Are you an academic leader or considering taking on a leadership position in the academy? Then this book is for you, even in an era of crisis in the highly-complex higher education sector. A one-size-fits-all leadership philosophy can not meet all the challenges and opportunities facing academic leaders. Rather, successful leaders require a range of approaches and an ample supply of tools to maximize their effectiveness. This volume takes you through a series of balancing acts, each of which helps you to tailor your leadership choices to the issue at hand. It helps leaders to identify your current strengths and comfort zone in a series of dimensions and then encourages you to move beyond those comfort zones and to develop an ever-expanding array of leadership tools and skills. The result will be greater effectiveness in your decision-making, relationships, and management.
Jeanne A.K. Hey is associate provost, professor of political science, and dean emerita at the University of New England. She writes and speaks on leadership in the higher education.
Foreword by Walt Gmelch
Introduction: Embrace your Leadership!
Chapter I: The Seesaws of Academic Leadership: A Framework for Fine-tuning your Leadership Choices
Chapter II: Professional Identity
Chapter III: Professional Role, or “Whose Team am I On?”
Chapter IV: Leadership Comfort Zone
Chapter V: Decision-making Style
Chapter VI: Management Style
Chapter VII: Availability
Chapter VIII: Focus of Attention
Chapter IX: Feedback
Chapter X: Balance the Seesaws and Tailor your Leadership
About the Author
The Balancing Acts of Academic Leadership is an essential book for every department chair's personal library. As the “front line” of academic leadership, both new and veteran chairs will benefit from the critically important toolkit that Professor Hey provides. The combination of practical tools, experiential insights and guidance affords every chair the opportunity to assess their own readiness for leadership, the qualities they bring to the work and the additional support they will need from the dean or provost. As we address higher education’s existential moment, tools such as those Professor Hey provides become that much more indispensable.
Academic leaders seem to be balancing things all the time: work and life, teaching and research, decisions and delegation—the list goes on and on. Perhaps the most important balancing act is the question, “Do I see myself primary as an academic or as administrator?” In this book, Jeanne Hey helps academic leaders work their way through these issues and more. If you are or may someday become an academic leader, I know you’ll profit from the advice she provides.
In The Balancing Acts of Academic Leadership: A Guide for Deans and Department Heads Jeanne A.K. Hey argues that while institutions of higher education rely more than ever on leaders at all levels to think creatively, adopt new practices, and lead change, the leaders are frequently stuck in us vs. them and either/or thinking and action. Hey’s “seesaws of academic leadership” framework is a powerful method of better balancing the competing demands today’s program directors, department chairs, and deans face in collaboratively governing their units. Hey teaches us how to ask the right questions to discern our positions on the seesaws of professional identity, professional role, leadership comfort zone, decision making style, management style, availability, focus of attention, and feedback processes. She provides valuable tools for contextualizing and adjusting our positions on these seesaws to become more effective leaders. Hey helps us to silence both internal and external doubts and embrace leadership: “When academic leaders allow themselves to own their authority, without apology, excuse or embarrassment, they not only find greater professional satisfaction, they become better at their jobs.” I hold monthly meetings to mentor my first year department chairs, and can hardly wait to use this book as an assigned reading to facilitate my department chairs’ leadership embracement!