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The College Administrator’s Survival Guide

The College Administrator’s Survival Guide

C. K. Gunsalus

ISBN 9780674065550

Publication date: 09/01/2011

Late one afternoon, as you are organizing your new office as department chair, one of the senior members of the department drops by. He affably informs you of his plans for the coming semester: that contrary to the published class schedule, he only teaches on Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday, and Thursday morning, so as to have the weekends free for travel; that he expects the office staff to start his coffeemaker by 10 a.m. sharp on his teaching days; and that since he hasn't been assigned a research assistant, his teaching assistant will do research tasks, including errands. What do you say? What do you do?

Never mind budgets or curriculum reform: staff problems can be the most thorny of any academic administrator's job. Every day, professors who have never run anything bigger than a seminar find themselves in charge of a complex and volatile organization called a Department of English (or Biology, or Sociology, or Textile Marketing). What should they do?

In this book, a widely respected advisor on academic administration and ethics offers tips, insights, and tools on handling complaints, negotiating disagreements, responding to accusations of misconduct, and dealing with difficult personalities. With humor and generosity, C. K. Gunsalus applies scenarios based on real-life cases, examples from negotiation, law, and child-rearing to guide novice (and experienced) academic administrators through the dilemmas of management in not-entirely-manageable environments.


  • Tina Gunsalus's seminar on administrative survival skills kept a crowd of academic administrators rapt for five straight hours, and eager for more. Her advice was lucid, practical, and remarkably shrewd; she adroitly showed us how to elicit the best from ourselves and our faculty even in the worst situations.

    —Michael Schoenfeldt, Associate Dean for Humanities, University of Michigan


  • C. K. Gunsalus is Professor Emerita of Business and Director of the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics at the University of Illinois, where she formerly served as Associate Provost. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Book Details

  • Harvard University Press

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