TITLE: Re-Upping for Three Years AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: March 13, 2008 11:49 AM DESC: ----- BODY: My three-year review as department head is over, and a couple of weeks ago the dean asked me to serve a second three-year term. I accepted. My first three years went quickly, and as time passed my ideas for the department have evolved and come into better focus. I welcome the opportunity to work with the faculty to achieve them for three more years. Even still, I told the dean that I miss having more time to do computer science. Opportunities to teach and program are more valuable to me than ever before. When I became head, I thought that I would find myself writing patterns to document my experience, but that has not happened. I spent much of my first three years in a bit of a haze, without any clear grasp on patterns of success in management, leadership, promotion, and the like. In retrospect, that isn't surprising, giving my near-complete lack of experience in these areas before starting! Since re-upping, I have been thinking about some of the things I have learned in my first three years. Here are three. Maybe they will become parts of patterns at some point. You have to be comfortable knowing and not doing.    I am something of a control freak and have had to learn to let my secretary and other faculty do things. For example, in today's world, technology makes it almost as easy for me to do a lot of clerical work, but time spent doing it is time not spent doing something else. On the flip side, I can't let not doing something being a reason not to know how to do it, or how it works. I need to be able to fill in when the person responsible is gone, and I have to understand how things work so that I can manage budgets, re-engineer processes, and the like. Talking is doing something.    I am a programmer, and I like to make measurable progress. Like many folks who tend more toward introvert than extrovert, I tend to prefer doing to talking about doing. This is so even when I know intellectually the great importance of communication. Three years as head have taught be in a more visceral way the value of talking -- to faculty, to administrators, to business leaders and legislators, and to potential students and their patterns. The stories we tell to outsiders matter so very much. And the bonds we on the faculty build among ourselves, and the bonds we nurture between the head and the faculty, are essential to the functioning of the team that is the department. You can't not be that guy.    No matter how much or how well a department head tries to communicate with the faculty in his or her charge, there is likely always going to be someone for whom the head is "the boss". Those relationships takes extra care, because you need to work on being part of the team at the same time you also work on being a good boss. I hope that those are not the only things I have learned in the last three years, but they are a start. -----