interruptions
Leadership

Nibbled to Death by Ducks 

“Nibbled to death by ducks.” The phrase, though nearly three centuries old, is still remarkably apt for the role of the department chair today. Our jobs are filled with little nibbles taken out of our time and attention; no individual nibble may be all that significant, but the accumulation of...
commencement speech
Leadership

My Last Commencement Speech 

In 2007, professor Randy Pausch presented what he titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” in the “My Last Lecture” series at his university, Carnegie Mellon. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer only a month earlier and had only a few more months to live. With amazing optimism and energy,...
failing gracefully
Skills and Development

Failing Gracefully 

Make no mistake about it: If you serve long enough as a university administrator, sooner or later you will fail at something—massively, undeniably, and embarrassingly. Either the result that you intended from an initiative never came close to being achieved, or you’ll have a new supervisor who feels you’ve wasted...
Academic Leadership Myths
Leadership

14 Academic Leadership Myths 

Some of the things that we assume will help us get ahead and be effective as academic leaders may in fact thwart our efforts, alienate colleagues, and lead to burnout. The following is a list of commonly held academic leadership myths and the corresponding truths I’ve learned as an academic...