from the CHE:
The job of a department chair is one of the most demanding on the campus. Chairs serve as a buffer between the faculty and the administration. The essence of the role is to protect and support the department’s faculty, both the full-timers and the adjuncts.
A lot of the chair’s work involves clearing obstacles that prevent people from thriving. The more that faculty members were unencumbered, I found, the better they were able to teach, do service work, and be productive researchers. If they needed something to help them succeed, like more space, or money, or time, I would do my best to get those things for them, and that became a major source of my own job satisfaction.
Complaints about tenure discrimination, harassment, bullying, unfair allocations of resources may mention the at least unhelpful chair. I myself will never forget the (fortunately distant) chair who said of a dean, “The dean is my boss; I must do what he says.” So I’m wondering, are there chairs like the above in philosophy? Can we use them? I mean at least get a sense of who they are and whether they like help in areas where we (broadly understood to include the CSW and others) have expertise?
I’ve been wondering about civility in our part of the academy (search under “mobbing” if you are curious). Perhaps we could get some people who’d be prepared to have role in a civility project.