CURRENT ARTICLE • April 28th Managing Student Complaints

Managing Student Complaints

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Knowing how to handle student complaints is an essential skill for department chairs. In an interview with Academic Leader, Patricia Markunas, chair of the Psychology Department at Salem State University, offered advice on minimizing the number of complaints and managing those that do make it to the department chair.

OTHER RECENT ARTICLES

Leading Change Amid Opposition April 24

Leading Change Amid Opposition

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When Amanda Gingery Hostalka became chair of art and visual communication design at Stevenson University, one of her priorities was to make sure that learning outcomes for every track and major aligned with the department’s and institution’s missions. The importance of this task was heightened by the department’s upcoming move into a new building.


Putting Assessment in Its Place April 21

Putting Assessment in Its Place

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What can you do with four minutes?

You can close the report and check the clock, update your to-do list, sort through your mail, or respond to a minor e-mail query. There are many important tasks you can do in four minutes. And if you don’t do them now, you’ll just have to find another four minutes later. Of course, none of this matters if you have plenty of time and too little to do, but most institutions have finite resources and must be deliberate in how they use them. Program assessment presents a special challenge to resource allocation, requiring a similarly deliberate approach.


How Much Does Instruction in Your Program Cost? April 19

How Much Does Instruction in Your Program Cost?

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To manage resources effectively, it’s important to know how much it costs to teach students in your programs. Instructional costs vary from program to program based on class size, faculty salaries, equipment, and technology. And not all programs will generate enough revenue to cover costs. That’s OK as long as those high-cost programs are balanced with “cash cows,” programs that generate more revenue than expenses. Instructional cost data can play an important role in strategic planning.


To MOOC or Not to MOOC? That Is Just One of the April 17

To MOOC or Not to MOOC? That Is Just One of the Questions!

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It seems that each new day brings a barrage of articles regarding massive open online courses (MOOCs) and their successful use in education and business. Both large and small educational institutions feel compelled to respond to internal and external stakeholders about MOOC development, and for those institutions unable to partner with an organization such as Coursera or edX, there can be a number of considerations. Here are some useful questions to ask yourself as you consider MOOC development for your institution.


Six Ways to Ensure a Smooth Chair Transition April 14

Six Ways to Ensure a Smooth Chair Transition

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Faculty members often become chairs under less-than-ideal circumstances or for the wrong reasons. An underprepared faculty member or one with an axe to grind can wreak havoc and lead to frequent department chair turnover. Recognizing this all-too-common cycle, Gian Pagnucci, chair of the English Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Ethan Krase, chair of the English Department at Winona State University, offer the following recommendations to help smooth chair transitions and promote a well-functioning department.


Best Practices for Conducting a Faculty Search April 12

Best Practices for Conducting a Faculty Search

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“The success, stability, and morale of an academic department largely depend on its faculty.” This is according to Thomas Weidner, chairperson of the School of Physical Education, Sport, and Exercise Science, and Samuel Cotton, chairperson of the Department of Technology, of Ball State University. At the 32nd Annual Academic Chairpersons Conference, they shared some of their best practices for conducting a faculty search that will result in a new hire who fits well within the department and will make a lasting contribution to its success.


Locating the Academic Leadership Land Mines April 10

Locating the Academic Leadership Land Mines

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Beginning a position as an academic leader can be challenging under any circumstances. But those challenges increase exponentially when you’re hired into an institution. You enter a world where nearly everyone knows more about most local issues than you do. Alliances have already been formed. Coalitions that stand in opposition to those alliances have emerged. People have strong opinions about what should and shouldn’t be done, and they all have plenty of evidence to support their views. How do you know whom to believe and whom to regard with a bit of skepticism? If you make the wrong choice on an important enough issue, it can make it much harder to accomplish your goals. You can find that people mistakenly believe you’re aligned with this or that faction, causing them to interpret everything you say with a certain degree of distrust. Even in the best of circumstances, being in academic leadership can sometimes feel as though you’re constantly negotiating a minefield. But how do you locate the land mines in new and unfamiliar terrain?


An Intellectual Property Policy for Online Education March 27

An Intellectual Property Policy for Online Education

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Does your institution have an intellectual property policy specific to online courses and course materials? If so, do you know and understand it? Do faculty know it? If faculty receives a financial payment or release time to develop online course materials, does that change who owns the rights to course materials? As the number of online courses and degree programs offered at institutions in higher education continues to expand, intellectual property rights will continue to garner increased attention.