Decision Day

Remember in December when I got propositioned by the Dean of my college to become Chair of my department?

I met with her again a week later and went over some of my concerns about the position.

Earlier this week she sent me an email saying that the Vice President was getting ready to print contracts for next year and they needed to know if I was going to be chair because they would add the chair stipend to the contract and in addition add 1 month to my contract (which is kinda huge, actually).

She said she would be happy to talk to me about my concerns and answer any questions over coffee.

I said I would appreciate that.

We’re having coffee, off campus, today to discuss this.

I’m inclined to say yes, to be honest.

Not because I want the position, I don’t. But because of everyone in the department I know that I would be the best at it (aside from our current chair). (My dad also brought up the argument that if the University goes under or I need to find a new position, being Chair will look very good on my C.V., especially considering my age – I can’t argue with this logic)

The current chair is the BEST person in the department to do it, but he is worn out. He’s had enough. He’s been chair for over 10 years and the upheaval of the past 3 months has just been tearing him apart.

This isn’t to say that it wouldn’t tear me apart. It probably will. But I’m also younger and more resilient. The administration likes me more because I have no ties to previous administrations. I’m honest and forthright about what is best for the students and what we should be doing as a department. I care more about making the University better then who is at the top. The “front line” to the students in the faculty. So WE need to be the ones making the University as good as it can be.

What I’m really concerned about is what I’ll be saying “no” to if I say “yes” to being the Chair.

I have a few pet projects that I want to get started in the department and I’m very afraid that they’ll fall to the way-side. However, being chair will also give me the “clout” to make sure that these pet projects happen.

Is it wrong that part of me just wants to know HOW MUCH the chair stipend is? Based on an old faculty handbook I should get 1.12 times my current salary. Which could be $57,120/yr or $51,408/yr depending on how it is calculated (I currently make $51,000).

If it isn’t that much money I kind a just want to say “no”. A part of how much it is “worth” to me is how much compensation I’ll be getting for my extra time. I don’t want to seem superficial about it, but it really is a huge deciding factor to me.

We’ll see how this meeting goes this afternoon…

9 thoughts on “Decision Day

  1. Money is never trivial. If the money was the *only* reason you were considering taking the chair it would be one thing, but it’s ok to take it into consideration as one of many factors.

    Reading your pros and cons, my feeling is you should take it. There are professional benefits; one thing I’ve picked up in life is the people who get ahead at work are the ones who go above and beyond what is necessary; those who make themselves too valuable to replace. You feel busy now, but picture 3-5 years in the future when you might have additional family issues to deal with. There probably will be no better time than now to do it.

    Worst case, you absolutely hate it and quit in a year (although realistically you could easily end up taking two years if a worthy replacement isn’t available).

  2. Given everything you’ve said, I lean towards no. I can’t see any good reason to take it, except that it would be harder to lay you off. I’m not sold that there are any professional benefits to being a chair unless one only wants to go into administration, and even then, what you’re giving up is other professional development opportunities that make you more attractive as someone to hire with tenure elsewhere.

    I can’t remember if you’re at a community college or another kind of school… if you’re at a CC I would send this question to Dean Dad at . It may be that admin experience is more important on the CC market.

    Am I correct that you’re in a tenure track position but untenured? I’ve heard that being an untenured chair is the kiss of death to staying in a position.

    1. I’m not at a CC, I’m at a full uni. That’s correct, tenured but a tenure track position. Though my school does not do traditional tenure. The max “tenure” I could ever get is 5 years.

  3. To be honest, I think it’s an awesome opportunity. Really, for your own experience and for your future. But also because I think you’ve had a lot of brilliant ideas to do with your department as you’ve posted them in the past. I think leadership needs new blood nowadays. New ideas. Innovation. It might be good for your department and your students.

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