The University Record, January 9, 1996

Academic administrators will be attending 'CLASS'

By Jane R. Elgass

 Faculty members who find themselves in administrative positions within their unit---as chairs, associate deans and other academic administrative positions---have been invited by the provost to attend "CLASS" this winter in the form of three pilot seminars offered by the Office of the Provost-Academic Human Resources.

E. Kay Dawson, director of the Office of Academic Human Resources, notes that "there has been increasing interest in recent years for educational programs for department chairs and heads of academic programs."

In developing the series, described as "an important new venture" by Human Resources/Affirmative Action Executive Director Jackie McClain, Dawson looked at programs at other universities and talked with deans, associate deans and selected department chairs.

"As a result," Dawson says, "we've set up three seminars in a pilot project this winter that are precursors to a comprehensive program called CLASS---Chairs' Leadership Academy for Support and Success---that will be more fully implemented in 1996-97.

"Basically, we're offering support and survival skills for faculty who find themselves in an administrative setting, with their only prior experience their role as a faculty member. The seminars," Dawson adds, "will focus on cross-cutting issues relevant to department chairs and other academic administrators."

Dawson notes that a number of units sponsor some professional development activities for their own administrators, and that her "challenge is to develop programs that complement those already in place."

Provost J. Bernard Machen is encouraging participation in this important initiative, which also presents an opportunity for those invited to meet their counterparts from across campus.

The first of the three invitational seminars for department chairs---Conflict Awareness and Management in an Academic Setting---will be held the morning of Jan. 26, focusing on negotiation and conflict management skill-building in times of change. It will be led by

Thomas Fiutak, co-founder and director of the Conflict and Change Center at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

In his presentation, Fiutak will examine the competing cultures which comprise an academic institution---the bureaucratic and the collegial---and the values and rules of each culture with respect to how their members deal with institutional change and conflict.

Academic administrators hold positions in the university in which the two disparate cultures intersect. They inevitably need to coordinate these two cultural systems and manage the competing interests that drive each culture. Fiutak will use examples of conflict management structures and case studies from other university systems and, in particular, the research data the Minnesota Conflict and Change Center has developed regarding the conflict profiles of healthy and problematic academic departments.

Prior to his current post, Fiutak was director of co-curricular programs at the University of Minnesota. He also held administrative posts at Cornell University and Indiana University.

On Feb. 8, General Counsel Elsa K. Cole and Daniel Sharphorn, assistant general counsel, will provide an update on Legal Issues and Principles Relevant to Higher Education.

"Producing High Quality Decisions in a Group Setting" will be the focus of the final seminar on Feb. 23, led by social work Prof. John Tropman.

Fiutak also will conduct an invitational workshop the afternoon of Jan. 26 on dispute resolution for faculty ombudspersons, faculty members who chair grievance review boards and mediators.

For additional information, call Academic Human Resources, 764-9291.