The Devolution of Higher Education

Academic Leader

A serious challenge for students, faculty, staff, chairs, and administrators is what to do with a faculty member who spews venom and rancor on a consistent basis. There are more than 80,000 department chairs in the country. The average chair serves for a total of six years. In fact, one of the reasons that department chairs relinquish their positions is that a toxic faculty member makes life miserable for not only the chair, but students and faculty members in the department as well. We have spoken with countless chairs, deans, and provosts who recount horror stories of how one venomous person spewing forth nastiness and malice in a vindictive manner caused a department to be dissolved. However, incivility is not a recent aberration in the academy.

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