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Author Topic: Leadership philosophy statement  (Read 10865 times)
Senior member
Posts: 470

« on: September 07, 2009, 7:21:53 pm »

I've noticed several ads for administration/chair positions ask the candidate to submit a leadership philosophy statement.  I'm of course familiar with what is expected in the research and teaching philosophy statements, but am stumped by this new task.   This is my first attempted foray into the admin world.  Can anyone provide insight as to what is generally included in such a statement?  I'm not sure I know where to start.
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 8,335

« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2009, 8:01:46 pm »

How does your teaching read? Usually, it's the philosophy behind how you expect students to learn, how you teach to their learning styles, and how you motivate them to learn. I would think your leadership philosophy should discuss your expectations of your faculty, your vision for the department, and how you expect to motivate the faculty to achieve this vision and these expectations. Of course, I could be wrong, but that's how I'd approach the task.

Alas, greatness and meaning are rarely coterminous with popular familiarity.
Elegant yet understated
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 9,385

« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2009, 10:28:14 pm »

If you're going for a department chair position, in addition to discussing the relationship between faculty and department chair, you'll need to discuss the relationship between the chair and the upper-level administration also, and how you would balance your responsibilities to the faculty with your responsibilities to the administration.

You might also search online for materials that differentiate between leadership and management (just google "leadership vs. management") to get a sense of what the differences are, and then see if you can honestly relate the characteristics of a leader (vs. a manager) to your past experiences and your ideas for a possible future as a department chair.

Good luck!

...I can't help rooting for the underdog underbird.
Do these gray hairs make me look
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 2,399

« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2009, 11:15:46 am »

As you think about your philosophy, ask yourself these questions:

1.  How committed are you to transparency, even if it embarrasses colleagues or yourself?  Where should privacy start to constrain transparency?
2.  Some people think that following a good process is more important than reaching an effective decision, while others think that a good decision justifies following a poor process.  What do you think?
3.  Some people think the job of the chair is to represent the requests of the faculty to the administration, while others think the job is to represent the requests of administration to the faculty.  Where do you fit on this continuum?
3a.  Given your answer to 3., where do students fit in your job description?

"I do not pretend to set people right, but I do see that they are often wrong." -- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 1,270

Computer Science faculty

« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2009, 9:36:13 pm »

Ghenghis Khan? Ivan the Terrible? Blofeld?

You can borrow my advice to the Young Person when she was asked to conduct: "First shoot the worst player"
Posts: 176

« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2009, 9:58:30 am »

If you actually want to be considered for the job, research the institution's statements on leadership and refined and restate for the level and duties of the job for which you're applying.

The people reviewing your c.v. and attachments are going to quickly wander through 40-300 applications.  The first cut is getting rid of the lawyers who apply for every administrative/executive job just because they went to law school.  The second cut is to look for goodness of fit and some indication that the applicant took the time to find out something about the school and its current leadership.  Save your creative, out-of-the-box thinking for the interview.  Your c.v and attachments are going to get about two-minutes of consideration to become one of the possible dozen taken home for closer reading or one of the mass headed for the shredder.
New member
Posts: 10

« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2009, 10:46:57 am »

Aside from the other advice, your leadership philosophy will encompass your virtues and core beliefs. These aspects will most certainly have major influence on how you lead and how you believe leadership should conduct itself. Sure charisma and out going personality have some effect but in the end I want to know I can trust someone and that he/she values others and their participation in "processes". You can speak to your values and attributes and relate them to how you would lead - my leadership philosophy.
Senior member
Posts: 330

« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2009, 11:18:53 am »

One thing not to do is to outline what a leadership philosophy is.  Sounds simple, but many first time applicants to chair positions provide a textbook model or description of leadership styles and such but no indication of their own take on things and how they intend to behave.  Generally, this is of course a bad route.  But, you would be surprised how many times newbies make this mistake.
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