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Departments that Work: Building and Sustaining Cultures of Excellence in Academic Programs

ISBN: 978-1-882982-57-8
176 pages
December 2002, Jossey-Bass
Departments that Work: Building and Sustaining Cultures of Excellence in Academic Programs (1882982576) cover image


Evaluation in departments is widespread but often fails to spark positive change. Based on his extensive work with academic departments across the country, Wergin explains that successful department evaluation exists only when faculty and departments have a strong influence on the purposes, processes, and methods of evaluation. The central purpose of Departments That Work is how academic programs can make evaluation more useful and critical reflection more likely.

Topics include:
* How quality has become confused with such concepts as effectiveness, productivity, and marketability and how it might more constructively be conceived as focusing on the engagement of the department with its constituencies
* An examination of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators of faculty work, the concept of organizational motivation, and the factors influencing identification with the institution and motivation to contribute to it
* The three critical factors of effective department evaluation
* How academic leaders can create a culture of engagement
* How to define and negotiate academic values with diverse stakeholders
* How to ask the right questions and collect the right idea
* How to determine standards and make meaning of evaluation data
* An overall summary of specific recommendations for academic leaders and departmental faculty, including an appendix of the constructs presented in each chapter
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Table of Contents

About the Author.



1. The Concept of Academic Quality.

2. Motivation For Quality Work.

3. Evaluating Quality In Academic Programs.

4. Creating the Engaged Department.

5. Negotiating Departmental Values.

6. Finding Evidence of Quality Evidence.

7. Making Meaning of Quality Evidence.

8. Enhancing Departmental Quality.

Appendix. Departments That Work: What They Do.



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Author Information

Jon F. Wergin is professor of educational studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and a senior scholar with the American Association for Higher Education.
He received his PHD in educational psychology in 19734 from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and has been at VCU ever since, serving in both administrative and faculty roles. In 1992 he took a leave from VCU to be the founding director of the American Association for Higher Education's (AAHE) Forum on Faculty roles and Rewards and has continued an active association with AAHE since then, focusing his scholarship on evaluation and change in academic departments. His Monograph, The Collaborative Department (1994), was the first published by AAHE under the auspices of the Forum.
At VCU, Wergin teaches courses in adult and higher education and coordinates the Preparing Future Faculty for the Professions program (funded by FIPSE) though the graduate school. He has won school-wide awards for both teaching (1996) and scholarship (1998). His other books and monographs include Educating Professionals (1993, with Lynn Curry), which won the best Scholarly Publication award from Division I of the American Educational Research Association; Analyzing Faculty Workload (1994); Analyzing an Evaluating Educational research (1996 and 2001, with Jim McMillan); and Departmental Assessment: How Some Campuses are Effectively Evaluating the Collective Work of Faculty (2000, with J. N Swingen), which reports the results of a national survey of  departmental assessment practices for The Pew Charitable Trusts. He has also published numerous journal articles on such topics as professional education, assessment, and the restructuring of faculty work. In 2001-2002 he directed another project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, integrating efforts to assess student learning by the eight regional accrediting associations.
Wergin is past divisional vice president of the American Education l Research Association (Division I Education in the Professions), and has served as chief evaluator of two national centers for research in higher education. He is a distinguished visiting professor at Antioch University's doctoral program in leadership and organizational change and is a member of the National Academy of Higher Education Leadership. He has consulted with dozens of national associations, accrediting bodies, and colleges and universities on issues related to evaluation and change in higher education.
He lives in Richmond with his wife, Paula Horvatich, their two teenage children, and a 1940 Wurlizer Jukebox.
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"Realistic and inspiring, Wergin's book is about how to develop chairs into active and creative leaders who can make a difference in the quality of their departments."
—Estela Mara Bensimon, Professor of Higher Education and Director, Center for Urban Education, University of Southern California
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