The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 21st, 2014
In the perhaps naïve belief that no one at my institution reads my
columns (go on, prove me wrong), I have decided to spend some time
reflecting on my current state of uncertainty as a middle manager who
doesn’t know who her next boss will be.
Waiting out the search for your new boss is unnerving. Because when
you’re a dean, your boss makes a big difference in how you do your
job—and, sometimes, in how well you do your job. Tenure-line faculty
members don’t have bosses. Administrators really, really do.
In an academic department, your boss is your department chair—and
that might someday be you. Department chairs are drafted or elected or
take their turns in rotation, and they usually slide back into their
normal roles as department members after. Knowing that someone down the
hall will be your next boss serves a real function in keeping most of us
honest as department chairs. The colleague you offend today could be
your chair in a few years.