Human Resources in
Session Sponsored by BPD, GADE, and NADD
March 18, 2009
Dr. Todd Rofuth
Southern Connecticut State University
If you live in a moderate to big city there are
qualified people who don’t have to move.
If you live in a small city or rural area you will
have to look outside of your area.
Advertise in all the right places including the
CSWE teacher’s registry.
Thinning the Pool of Candidates
Determine exactly what skill set you need and the
types of courses that the person will teach.
Do you select the best overall candidate or the
person that most meets your immediate needs?
Hire ABD (if you have attractive candidates or want
to promote more diversity of some kind), maybe
local people or your adjuncts.
Inviting the Candidates to Campus
Send them a detailed schedule (make sure you build in some down
Who will interview candidate?
Put them up in a nice hotel
Have a faculty member transport them
Take them out to a good restaurant where you can also talk (not to
Invite some personnel committee members to meal
Keep all of your receipts and if the U cannot pay, you can at least
deduct from you income taxes
Get students to come to the faculty’s presentation
Get input from students and faculty
Provide information on presentation: Decide first what is the purpose of
To prove the subject has good communication skills?
To demonstrate knowledge of a particular subject area that person
To demonstrate that they are a scholar by presenting on a research
Tell candidate the purpose of the presentation, the amount of time, and
Wooing on Campus
Selling the program and how the person would fit in for
Load credits, 12 versus less
Assignments such as field, can reduce load somewhat.
If unionized faculty, discuss its pros and cons: how the
union protects faculty job security and promotes annual
wage increases, if non union, the pros and cons
Show off the physical environment
teaching rooms (hopefully most are hi tech)
on campus babysitting facility
Status of technology in classroom and in curriculum
and expectations about teaching delivery methods
Off site courses
The negotiation process – you probably won’t be
involved but you can steer the candidate in the right
direction in terms of salary, rank, years of service, etc.
Sometimes can bring a person in at a higher rank
Prepare them for the Dean and Provost interviews
Tell them what they need to know
about the program
Strengths and weakness
Next reaccreditation date and issues from last one
Faculty (who they are, their specialties)
Students (a general description based on demographics)
Load (ways to reduce it such as teaching in field courses,
research reassigned time, etc.)
Promote living in the area,
its benefits such as:
proximity to other areas
theater in town or at university
outdoor recreational activities
Be clear on what your program
is looking for:
Make them feel welcome
Make them feel welcome
Have local Chamber of Commerce put together a packet
Have a reception
Retaining and Promoting Faculty
Supporting new faculty
Provide less of a teaching load if possible (possibly one
course the first semester and a reduced load the first year)
Offer multiple sections of the same course
Teaching field courses provide a way to integrate theory
and practice and to better understand the curriculum
Don’t put them in a course they have never taught before
(at least without a mentor and a lot of support)
Provide a faculty mentor who can
relate to the person
Share with them course syllabi and teaching methodologies
Send them to hi tech training
Make sure they get a computer right away and all of their account
Don’t overburden with committee assignments
Suggest faculty member joins one university wide committee (so
that person will become known throughout the university, which
will help during future promotion and tenure)
Help them start on research
Suggest they publish an article on their dissertation of some
piece of it
Set up a meeting with the University’s Sponsored Research
Let person know about all internal grants and opportunities, such
as small summer grants, curriculum development grants, etc.
Include person in a grant you are working on
Offer to work on a grant with them in an area of their interest
Provide contacts from local organizations that need research
Make sure they are aware of any new faculty
programs at the university
Provide the names of local organizations seeking board
Tenure and promotion process
You must first understand your Tenure and Promotion process
How does it work, what is required
You should go to presentations that are sponsored by your University’s
P& T Committee and tell the faculty member to also attend these sessions
Share with faculty member and departmental requirements or standards
Tell person what type of language and expectations you put in your letter
Negotiate with the Dean on what the person will need to do to be
Make sure everyone understands the expected outcomes each year.
Provide technical support to faculty on
building a file
How to begin to develop a good file
What does a good file look like
First year file, second year and thereafter
What is the format required by the university
What content should go in what area
Save all the student teaching evaluations
Save any letters of support
Document all work such as committees work, research, publications,
classes taught, conferences attended, community work, etc.
Different types of schools have different
expectations for promotion and tenure:
D1 School with doctoral program
Single MSW or BSW programs
Handling Conflict in the
What is Conflict?
Differences between people
Intolerance of others views
Differences of opinions
Perceptions of scare resources
Tragic or opportunity
Difference in needs
Behavioral when it escalates
Lack of trust
When does conflict occur?
Conflict occurs when two parties want the same thing
but they have to settle for different things.
When people want different things but have to settle for
the same things.
How do you feel about conflict?
It is part of the job
Fine until it gets personal
Very time consuming and can take away from
productivity, it is so draining, keeps you awake at night,
can create psycho somatic problems
Can expand to take on a life of its own
What kind of conflict experiences
have you had?
Substantive and personal
Differences in work ethic or work orientation
Over power and resources (academics fight so much because there is so little to fight
Gossip and rumor
Conflict between generations (the university now wants more research)
Elevated egos and intellectual property
Windows, some offices don’t have them, how do you allocate office space (by
productivity or seniority)
Long standing many years grudges that no one even understands original problem
(embedded conflict). Anytime a decision has to be made they emerge again.
Lack of respect for a colleague’s background and training.
Cannot forget the student issues, students complain about instructors, you cancelled
their class that they need.
Facts about conflict…(1)
Confrontation with colleagues and time are the two greatest
sources of stress based on a survey of 800 chairpersons
Conflict is inevitable – it is a natural outcome of human
interaction. All people think differently. Can be differences in
attitudes, beliefs and expectations. As a chair you will be thinking
differently about things. Will be thinking different about the way
things happen. Perceptions may be different and perceiving
different about the way things are done.
Conflict can be positive – conflict can be desirable. Only
through conflict can you begin to do true problem solving. Can
increase person’s involvement, their commitment. Most change
that results in serious real improvement grows out of some
Facts about conflict…(2)
Conflict can be managed – how you manage or respond to the
conflict will impact it. If two people are feuding, if you stay out of
it that will affect it or if you get into it that will also affect it also.
You are never purely neutral when managing conflict.
Conflict resolution is not always the goal – Job to get rid of
conflict will deny diverse perspectives and you will fail. Goal – to
minimize or eliminate destructive conflict. We have been
teaching the same way for 30 years, should we look at it? You
are using the same lecture notes over years? These are conflict
Chair’s objective: maximize constructive conflict and minimize
Dealing with issues
Ask individuals in the department for a list of key areas of
conflict in the department. Come up with ways of dealing
Try one for the semester.
No back stabbing, if you have a problem with someone,
don’t go to a third party.
If someone comes to you about a problem, ask them if
they have talked to the person, if no, don’t get involved.
Options for dealing with
Some faculty are burned out or are troublesome.
Some do not feel valued.
Do something that will make them feel valued.
Don’t alternate valuing and punishing.
Value don’t punish.
The person will get back at you if you punish.
Options for dealing with
Value faculty, try to be imaginative.
Determine what areas you want to get involved in.
Use an ombudsman for difficult faculty members.
Do not be disrespectful and denigrate a faculty.
Have the faculty members look at student evaluations for
the whole department, anonymously.
Send the grade distribution for all faculty and the total
Options for dealing with
I am no longer active in the department, I raise objections
frequently because they had once given the department
members sage advice that they did not take, so therefore
I will not be involved in a positive way.
Most want back into the department but they don’t know
how to do it.
Ask them what happened, how can I help you, what do
you want me to do?
Options for dealing with
Use punishment only when the person is absolutely
worthless and will not change, but once you go down this
road you cannot go back to trying positive reinforcements.
When you document acts, make sure you send a copy to
the person in question.
Create a polices committee that develops criteria on
behavior, performance etc.
Then do a gap analysis and give the person feedback on
how to improve performance.
To enhance teaching effectiveness
Have a session on teaching effectiveness.
Have each faculty identify an effective teaching moment or
technique. Then ask what did you all notice as a central theme,
for teaching effectively for all of you.
Or invite several members to observe my class and evaluate my
teaching. Then tell the department that you got good teaching
tips that worked.
Bring the workshops into the department so faculty will more
Have a good book on teaching and then have several people
read different chapters and then present to the faculty.
Use peer pressure in meetings.
For an abrasive person, I had this feeling when you
were talking how many other people feel the same way.
When person does disruptive statements, ask him how
this is related to the agenda.
Strategies for Managing Conflict
Establish and maintain a
healthy work environment
Need to be able to air differences of opinions in a
Want non tenured people to speak up.
Need a climate of mutual trust. Climate is unit specific so
don’t let people complain about the poor climate on the
larger campus, it doesn’t mean that your unit cannot have a
good climate, that is positive, respective, tolerant of
If running a department meeting, encourage all to speak.
Demonstrate that you want to hear equally from everyone.
Be clear in communicating your goals
and expectations for your unit
Help people know what is rewarded and valued.
If U states that you must be involved in service, you as chair must
help them know what this means what type of service.
Help them know what counts.
Be consistent in how you do this. (At one university chairs have to
rate people on standards each year but the U doesn’t have any
good definition of the standards). Talk to P&T committee members
to ascertain how they set standards; they may not be written down,
e.g., how many research publications are necessary to get
promoted at each level.
Setting performance goals: tell them what university expects to be
successful. If you are clear you defuse potential for conflict.
Establish ground rules for
Establish them that keep you on the issues of conflict but
keeps you away from personalities.
The ground rules for airing disagreements will vary with
the style of the department chair and the culture of the
Consult list below if you wish more information on how to
develop your personal list of ground rules:
Personal List of ground rules…(1)
Abusive language will not be tolerated
Derogatory comments that represent personal attacks will not be
Differences of opinion will be discussed and everyone will be heard
Individuals can express their views without interruption or fear of
Unsubstantiated assertions will not influence the vote or outcome
Issues and not personalities are subject to debate
Tears or emotional outbursts do not derail discussion or substantive
Faculty will discuss and decide important issues at department
meetings, and not subgroups.
During meetings, give everyone a white handkerchief and have them
wave it when people are not following the rules.
Personal List of ground rules…(2)
Intervention does not need to wait for conflict to
Anytime you make a non traditional hire, there is
the potential for conflict. So you can intervene
early. Make sure person’s voice is heard at
Anytime restructuring is about to take place. Make
sure everyone understands their value. To intervene
early you have to be able to see situations as others
Three general communication queues:
Any change in behavior, when a talkative persons becomes
silent, when the central administration circles the wagons.
Sometimes these changes are triggered by work conditions
(switching electronic formats). Changing the core requirements
for a program. Sometimes changes in a person’s personal life can
affect how they work.
Any change in policy, not matter who imposed it even if faculty
helped write it.
Any change in the department. A new faculty hire, a retirement,
increase or decrease in enrollment, office renovation, office
relocation, a new chair. Any change has the potential for conflict.
Search committees have a lot of potential for conflict. Any
change no matter how subtle is ground for conflict.
Know when and how to
Timing – timing does not need to be when voices are raised. But don’t ignore
shouting matches or inappropriate behavior.
Know the facts – be as objective as possible. Perception is not always
reality. A student complaint about a faculty member may not be the reality.
Depersonalize the conflict – what we need from you in a behavior. Give
some thought about how language you are using is interpreted by the other
Take the time to view the situation from the other person’s perspective.
If you are working on a performance review with a senior member of the
faculty who are about to retire. Don’t say you have much potential to be a
good faculty. Use the word legacy to describe them.
Don’t prolong the confrontation – don’t carry a grudge and let one issue of
disagreement define the relationship.
Know when and how to initiate
conflict – two times to initiate conflict:
When offender doesn’t realize his/her behavior is a
problem – meet with the person; find out what their issues
are. You may have to change their workload if it is a staff
To help facilitate decision-making – with an
underperforming faculty member: here is what you have to
do in the next two years to get tenure. Think of your
options, not all schools are like this one, maybe you would
be happier somewhere else.
Recognize which conflicts are not yours to resolve – only
deal with issue if conflict is the business of your program.
Dr. Blank’s case study –
The self-centered team member:
Facts of case: He is a prolific scholar, but doesn’t get grants.
He was a pioneer in his sub specialty. Now sub
specialization is recognized and he edits the journal. Low
enrollments in his classes. He gets 2-3 in his classes. When
he teaches an undergraduate section 40% drop out. The
university has a policy of a 5 student minimum. You as chair
have taken some budget hits as a result of running his under
enrolled classes. He chastises his students. He doesn’t like
his colleagues, doesn’t attend department social gatherings,
and does not approve of anyone going for tenure and
promotion. There is no requirement on campus for a formal
review of tenured professors. Dr. Blank is 53 years old. He
sends his accomplishments to the administration regularly
What can you do as a chair?
Actions you could take:
Start steps to implementing a post tenure review?
As chair might have control over what kind of raise he gets.
Try to get him to work on some projects for the department.
Talk to Dean and VP about what is really going on here. Cut that connection between
his support base there.
Could make his life miserable. Move him around, change his phone.
Find out what rules are on firing people.
Fire him due to financial exigencies.
Document his pattern of behavior.
This is a tough case. No policy for review. Get the university to develop post tenure
professional development and review.
Where would you start with him?...(1)
Sit down with him.
What the impact of his behavior has been.
Have a conversation with the administration; make sure
they will support whatever you do.
Tell them they have been taking away budgets because of
him (his low enrollments); therefore the administration
should support the chairperson’s efforts to get the faculty
to change his behavior.
Where would you start with him?...(2)
Have a conversation with him but involve HR
Maybe the attorney, he is setting up a hostile work
environment. If you don’t have in-house consul may be
about to go to outside attorney of the university.
Many Universities have an harassment policy.
Check guidelines for dismissal and termination of a
It depends on the campus culture as well as the policy.
Where would you start with him?...(3)
Try to find out what motivates this person.
Or how do you have the administration get this person some help. 1/5 people are
affected by some kind of chemical imbalance that affects their mood, emotional
Look for employee assistance programs, the HR director to seek assistance.
These type of difficult people can be threatening to others.
Write up – here is what I have noticed and I am seriously worried about this
What leverage points do you have with this person.
Would need to approach him and say how we could protect his interests.
What would happen if he lost teaching his favorite sections?
How could we show him his legacy is in danger?
Where would you start with him?...(4)
How would you actually have the discussion with Dr.
What would you say to him first, second?
Can usually predict what they will say.
Chair: I am really worried about saving your under
Need to convince the person that I am the key to getting
what they want.
Should not reward problem behavior.
Be reasonable, business like. You the person are not
upset with the person, you the chairperson is upset.
Exercise: Identify conflicts and
Former chair was voted out and is now back on the
faculty. He is disruptive, back stabbing, a lousy teacher,
Most faculty want to eliminate some areas of the
curriculum but some are strongly opposed.
Program coordinator does not do work in a timely
fashion and is too process oriented and I am an action
Exercise: Identify conflicts and
Two faculty members really do not like each other and
disagree on most things.
One faculty member is not fulfilling her job assignments
and does not realize that she has a problem in not being
available to students.
Some faculty do not follow the minimal job standards and I
cannot do anything about unless they are going for tenure