Texas Tech University

Administration 101: Deciding to Lead

David D. Perlmutter

January 13, 2017

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Almost any administrative position in higher education today - department chair, dean of admissions, facilities manager - comes with a heavy workload and a lot of stress. Yet the average docent at your local children's museum has received far more training than those of us in campus administration. It's sink or swim: We learn by doing (or not doing) and surviving (or drowning).

A case in point: A professor I know in the social sciences stepped into a chair's job after 15 years on the faculty. She described the experience as "the worst time of my life" as she collided with a torrent of paperwork and email, budget woes, assessment reports, risk-management demands, and centrifugal forces tugging her away from her own research, teaching, and family.

Most of all, though, it was all the people problems that drove her downward and ultimately out of administration - the constant pressure from faculty colleagues (who turned on her in ways she had never experienced or foreseen) as well as from senior administrators, students, staff members, alumni, donors, and, yes, parents. She quit within a year.

Read the story here.