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Leadership in University Language Departments

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by Ann Abbott

As my department began to transition from one Head to another, we were all invited to speak to the Dean. Specifically, we were asked three questions:
What do you consider the qualities in an effective leader for our department?What are the major challenges facing your department?Who would you suggest for the position? I carefully reflected on these questions, and I'll share my thoughts here. Yes, they were written for my specific department, but I think that many of the issues transcend our situation. I'd also love to hear your thoughts about leadership needs for Spanish programs today--and for the future. Please leave a comment to let me know what I'm missing here!
What do you consider the qualities in an effective leader for our department?
Supported and supportive Usually people in a department think about what a Head (or Chair) is supposed to do for them. And that is important. They should support their people (tenure-track faculty, non-tenure track facult…