In national surveys, department chairs consistently list ‘managing crises’ and ‘managing conflict’ among their top 10 areas of concern. Chairs rarely receive any training about responding to departmental conflict, illegal behavior, campus violence, the death of a faculty member or student, or situations that garner public attention. When crises hit, courses still need to be scheduled, budget documents still need to be signed, emails responded to, etc. The smaller fires don’t go away when bigger ones take precedence. Instead, the chair must keep up with the usual daily tasks while addressing the more emotionally consuming problems of difficult colleagues, angry protests from the community, memorial services, distressed students or dysfunctional staff relationships. How do chairs cope with crises and emerge even stronger? How do departments cope? Some of the answers lie in what we do before a problem ever begins.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michelle_payne/14/