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This section provides advice on roles and actions for department chairs, heads, or other leaders to consider when guiding or facilitating departmental activities and directions. Topics include providing leadership in building and maintaining relationships, overseeing critical processes, managing tasks and personnel, providing stewardship of resources and personnel, and building an inclusive and reflective climate in the pursuit of student and faculty success.
Building a thriving physics program depends on broadly respected leadership to guide and focus activities that efficiently achieve and effectively advocate for commonly held goals and interests. Such leadership leads to programs that are resilient and forward thinking and that build satisfaction among students, faculty, staff, institutional leaders, and other stakeholders. Effective leaders can help position a department to be recognized for and achieve gains in student learning, post-graduate success, research impact, and community engagement. This section will help chairs:
- Manage the job of being a chair: Effective leadership requires building a shared sense of ownership in outcomes, thoughtful planning, collaboration, and distributing responsibilities to share the workload and make use of each department member’s strengths.
- Communicate effectively: A skilled communicator builds trust and support, creating opportunities for constructive dialog, enabling your department to achieve its fullest potential while transparently navigating difficult conversations and issues.
- Develop relationships within and beyond your department: Positive relationships help build teams with diverse talents and perspectives that enable your department to leverage strengths and meet challenges.
- Foster an inclusive culture and climate: A positive and respectful working and learning environment enables your department and all of its members to achieve their fullest potential.
- Address challenging behavior: Finding creative ways to engage all members of your department sometimes requires specific strategies to understand feelings of disenfranchisement, acknowledge disparate viewpoints, and offer an opportunity to participate in and contribute to departmental activities.
- Establish and sustain a culture of cyclic internal review: Reflective departments engage in thoughtful and regular incremental improvement that helps address challenges and communicate strengths.
- Hire strategically: A strong and diverse faculty and staff underlies the success and long term health of any department.
- Facilitate and support professional development: Ongoing, reflective development helps department members achieve and be recognized for professional excellence.
- Manage and advocate for resources: Thoughtful and savvy negotiation for and stewardship of resources helps build and sustain a thriving program.
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