try to become elected to leadership positions in these associations. You also should volunteer for leadership assignments on a variety of committees or task forces in your department, college, or university. These assignments will demonstrate the breadth of your expertise in other areas and show that your are committed to being a leader for all.

You may have to apply for a department head position at another university. I suggest that you let the dean of your college know that you are interested in becoming a department head in your college or elsewhere.

Deans of colleges always receive announcements about chair positions at other universities. Ask your dean to send you copies of such announcements for your discipline. If you have a good relationship with the dean, you also can ask the dean to nominate you for leadership positions at other universities.

DR. NORMA BURGESS, professor of sociology and chair, Department of Child and Family Studies, Syracuse University

Careers in higher education administration often begin with becoming a department chair. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.