Interview with the editors of Challenges Facing Female Department Chairs in Contemporary Higher Education: Emerging Research and Opportunities

Editor Spotlight: Dr. Heidi Schnackenberg & Dr. Denise Simard

By IGI Global on Oct 19, 2017
Drs. Heidi Schnackenberg and Denise Simard have made an enormous impact advocating for the integration of technology within instructional practices. For years, they have successfully prepared the next generation of educators and leaders for their entry into the modern workforce. Now, the ‘dynamic duo of publishing’ is back at it again and this time they are turning their attention toward organizational dynamics, specifically critical gender and diversity issues within academia. Their December 2016 authored book, “Challenges Facing Female Department Chairs in Contemporary Higher Education: Emerging Research and Opportunities”, released as part of IGI Global’s Research Insights line of publications, focuses on the latest challenges and opportunities facing women heading academic departments in university settings. Readers can benefit from discussions centered on the level of support available to female department chairs, as well as first-hand experiences and lessons learned from the authors themselves. Other topics include: bias avoidance, networking, professional development, psychosocial mentoring, and management techniques.

As we hope to gain a better understanding of these authors and their ongoing contributions to the field at large, they were able to take a break from their busy schedules for an interview, and this is what we found:

IGI Global: What are some of the most rewarding aspects of conducting research in your specific field?

DS: The most rewarding parts of conducting research are the opportunities to collaborate with colleagues and the deepening of knowledge within areas such as mental health, well-being, and women in leadership.

HS: Researching women in leadership in the academy is exciting because it’s so important! Increasingly, women have taken more leadership roles in higher education and have worked hard to change a deeply patriarchal system. However, the progress has been difficult, particularly for women from underrepresented groups. To me, continuing to examine and make changes to gender disparity in leadership in colleges and universities is critically important and energizing.

IGI Global: What has your experience been like publishing with IGI Global?


DS: The staff at IGI Global are extremely supportive and effectively help guide authors throughout the writing process from idea conception to manuscript completion.

HS: I’ve worked with IGI Global for years and published several books and book chapters with them. They are extremely supportive and consistently produce works on important topics in a variety of fields. As a bonus, their turnaround time on drafts and manuscripts is fast and they are very thorough!

IGI Global: Fun Fact?

DS: I’m an avid sports fan, I have a goal to see a game at every baseball stadium, and have five stadiums remaining (Miami, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Chicago (White Sox)).

HS: I’m an avid traveler and one of the coolest experiences I’ve had was watching the Fiji rugby team win Olympic gold on a satellite TV while sitting on the dirt floor of a hut in a traditional Fijian village. Oh! And I just learned to hula hoop!

Drs. Simard and Schnackenberg's next book, Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Higher Education, is set to be released in 2019, and is currently accepting chapter proposals. For more information on this project, please view their Call for Chaptershere.
Heidi L. Schnackenberg, Ph.D., is a Professor in Teacher Education at SUNY Plattsburgh in Plattsburgh, NY. Specializing in educational technology, she currently teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes on the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning in the P-12 classroom. Her various research interests include the integration of technology into pedagogical practices and the complexities of leadership in higher education. She has also published numerous articles on educational technology, and co-edited Best Practices for Education Professionals, Best Practices for Education Professionals Volume 2, and The Ethics of Cultural Competence in Higher Education. Dr. Schnackenberg began her education career as an elementary music teacher.

Denise Simard, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Teacher Education Programs at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, in Plattsburgh NY. She began her professional journey as a special education teacher. She then began collaborating with children and families to access technology devices and services to empower them to be more independent in their daily lives. She used those experiences to become an advocate for change and subsequently managed local and state professional development initiatives related to the infusion of technology into instructional practices to improve learning outcomes for all students, especially those with special needs. She also supported the strategic planning process, facilitation, and evaluation of online learning communities for education organizations on a local, state, and national level. Currently, she teaches undergraduate classes in the childhood education program and graduate classes in special education, and serves as Department Chair in the Teacher Education Unit. Her areas of interest and research include multiculturalism, special education, assistive technology, online learning, and communities of practice. Through her various roles in higher education, she has had the wonderful opportunity to examine aspects of leadership and the nuances and intricacies involved.

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