A Smooth Transition for the Exiting Chair at Small Colleges: The Administration’s Role

When an academic year ends, preparations for a new entering class and new employees are in high gear. In some years, the year-end also may be marked by transitions in administrators at all levels, including department chairs. Having served as a department chair at three small colleges for a combined 19 years, I have witnessed chair transitions as well as commiserated with many department chairs as they transitioned out of their roles. I also have experienced three of my own transitions. The range of emotions and thoughts from outgoing chairs covers the spectrum from relief and joy to a sense of loss and uncertainty. In my own case, and speaking for the many other chairs with whom I have worked over the years, we cared deeply about the institution and wanted our departments to thrive. We also wanted our exits to be graceful, and we wanted to make the transition for the new chair as easy as possible

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