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Department Chair #2

Maricela Guzman: Case #3

Characterization of Institution

Regional Comprehensive, State University

Characterization of Department

Ph.D. granted in English
Ph.D. granted in Composition/Rhetoric
M.A. granted in English
M.A. granted in Composition/Rhetoric
B.A. granted in English
B.A. granted in Composition/Rhetoric

(Department Head with a PhD in Composition/Rhetoric)

How would this case turn out in your department?  At your university/college?

Guzman would receive yearly positive reviews and would have been granted tenure without question.

What are the Department Chair’s responsibilities toward Guzman?  Which did she/he fulfill?  Fail?

The Depaartment Chair’s responsibilities are to counsel Guzman and to present Guzman’s case to upper-level administration in a positive light. She seems to have done some of this, but I would question why she did not direct Guzman to publish in a different venue if the ones she was publishing in were problematic to the department.  Perhaps, she should also have informally discussed Guzman’s research more with members of the department before the committee meeting, but since the chair/head gives a separate decision on tenure and promotion, I think there is good reason to avoid informal influence. 

What are the Personnel Committee’s responsibilities toward Guzman?  Which did they fulfill?  Fail?

The Personnel Committee Chair should run the meeting, try to keep tempers cool, and write a report that reflects the spirit of the department.  I don’t think the Chair should influence the voting or discussion, except to keep discussion professional and polite.

What are the responsibilities of the Dean?  Which did she/he fulfill?  Fail?

I’m afraid I don’t see the Dean discussed in this case.

What are Guzman’s responsibilities?  Which did she fulfill?  Fail?

Guzman seems to have done what she was hired to do, publish in her field of expertise.

What went wrong?  What went right?

This problem developed from the absolute start.  The department didn’t respect the work Guzman was doing.  They wanted a more conservative member, and they shouldn’t have hired someone whose work they could not support.  There needed to be a re-education early on if this situation were to have “corrected.”  What went right is the chair of the department showed Guzman that she supported her work and would support her candidacy. 

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