Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 5, No. I-January 2007 ISSN: 1541-6224


Copyright © 2007 Pro>Active Publications. Used by permission.


This article documents the top 10 things we learned in our transition from being a faculty member to becoming a department chair. We were recruited as department chairs in the same year and quickly recognized each other as administrative colleagues. During our "internship" in the chair position we frequently identified lessons we were learning, jokingly adding them to our "Top 10" list. What follows is our refined list of advice we would share with other new chairs.

1. Find a trusted friend.

Trust has been defined as the "belief that those on whom we depend will meet our expectations of them" (Shaw, 1997, p. 21). In our first year as chairs we came to trust one another. This trust developed gradually as a result of repeated interactions with and observations of each other. During our weekly lunch meetings we felt comfortable discussing issues that concerned us and sharing our personal feelings about them. We recognized in each other the integrity that guided these confidences. We came to trust one another because we respected each other's competence, believed the other would follow through on commitments, and felt we had a colleague who cared and was concerned for our well being (Noddings, 1986; Schindler & Thomas, 1993; Shaw, 1997). Having a colleague who listened, who knew when to provide sound advice and when to let us discover our own answer, was an important key to our growth as administrators.