Desirable Qualities of our Service in an Academic Institution

In an academic institutions service is acknowledged, but principles that govern service are rarely articulated or used to take stock of how we could improve.  Our efforts can be thought of as Building Supportive Communities that are characterized by:

  • planning that takes into account the often-limited and uncertain state of resources, guides where we put our not-unlimited energies, and seeks to make the result sustainable or cumulative.
  • community-building, not only for the sake of a sustainable product, but so participants/ collaborators value their involvement in the process.
  • probing what has been taken for granted or left unarticulated until coherent principles emerge to guide our efforts.
  • transparency and inclusiveness of consultation in formulating procedures and principles and in making evaluations available.
  • documenting process, product, and evaluations to make institutional learning more likely.
  • organization, including efficient use of computer technology, to support all of the above.
  • taking care for colleagues’ reputations when disputes arise, especially colleagues coming up for or currently under review.
  • equity in relation to explicit guidelines (thus eliminating suspicions of favoritism).

Extracted from http://ptaylor.wikispaces.umb.edu/AcademicLife

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The responsibilities that accompany the power of an academic administrator

The responsibilities that accompany the power of an academic administrator in any unit include to:

  • show respect for people’s individual career and life projects
  • support the people to do the best work they can within constrained circumstances
  • support faculty members preserve a balance between scholarship, service, and teaching even if that means we set limits and forego worthwhile opportunities
  • promote mentoring and sharing of innovations and achievements
  • consult and listen
  • be transparent and inclusive in consultation re: formulating and deciding on procedures and proposed changes in procedures
  • be careful and efficient with administrative detail
  • make institutional learning possible through documentation of the outcome of deliberations about procedures
  • be organized so that there is sufficient time for careful reviews, searches, consideration of procedural changes, etc. and a fair division of labor in this work
  • model e-etiquette in email discussions (e.g., treating communication as private unless sent to a group as a whole)
  • take care for colleagues’ reputations when disputes arise, especially colleagues coming up for or currently under review. (This requires attention to what is documented and accessible to all involved, and avoidance of hearsay.)
  • heal wounds
  • make one’s own objectives explicit (over and above the ones here)
  • report regularly to the unit on progress on each of these objectives (one’s own and the objectives here)
  • evaluate staff that you supervise at regular intervals in a way that supports their improvement and follows the necessary procedures if any staff member is not able to fulfill their duties and needs to be dismissed
  • establish supervision of staff at the level as close as possible to the people served and a systematic means of feedback to the supervisor from those served. (E.g., staff serving a departmental program might formally report to the Department chair, but the chair could delegate supervision to the program director.)
  • hold up these principles to higher administrators

The responsibilities that accompany the power of an academic administrator in the College of Ed ( a college that, where I work, consists almost exclusively of a number of distinct Masters and doctoral programs) include to:

  • promote a vision of the Departments and College that does not subordinate the non-PEU (accreditation unit) programs to the requirements of the PEU programs
  • highlight the distinctive contributions of the smaller programs to counterbalance the numerical and institutional dominance of the larger PEU programs
  • promote, not suppress programs as the basic units through which students are educated in the College of Ed, which means departments can help in coordinating programs but cannot supplant them
  • promote Departmental visions that are distinct from, but support, those of the individual programs
  • respect program faculty members’ role as the people able to decide how best to pursue that mission within the constraints of the limited resources available
  • recognize the work of the faculty with lead responsibility in the programs (whatever name is now given to that position) in words, communication of information, consultation and planning, reviews for merit and promotion
  • make explicit the rationale for allocation of resources among the Department and programs and move towards equity based on that rationale
  • develop “apprenticeship” relations so that faculty can apply for leave without worrying that responsibilities they have been fulfilling might be neglected in their absence
  • establish procedures and practices that allowed us to communicate and work very efficiently with the reduced resources available. (In particular, each Program should establish a detailed set of web- or wiki-pages to streamline advising)
  • support educational transformation and not simply accommodate to the dominant, regressive forces buffeting public education
  • actively engage in inner-urban education and communities

Extracted from http://ptaylor.wikispaces.umb.edu/Administration

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