Discusses the role of department chair in universities and colleges. Assuming appropriate academic qualifications, most institutional requirements for a department chair are academic leadership, administrative leadership, successful teaching, active scholarship, and in some cases professional experience. Because teaching and scholarship are normally expected of all faculty, the broad roles that seem unique to the chair are academic and administrative leadership, resource acquisition and allocation, and constituent relationships/boundary spanning. In summary, the rhetorical ability to develop appropriate symbolic structures for departments is the essence of the chair's role and a way to reconcile the many tensions inherent in the job; conventional management training may be inappropriate. Also, for some chairs, the term of office may be too short to develop the symbolism needed to sustain their activities, which may be subjectively misconstrued as a result.
Treadwell, D. F. (1997). The department chair: A symbolic perspective and some implications. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 26(3), 218–224.