One of the biggest challenges of the role of near-peer leader is conflict with faculty. It can be tempting to avoid raising difficult issues or disagreements, but the role of Chair or Director sometimes requires hard conversations. Academic departments and programs are where faculty “live” and so, just like in the home, conflict is inevitable and hard. The following materials offer tips for managing conflict, approaching tense situations, and discerning when situations require outside support.
Useful conflict-management tips for faculty and chairs:
- “The Conflict Management Tool Kit” by Patricia L. Price and Scott Newman Inside Higher Ed
Scenarios for conflict management and problem solving:
- Taylor, Carmen L., Karen F. Steckol, Patti White, Celia C. Lo, and Judith L. Bonner. “Conflict Management and Problem Solving as Chair.” The Department Chair: A Resource for Academic Administrators, vol. 18, no. 4, Spring 2008.
Reflections on the shift from faculty-peer to faculty-peer-leader:
- Armstrong, Denise E., and Vera E. Woloshyn. “Exploring the Tensions and Ambiguities of University Department Chairs.” Canadian Journal of Higher Education, vol. 47, no. 1, 2017, pp. 97–113.
Exploration of authentic leadership in the academic environment:
- Faircloth, Susan. “Reflections on the Concept of Authentic Leadership: From an Indigenous Scholar/Leader Perspective.” Advances in Developing Human Resources, vol. 19, no. 4, 2017, pp. 407–419.
Wider context and strategies for approaching conflict in your department:
- Watson, Nancy T., Karan L. Watson, and Christine A. Stanley. Conflict Management and Dialogue in Higher Education: A Global Perspective (2nd Edition). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Incorporated, 2018.
Support for new faculty experiencing conflict (see chapter 11 on “Managing Dilemmas,” full text available at DU library):
- Haviland, Don, Anna M. Ortiz, and Laura Henriques. 2017. Shaping Your Career : A Guide for Early Career Faculty. First edition. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing.
Upcoming Webinars & Recordings
November 5th: “Conflict Management: A Practical Workshop for Leaders”
View anytime: “Build a Team Culture that Embraces Conflict as Productive and Positive”