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Working with Problem Faculty: A Six-Step Guide for Department Chairs

ISBN: 978-1-118-28501-5
240 pages
July 2012, Jossey-Bass
Working with Problem Faculty: A Six-Step Guide for Department Chairs (1118285018) cover image


Department chairs name “difficult people” or “problem faculty” as the most pressing issue they face. Coming into the position from a faculty role, as most do, department chairs have little or no training in dealing with their colleagues when they exhibit aggressive behavior, bullying, lack of collegiality, or other varieties of challenging behavior. Yet the chair’s ability to handle people and situations appropriately is key not just to his or her success in the role but also to the department’s and its members’ ability to function productively. Here, Kent Crookston provides a practical, focused, on-the-ground approach to help chairs learn to deal with challenging colleagues. Based on the literature in the field as well as on his own research and experience, he outlines six steps for successfully dealing with any kind of a challenging colleague.
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Table of Contents

Problem Faculty: The Number One Concern of America’s Academic Chairs 1

Part One The Six Steps

1. Step 1: Clarify Values and Expectations 11

2. Step 2: Follow Policy 27

3. Step 3: Build Trust with Colleagues 37

4. Step 4: Evaluate Yourself and Your Perceptions 53

5. Step 5: Listen 69

6. Step 6: Take Effective Action 87

Part Two Tough Questions

7. What About the Chronic Poor Performer? 113

8. What About the Passive-Aggressive Colleague? 121

9. What About Bullies? 131

10. What About the Problem Characters Who Emerge During Times of Change? 149

11. What About the Psychologically Impaired? 163
Carolyn Oxenford and Sally Kuhlenschmidt

Conclusion 191

Appendix A Sample Vision and Mission Statement 193

Appendix B Sample No-Bullying Policy 199

Appendix C Faculty Behaviors That May

Suggest a Mental Health Problem 203

Acknowledgments 211

The Author 213

Index 215

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Author Information

R. Kent Crookston is the director of the Academic Administrative Support Program at the Brigham Young University Faculty Center. In addition to researching academic administration, he currently researches and teaches effective decision-making.

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