Guided tour of my service and institutional development work V

III. Leadership in Regular Service

(continuing a guided tour of my work presented in the spirit that service and institutional development can also be practically and theoretically coherent)

1. Department
Once I began to serve as interim Department Chair in 2006, I solicited overdue administrative matters from department members (such as, honoraria not yet received for guests speakers in classes), but then invited each faculty member to meet for a chat about their work, keeping administrative matters off the agenda. I learned so much about the experience and motivation of colleagues, including part-timers, who met with me and was embarrassed how much I hadn’t known. When I subsequently articulated priorities for department members “when faced with competing demands on our work time” (Table 2), I saw that I had addressed priority #2 when setting out to clear up the administrative backlog and priority #3 when inviting colleagues to talk about their work and lives.

Other steps I took relate to the “Qualities to Pursue in Service and Institutional Development” (table 1), such as:
• establishing a departmental wiki to make information about committee assignments and established procedures accessible (e.g., College guidelines for personnel reviews) and keep a record of meetings for those who couldn’t attend or who came later [qualities of: documenting, transparency, organization].
• combining information and news in regular email bulletins (backed up on the wiki), eliminating the time-consuming information-transmitting part of meetings and making room for more learning more about each others’ work and lives [organization and community-building]
• instituting the required (but rarely undertaken) annual staff reviews so as to provide a basis for improvement (or, if need be, dismissal) [documenting]
articulating the principles that might govern our departmental work, both at the particular level of equitable committee assignments and the more visionary level (such as Table 2) [probing].
Perhaps most importantly, I created a well-organized CD of relevant documents, spreadsheets, etc. for each of the three subsequent Chairs and made time to support their learning and planning [documenting, organization].

2. College
Similar qualities informed my leadership of the College Curriculum Committee (2000-2, 2005-6) and College Personnel Committee in 2003 and 2008-10 (especially when some contentious issues of process arose), as well as many personnel reviews at the Department and College level.

3. Modeling and mentoring in teaching innovation and administration
Documentation of tools and processes from the Critical & Creative Thinking Graduate Program,, especially the book manuscript, Taking Yourself Seriously.
AQUAD reviews and reports between reviews for CCT and LTET, and (2002-present)
Teaching for Transformation and other C.I.T. sessions (incl. 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010)
Academic Life wiki entries (including entries on e-etiquette, consensus decision-making, collegiality),
Teaching as Reflective practice session for pre-tenured faculty,
Probe-Create Change-Reflect blog, (2010-present)

Notes on consensus decision-making
Some practices and principles that help a department be supportive, collegial, and congenial
What comes first — a hierarchy of responsibilities
What principles govern our service in the institution
Etiquette in email-mediated interactions
Administrators’ Responsibilities
Guidelines for educationally justified and sustainable choices of when and how to integrate technologies
Virtual Office
Use of wikis
Themes, Practices, Resources for Faculty-initiated Mentoring

5. Mid-career student and faculty professional development at UMass Boston
Directing the Graduate Program in Critical & Creative Thinking (1999-2004, 2007-)
Task Force on Educational Technology, MEET Technology fellow, Instructional Technology Center Senior Fellowship (2000-2)
Co-organizing the initial site visit that secured the initial $350K Ford Foundation grant for N.E.C.I.T. (2002)
Co-organizing and co-leading the Curriculum Development workshops for the Education for Sustainability Initiative (2002-3)
Initiating and leading the Intercollege Faculty Seminar in Humanities and Sciences (since 2004)
Teaching across colleges (at various levels) and across campuses (since 2005)
Initiating and leading the Health In Society Research Discussion Group (2007-9)
Preparing a proposal for a Transdisciplinary Research Workshop (2008)
Co-organizing and co-leading the CCT Network (online and monthly events that connect current and former students of CCT) (since 2008)
Organizing and sometimes leading a Writing Support Group for graduate students (2009-11)
Leading a C.I.T. faculty seminar on “Engaging Students in a Changing University” (2010)


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor teaches and directs programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context as well as innovation in teaching, group process, and interdisciplinary collaboration (see He is especially interested in conversations with others who are, in diverse ways, "troubled by heterogeneity" (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: