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The Top 5 Faculty Morale Killers


A good midlevel manager can make all the difference in determining whether faculty life is satisfying or unbearable

For nearly two-thirds of my 30-year career in higher education, I have served as a middle manager of one sort or another: department chair, dean, program director. For the other third, I have been middle-managed.

Of course, even as a low-level administrator, I had plenty of people above me telling me what to do. I also had people below me who, given the chance, gladly told me what to do.

The point is: I know what it’s like to be on both sides of that transaction. Specifically, I know firsthand how department chairs can make faculty lives easier, and I also know what they do (all too often) that makes faculty lives more difficult (dare I say “miserable”?). Accordingly, I’d like to identify — for the benefit of new and future department chairs especially — what I consider the five biggest morale killers for college faculty.