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The College Administrator’s Survival Guide

The College Administrator’s Survival Guide

Revised Edition

C. K. Gunsalus

ISBN 9780674258549

Publication date: 07/13/2021

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The book that every dean and department chair needs to survive—and thrive—in the twenty-first-century university.

First released in 2006, The College Administrator’s Survival Guide has served as the bible for a generation of provosts, deans, department chairs, and program directors. Shrewd administrators have returned to the guide time and again for C. K. Gunsalus’s advice on handling complaints, negotiating disagreements, and dealing with difficult personalities. Now, in this revised and updated edition, Gunsalus guides rookie administrators and seasoned veterans through today’s most pressing higher-education challenges.

These days academic leaders must respond to heightened demands for transparency and openness. These demands are intensified by social media, which increases the visibility of university conflicts and can foster widespread misinformation about campus affairs. Meanwhile, institutions have become flatter, with administrators expected to work more closely with faculty, students, and a range of professionals even as support staffs shrink. Between the ever-replenishing inbox, the integration of often-exasperating management systems into every dimension of academic life, and the new demands of remote learning, deans and department heads are juggling more balls than ever before. Tightening budgets have already forced administrators into more difficult choices and, in the wake of COVID-19, there will be no relief from financial constraints.

From #MeToo to partisan battles over curricula and funding, college and university leaders need more savvy and greater sensitivity than ever. What hasn’t changed are the challenges of dealing with difficult people and the importance of creating and maintaining environments in which faculty, staff, and students have the support they need to do their best work. The College Administrator’s Survival Guide provides the tools to keep cool and get the job done.


  • University administrators have such hard jobs—lots of responsibility, limited power, and vexing people problems. If you have one of these crazy jobs, or are considering one, Tina Gunsalus is here to help. The College Administrator’s Survival Guide shows you how to avoid and get out of all kinds of common predicaments—it is useful, engaging, and, well, downright fun.

    —Robert I. Sutton, Professor, Stanford University, and author of New York Times bestsellers The No Asshole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss


  • 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

  • 304 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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