Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College in the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Major: Interdepartmental Area of Community and Human Resources Under the Supervision of Professor John W. Creswell


The major purpose of this study was to identify behaviors used by academic department chairpersons to assist faculty professionally and to describe conditions which affect those behaviors. Descriptive research design was employed in this study with major emphasis on the interview method of data collection and subsequent descriptive analysis. The survey population was 30 academic department chairpersons representing ten of the twelve North Central Region Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture. Six case studies were presented to demonstrate how chairpersons assist "troubled" faculty. Chairs were convinced that many potential problems could be averted by frequent interaction and continual monitoring of faculty performance. Department heads identified numerous behaviors to support the "movers", reduce the number and magnitude of faculty problems, and foster early detection of those that did occur. Most administrative behaviors were learned "on the job" and from other department heads. The behaviors were most influenced by two conditions: (1) the declining resource base, (2) support from higher administration. The implications of the study relate primarily to training and support of academic department chairpersons with emphasis on institutional policy and practice. The development of pre-service and in-service training directed toward faculty development and other issues confronting academic department chairs is warranted. The impact of chairpersons' effectiveness as faculty developers could be enhanced by more direct institutional support. In this regard, deans and other administrators in Colleges of Agriculture can assist chairpersons in their efforts to enhance faculty growth and development by: (1) selecting academic department heads based as much on management qualifications as the person's reputation as a scholar; (2) providing pre-service and in-service training in human resource management; (3) evaluating chairpersons in part on the basis of successful faculty development efforts; and, (4) recognizing and rewarding efforts to enhance the growth and development of faculty.