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Department Chair #2

Harrison Spenser: Case #5

Characterization of Institution

Research I University

Characterization of Department

We are not an English Department, although we do teach literature courses.

Our undergrad. major is “Science, Technology, and Culture,” and we offer an M.S. in Information, Design, and Technology.

We also supply the composition and Technical Writing courses required by the Institute

How would Harrison Spenser’s case turn out in your department?  At your university/college?

Without the book, and with a displeased Chair, it might have turned out the same. However, the candidate in the case study did make a good-faith effort to get at least some writing done, and did finish some important computer-based projects. With a carefully chosen P& T committee (assuming they are appointed by the Chair) and equally carefully chosen referees who could understand the relationship between the various parts of the candidate’s work, a case could definitely be made.

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

Chair’s role to be mentor and chief for a new faculty member and continually point out what is required for tenure. That book should have been finished, published and NOT considered a project started before the candidate’s work at the University (if it’s published while the candidate is onboard, it gets the University’s name). More important, a Chair, as eager is he or she might be to get technology rolling in the unit, may not balance the load on the shoulder’s of a junior faculty member. My current thinking, for example, is not to assign a junior faculty member any major non-research duties accept those that the person can show fits into his or her agenda and time. In other words, service is voluntary unless it can be counted into research.

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

Failed to take into account the candidate’s effort to start publishing; failed to make the appropriate argument for the candidate.

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

Of course he should have finished his book; he should also have tried to explain to his Chair that he needed to balance his research with the service. This is easier said than done, since junior faculty are rarely in a position to countermand their Chair.

What are Spenser’s responsibilities?  Which did he fulfill?  Fail?

Inadequate preparation of the candidate by the Chair. Failure to recognize–on someone’s  part–that the new Chair was antagonistic to the candidate. This might be the job of the Dean.

What went wrong?  What went right?

At the risk of repetion: no matter how anxious a department may be to get itself up to speed technologically, it may not do it by ruining the career of a new faculty member.

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