• October 31, 2014
October 31, 2014, 1:46:04 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: A distraction or opportunity?  (Read 2712 times)
noof_
Newphd_turned
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,236


« on: December 03, 2012, 4:41:07 PM »

I am being heavily recruited for a department head position at an R1. Aside from my initial skepticism about any department that has to hire a head from outside, I am not sure that now is a good time to pursue a career move. I am thisclose to tenure at my current institution.

That said, the other school is commuting distance from where I live, and I know a couple of people in the department; they are good people. I am told tenure and promotion would automatically come with the hire. The department is half the size of my current one and does not have a PhD program. For context: it is pretty much a professional degree program (ie. basketweaving vs. philosophy of basketweaving). My preliminary impression is I would have the opportunity to work with doctoral students in other departments within the college. There are a few faculty in the department who teach graduate seminars. I think the department (college and institution) is a great fit for my work and life goals.

I have so many questions, but let me start by asking:

(1) are there certain questions I should ask the department (or myself) before applying?
(2) aside from a crap load of meetings, what are some of the other pitfalls of being head?
(3) if you were hired as department head/chair, how were things different once your post ended?


Logged
hegemony
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,209


« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2012, 8:14:00 PM »

Just to note that it is exponentially harder to move after tenure.  So in terms of career progression, this may indeed be the optimum time to make a move.  Of course you may have other considerations.
Logged

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
noof_
Newphd_turned
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,236


« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 2:49:25 AM »

Good point.
Logged
nocalprof
Senior member
****
Posts: 797


« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 8:33:41 AM »

Why would they heavily recruit someone so junior to take over as chair?  If they're going to bother bringing in a new person, why aren't they looking for someone more senior?  At least tenured for a few years - it sounds like you're still an assistant prof.  I assume you don't have any administrative experience?

I'd want to know what the trajectory of the department is - what is your vision for the department and what tools will the admin give you to guide the program?  Is this a sinking ship?  Is there a future for the program?
Logged
pink_
Empress &
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,922


« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 9:55:13 AM »

Hi Noof!

Sometimes bring a head of dept in from outside isn't at all a sign of dysfunction.  I don't have much else useful to add here since we are in very different fields and at very different kinds of institutions, but getting tenure & promotion as part of the hire vs having to go through the whole process (even if it is a no-brainer) would be really nice. The TAP process is inherently stressful, and obviously there is no guarantee until it is completed. 

But your question about whether this is an opportunity or a distraction really depends on the kind of work you want to do. If you think you might like administration and a chance to ease up a bit on the research, this sounds like a great opportunity. If you would prefer to keep doing what you are doing with your research and teaching, this would give you less time, perhaps significantly less time, to do so.

I am not a chair, but I did take on a significant administrative position at my SLAC last year, so I do have some sense of what you are trying to choose between. Feel free to PM if you want.
Logged

bevo98
Old but
Senior member
****
Posts: 725

Dr. Pepper


« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 10:40:01 AM »

Why would they heavily recruit someone so junior to take over as chair?  If they're going to bother bringing in a new person, why aren't they looking for someone more senior?  At least tenured for a few years - it sounds like you're still an assistant prof.  I assume you don't have any administrative experience?

I'd want to know what the trajectory of the department is - what is your vision for the department and what tools will the admin give you to guide the program?  Is this a sinking ship?  Is there a future for the program?

These are my questions as well.  Although looking outside does not necessarily mean dysfunctional, the idea that they are going for a junior hire without tenure is somewhat disconcerting. 
Logged

How you expect to run with the wolves come night when you spend all day sportin' with puppies?  Omar Little
noof_
Newphd_turned
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,236


« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 1:02:31 PM »

Why would they heavily recruit someone so junior to take over as chair?  If they're going to bother bringing in a new person, why aren't they looking for someone more senior? 

Exactly. I'm going to talk to some folks familiar with the program to get their take. I will also call a friend who became head upon getting tenure in a department of similar size.

Thanks, Pink. I'll PM you.
Logged
larryc
Troll Proof
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 22,996

Be excellent to each other.


WWW
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2012, 2:19:06 PM »

An R1 is going to hire an untenured junior faculty member with tenure as part of the offer? Really?

This all sounds odd. It may be legit, it may be a great opportunity, but be careful. Even if it is legit it is easy to get flattered into agreeing to things that one should have turned down. "Noof, you are so clever, so brilliant, such a breath of fresh air, won't you take our job?"

Do you want to be a chair--apparently forever? Do you want to make the shift to quasi-administration? What is best for Noof?
Logged

Trolling for sex is not what this forum is all about.
busyslinky
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,729


« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 3:19:31 PM »

Like others have said...very strange.

Who is doing the 'heavy recruiting'?  Sometimes search firms (headhunters) are scrounging up applicants.

To answer your questions.

I would ask whether it is a year-round position or how many months.  You may still have to teach and research.
The duties and reporting structure, your staff and reporting structure.
How will you be evaluated and performance requirements.

Pitfalls? Don't expect too much academic promotion after your initial appointment especially if you want to be a full professor at an R1 (whether or not your department has a Ph.D. program).

 

Logged

Such a wonderful toy!
noof_
Newphd_turned
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,236


« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2012, 5:07:42 PM »

Perhaps strongly encouraged to apply (by someone on the search committee) is more accurate than heavily recruited.

Even if it is legit it is easy to get flattered into agreeing to things that one should have turned down. "Noof, you are so clever, so brilliant, such a breath of fresh air, won't you take our job?"

Oh, I am not easily flattered and will say no when necessary. I also seek guidance from much wiser and seasoned people when I'm uncertain about a situation. Like now. Thank you for chiming in, Larry.

Don't expect too much academic promotion after your initial appointment especially if you want to be a full professor at an R1 (whether or not your department has a Ph.D. program).

Ever?  I have no delusions about doing research or getting much publishing (if any) done while department head. Couldn't I rebuild my research once the post is over? I've read it is reasonably routine to get a sabbatical post chair, just for that purpose. Great questions should I apply and get an interview.

I keep looking for reasons *not* to apply. As I dig deeper I only discover more reasons why I should at least go through the application process. Based on a phone conversation today, I feel less weirded-out about the department, reasons for outside search, and my eligibility. I want to talk to one more person; then I'll decide whether or not to apply.
Logged
larryc
Troll Proof
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 22,996

Be excellent to each other.


WWW
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 5:14:01 PM »

AFTDJ, of course. AFTDJ is always the answer.
Logged

Trolling for sex is not what this forum is all about.
busyslinky
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,729


« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2012, 8:34:31 PM »

I don't think any one here has stated that you shouldn't apply for the job.

You asked for pitfalls, and there are some.  One is the difficulty of being in an administrative position for years, if we assume that this position will be for at least 5 years as an external non-rotating chair position.  It will be hard to keep your research going (not impossible but difficult) as you take a couple years to learn the ropes and then get things done for another few.  Sometimes it is difficult to pick up where you left off on your research. 

Also, the second part of the pitfall of non-promotion is that you will have to eventually make some difficult decision(s) or maybe a non-decision that might upset some more senior people who will be voting on your promotion in the future.  It is not easy or fun saying 'no', especially when you are forced to do so.

And there are probably more pitfalls, go in with your eyes wide open, as has been mentioned here already.

Now, I would particularly want to know why this SC friend is recruiting me so heavily.  Why does he believe that you are a very suitable person for this position?  You should ask this directly so you can play up this advantage(s) to the rest of the committee and administrators.

It does seem like a dream position to be brought in to be head of department at a RU/VH university, almost too good to be true.  I would definitely apply given it is closer to where you want to be.  The best of all worlds.

Logged

Such a wonderful toy!
prytania3
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 44,063

Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2012, 2:39:26 PM »

Noof, read Larry's thread on M&G: One-way career doors.

Just something to think about.
Logged

I'm not a narcissist. I'm just angry and violent.
noof_
Newphd_turned
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,236


« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2012, 10:23:18 PM »

I don't think any one here has stated that you shouldn't apply for the job.

No, no one here stated I shouldn't apply for the job. *I* was not initially convinced I should apply for the job. My life is pretty full (and mostly satisfying), and I didn't see the point in taking time away from writing to apply for a suspicious-sounding position. I'm past that now.

Noof, read Larry's thread on M&G: One-way career doors.

Just something to think about.

Thanks, Pry. I'll head over there now.
Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.