Date of this Version
This survey study determined university library faculty perceptions of their department chair’s leadership practices and role in faculty development. Literature on library department chairs has traditionally focused on supervisory and/or management issues. The main focus of the library leadership literature has been deans or directors. Roles of chairs of postsecondary teaching departments have been researched for many years. Academic library faculty differ from teaching department faculty in that: nearly two thirds are female; they enter the profession at an older average age; are employed on a twelve month basis, while being required to meet criteria for a successful bid for tenure and/or promotion and their accepted terminal degree is a Masters degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association.
Questions addressed were: 1) What institutional characteristics, 2) chair characteristics, and 3) library faculty demographic characteristics significantly effect library faculty perceptions of the chair's a) activities to enhance faculty development, and b) leadership practices? Non-administrative faculty in the libraries of research universities in the United States completed a survey instrument consisting of three parts: (1) a demographics section; (2) a researcher-developed survey of faculty perceptions of the department chair's role in faculty development; and (3) the Leadership Practices Inventory-Observer (LPI-O).
Significant factors in library faculty perceptions of the chair's leadership practices were chair's location prior to promotion, faculty member's number of years at the institution, and faculty member's education completed. None of the characteristics considered were significant factors in library faculty's perceptions of the chair's faculty development activities. Ratings of the department chair's use of activities to enhance faculty development were extremely moderate. The ranking of items on both instruments suggests library faculty consider themselves primarily responsible for their own professional growth and development. The top-ranked leadership practices categories were "enabling others to act" and "modeling the way.” Both the most-observed leadership practices and activities to enhance faculty development indicate library faculty perceive their department chair as a passive, but supportive, encourager.
Advisor: John W. Creswell