Being a Young Chair: Advice I Wish I’d Received

Whoever said “Age ain’t nothing but a number” certainly never served as a division chair. I am equally certain that few division chairs have ever thought, “When I grow up, I plan on being the youngest chair in my division.” Yet after moving up the ranks from adjunct instructor to full-time faculty member to program coordinator, I found myself unenthusiastically assuming the crown jewel of academic management: division chairperson. In light of my youth, I wondered whether some faculty members expected me to use a high chair. My self-doubt and lack of information forced me to honestly assess my credentials, higher education skill set, and leadership abilities. There were lingering questions: Could I be an effective division chair? Was I simply too inexperienced? What would happen if I failed miserably? How could I address my self-doubt while gaining the confidence of others?

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