Making Distance Learning Work: Fewer Snags for an Academic Department Chair

Most seasoned academics will acknowledge that being a department chair is challenging and often difficult. The individual filling this role is essentially squeezed between two groups with differing worldviews and missions. On one hand, the chair serves as primary advocate for his or her faculty when dealing with higher university administration and external concerns. On the other hand, he or she is the personnel and fiscal supervisor for a group of faculty and staff members. The challenge is to balance these potentially conflicting roles while managing time. Further complicating the chairís role is the movement to offer more online courses and programs. In this article, we offer suggestions, characterized by the acronym FEWER SNAGS, to understand, control, and mitigate complexities when supporting online learning.

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