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Seven Things I Wish My Department Chair Would Say about Teaching

Institutional Culture Leadership and Management

Seven Things I Wish My Department Chair Would Say about Teaching

things department chairs could say about teaching that faculty would love to hear
Several years ago, I wrote a post for my blog that listed things department chairs could say about teaching that faculty would love to hear. Of course, to be meaningful, the comments should reflect actual policies and practices that would improve teaching and promote learning, plus make faculty happy.

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[dropcap]S[/dropcap]everal years ago, I wrote a post for my blog that listed things department chairs could say about teaching that faculty would love to hear. Of course, to be meaningful, the comments should reflect actual policies and practices that would improve teaching and promote learning, plus make faculty happy. A more supportive environment for teaching often involves big changes at the institutional level and new approaches that break with old traditions, which means angst for those who lead and reluctance among some who follow. However, some of what supports better teaching doesn’t involve big changes and could be accomplished without a lot of brouhaha. There’s some of both on this list. To set the stage, let’s imagine that this department head works at an institution where budgets are tight, everyone works hard at recruitment, and there’s a commitment to retention and student success. Teaching is an important part of the institution’s mission. We also must be realistic about what academic leaders at the departmental level can do, given the constraints and responsibilities of the position on most college campuses today. Like teaching, leadership is not an easy job either. A final note to readers: What things might a faculty member say about teaching that a department chair would like to hear? Share your suggestions and I’ll be more than happy to put them together and post them in my Teaching Professor column: “For Those Who Teach.” And thanks, in advance. Maryellen Weimer is a professor emerita of teaching and learning at Penn State Berks and is the editor of The Teaching Professor newsletter since 1987.