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Surprisingly, market research has identified a portion of the general population, at least a portion of Netflix subscribers, who are eager to produce a six-episode series that tells the daily life of a university English dean like me.Trailer ChairIt will premiere tomorrow (August 20), followed by Ji-Yoon Kim (played by Sandra Oh) as the new role of the prestigious dean of English at Pembroke University.

As a “female chair”, I admire the comic potential of writers who have optimized the expectations of gender and authority. Faced with almost undisguised prejudice, all of which was a day working for the Academy of Colored People in a leadership position, a plot trajectory chart depicting Oh’s character entering her own role.A female colleague educated her, “You should run this place; instead, you run around and have a good time.” However, a male teacher indignantly accused her of “behaviour”.[ing] It’s like you’re my boss,” Kim replied, “I Yes Your boss! “

However, the charm of this black comedy is more in line with such a show Yes Compare Nurse Jackie. The climax of the trailer is the scary declaration: “This department is unresolved!” creator Chair At the bank, we, the audience, are investing in this department. I think the role of representing teachers, university administrators and board members is also very concerned. At the same time, the show promotes itself as satire, which seems to weaken its sincerity in describing a department being coerced, as well as our mature collective investment in the survival of the department and Kim as a leader in times of crisis.

The ironic choice raises a question: In so many English departments, as the show describes, what is the best type of portrayal of the role of a chair at the moment of “undecided”? A colleague who watched the trailer commented, “They just don’t understand”-“it” is higher education leadership in the humanities.I had to stop myself from responding, “Do US get it? “

Reimagine, reimagine and reinvent

The role of the department chair has always been demanding and has never been so demanding in the past few years. This period is characterized by the continuous expansion of the chairman’s administrative responsibilities in the field of departmental governance and office management; teaching supervision; curriculum development and programming; personnel matters; public relations, outreach and development; strategic communications; finance, facilities and data management; and Comply with changing campus, university system, state and federal policies, procedures, guidelines, and expectations.

At Big Ten, R-1, the flagship state university where I teach, English is one of the largest and most complex departments-with seven academic programs and three centers, it is ranked nationally for masters and doctorates. Academic writing and professional writing courses that serve more than 15,000 undergraduates every year. Although my title is chief academic officer-even though I am called the head of the department internally-and I currently have a portfolio of 46 key points, I often feel that my job is different from that of a well-known day manager, but Without a degree, he shyly urged people to clean up behind the steam table. However, in the eyes of organizations that use verbs such as “direct”, “supervise”, “supervise”, “execute”, and “optimize” to mark my duties, the increasingly professional role of the department head ensures that the train runs on time.

In the past 15 months—during this period, we have been hit by a continuing global pandemic; ruthless and complete racial injustice; and growing political polarization—not only has the leadership challenge intensified, but also The chairman’s entire premise was also overturned. At the moment when the wheels seemed to have left the bus, the character of Oh sat on the head of the conference table and boldly said a sentence that often flashed in my mind. I doubted the words of my colleagues in the past year: “I I’m the head of the department-let’s fucking shake this place.”

In fact, in the field, the most important work I did was not to describe my responsibilities with a 46 bulleted list, but to repair and change the work. In the past year, reimagining, reimagining and reinventing are my most outstanding contributions. This includes the shift to distance learning and learning, which requires the overall restructuring of the enterprise; re-adjusting principles and values, and the need to modify departmental policies, procedures and practices to ensure a diverse and inclusive atmosphere; formulating budget management and resources Innovative methods of distribution; comprehensively rethink the role of compassion and fairness in helping students, faculty and staff cope with physical and mental health challenges; and, in accordance with the evolving pattern of higher education, shift to public-oriented initiatives, increase opportunities, and collaborative learning. The curriculum is modified.

recent Research based on a survey of 172 department heads The results of a comprehensive survey of the impact of COVID on the role of the chairperson are provided across the United States published in March 2021. Not surprisingly, the provable so-called crisis leadership that once occupied the margins of the position is now one of its expected capabilities.

Forged in the eternal “humanistic crisis” melting pot, crisis leadership has always been in my cab. In this regard, the views and abilities that my training as a humanist give me are specifically prepared for my role today. I am not a disciplined chauvinist. I think that all disciplines, courses and fields can help us better understand the human condition and prepare students in the process to make the world a better place, which is self-evident. Empathy, collaboration, critical thinking, effective communication, participatory pedagogy, and interdisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives are not the only areas of the humanities. However, the position of the chair benefited from the obvious humanistic orientation that I have described widely as restoration.

Turning point

Academic leaders in the humanities are at a turning point because we are faced with the meaning of resisting the urge to save a particular entity (department, college, or institution), and instead use our energy to transform it. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary scholars, activists, and activist scholars inside and outside the college have initiated initiatives, centers, institutes, cooperative projects, and social and intellectual programs to explore the historical, social, psychological, economic, and political consequences of compensation. Slavery, racial injustice, and structural inequality.

In the past year, hosting the English Department is an important course for creating a just community. My role requires inspiring collective adaptation. Sometimes this requires establishing metrics for public accountability; other times, it means providing opportunities for sharing and sacrificing certain privileges. Under certain circumstances, priority will be given to material compensation for the most dangerous person. At another moment, I promoted a broad repositioning of values ​​and rewards by creating new recognition and promotion opportunities. During this year, I led us to conduct collective reflection and conduct liquidation when necessary.

Since I can remember, I have been serving as an ambassador in a field known as “smart”, so I must show agility and creativity to deal with the terrible systemic sclerosis, insight and learning in urgent situations Stay optimistic.So yes, it is now Chair, But more importantly, the dean of the English Department steadily and quietly promoted the principled, energetic, tolerant, and forward-looking humanities, and at the same time led people to engage in transformational work in the most difficult times.

English professors have been committed to reinventing for a long time, and our staying power is a testament to our ability to reimagine and update the subject, focusing on attracting more diverse audiences, promoting new methods, connecting with various publics, and generating new sub-fields.New Netflix series Chair It is an opportunity—I suspect it is a missed opportunity—not only to show that the humanities is a place of imaginative and humane transformation, but also to convey how the chair is currently engaged in some of the most visionary work education in the history of higher education. Over the next few months, chairpersons across the country will say to themselves, perhaps even loudly to their voters, “I am the chairperson of the department-let’s fucking shake this place,” and, In the process of doing so, I realized that the time for collective restoration of the humanities is ripe.

So what is the right genre Chair• The announcements of budget cuts and recruitment freezes communicated by senior executives in a sweet tone call for black. Rejecting your targeted employees who spent months training and spending political capital is clearly a rom-com thing in the 1980s. But I’m considering the standard fare for Discovery Channel. When we watch the dolphin whose tail is injured re-adjust her relationship with the natural environment or the caterpillar emerges from her pupa, let us sit on the edge of the seat with dazzling brilliance.

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