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March 04 , 2011

The Department Chair as Transformative Diversity Leader

Building Inclusive Learning Environments in Higher Education


The department chair represents the nexus between the faculty and the administration and is positioned uniquely to impact diversity progress. Research indicates that more than 80 percent of academic decisions regarding appointment, curriculum, tenure and promotion, classroom pedagogy, and student outcomes are made by the department chair in consultation with the faculty.

This book examines the multidimensional contributions that chairs make in advancing diversity within their departments and institutions in the representation of diverse faculty and staff; in tenure and promotion; curricular change; student learning outcomes; and departmental climate. Using qualitative and quantitative research methods, the book analyzes predominant structural and behavioral barriers that can impede diversity progress within the academic department. It then focuses upon the opportunities and challenges chairs face in their collaborative journey with faculty and administration toward inclusive departmental and institutional practices. Each chapter provides concrete strategies that chairs can use to strengthen diversity in the academic department.

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