Life as Department Chair

This summer, I made the transition from faculty member and director of our low-res MFA program to faculty member, director of our MFA, and chair of the Department of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy. That may be misleading, since I’m sure the transition is far from over, but I have moved offices and begun work as chair, so it’s been a very busy start of the semester. In addition to all the usual things I do at the start of classes, I got to do all kinds of fun new things like:

  • fill out the paperwork to hire dual-enrollment and adjunct faculty
  • hire a new instructor of Latin
  • cancel low-enrolled classes and create new sections of other classes
  • review all of the department’s syllabi for compliance
  • lead department and discipline meetings
  • pack up my old office and move all my books, files, etc. to my new one
  • hire a student on work-study to help out in the department
  • get set up to purchase supplies
    • thanks to the other chair in the building for doing our first order
  • talk with prespective and current students who drop by for advising
  • begin work on next semester’s schedule while the current semester is barely starting
  • attend meetings with other chairs, etc.
  • spend most of every day in my office, rather than working from home

I’m not making this list to brag (much) or complain, but just to acknowledge that life changes, especially when you take on a new role. Though I’ve been involved with many of these kinds of things in my role as director of a graduate program, the complexity of managing a department of 16 faculty and 10 adjuncts with 2 grad programs, 3 majors, 6 minors, and 2 areas of teacher certification, is a little more complicated. It is challenging and exciting, and it is a little overwhelming, but with good support from my colleagues and dean, it ought to be manageable.

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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