Nails on a Chalkboard: Revolutionizing Faculty Leadership

Nails on a Chalkboard: Revolutionizing Faculty Leadership

Renée L. Cambiano, Jacob A. Murphy, Dana Eversole
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2410-7.ch009
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This chapter examines faculty leadership from the perspective of the historical context, the role of faculty, the current landscape of faculty leadership, the critical climate of higher education, and looking into the future. The authors provide a plan to foster faculty leadership through the Trilateral Mentorship Model and the CEM Leadership Framework to facilitate institutional leaders in preparing and cultivating the next generation of faculty leaders. Through these models, silos will start to diminish.
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In the depths of higher education, people serve constituents daily through layers of bureaucracy. Typically, the layers are boundaries developed by the leaders and carried out by those who follow. Ensuring job security by the detailed avenues of the job. When organizations have layers and silos usually everyone is so busy doing their own job, that they fail to see the mission of the organization or what others are doing. Organizations are mysterious, complex, ambiguous, and uncertain (Bolman & Deal, 1991) and when you add thinkers to the mix, that are trained in a content and their job is to disseminate to students what they know, these layers start to blur and start to create a deeper more entangled perspective and the role of leadership is not as clear to see.

The Milieu of Contemporary Times: Historical Context of Faculty Leadership

“They have drawn upon collective resources to what they could not do alone” (Bolman & Deal, 2001)

Leadership is a concept that many have trouble defining. In fact, there are copious amounts of books on the topic and each has a different twist. Starting with the “the Indo-European root of “to lead,” leith, literally means to step across a threshold—and to let go of whatever might limit stepping forward” (Senge, Hamilton, & Kania, 2019 P. 28). Leading into Winston & Patterson’s (2006) review of 160 articles and books that concluded:

one or more people who select, equips, trains, and influences one or more follower(s) who have diverse gifts, abilities, and skills and focuses the follower(s) to the organization’s mission and objectives causing the follower(s) to willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and physical energy in a concerted coordinated effort to achieve the organizational mission and objectives (p 7).

Finally, Etway & Mohamed (2019) defined leadership as “traits, characteristics, and behaviors that focus on a clear vision, action, modeling the way, ethical relationships, congruence, trustworthiness and collaboration” (para. 1). Simply put, leaders are “persons who, by word and/or personal example, markedly influence the behaviors, thoughts, and/or feelings of a significant number of their fellow human beings (Gardner, 1995 p. 8-9).

For the purposes of this chapter, the authors will focus on faculty leadership in higher education and the capacity faculty leadership plays in the role of the institution. Looking at the institution or learning society in which faculty lead, Kezar & Lester (2009) indicate that “while the faculty role has changed over time, leadership has always remained critical to innovation in teaching, advances in knowledge, and alteration to many campus policies and practices” (p. 716). Learning societies are established on 4 functions: “(1) people, organizations, society, the world, and all the desires and requirements, are ever-changing; (2) learning can be a creative and transformational vehicle for dealing with the desire and requirements of a dynamically changing environment; (3) learning opportunities and information are freely available to everyone; (4) there is a true learning culture, where learning is valued and designed to bring all members of society to the fullest development of their powers” (Diamond, 2002 p. 28). But what does faculty leadership look like within the context of learning societies? According to Stephen Covey (1990), “the leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the situation, and yells, wrong jungle” (p. 101). Faculty leadership can be seen from a different perspective and is about the influences one can make and the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others (Gardner, 1995). This role of faculty leadership can be seen in the classroom, committee work, semi-administrative duties such as department chairs (Cooper & Pagotto, 2003), faculty governing roles, community boards, etc. In all such areas, faculty influence the development of the learning society.

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