Illinois Public Community College Department Chair Roles and Role Conflict
Author(s)Young, Kristine M
Community College Education Administration
Community College Leadership
Educational Administration and Supervision
Higher Education and Teaching
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AbstractThis research had two purposes: to determine community college department chair roles and to determine whether role conflict exists for the status of Illinois public community college department chair. The research was divided into two phases. In Phase I, community college department chair role factors were determined. Using ratings of importance reported by a sample of Illinois public community college department chairs on a modified version of Carroll and Gmelch’s (1992) department chair duty questionnaire, principal components analysis was employed to determine an underlying factor structure. Five factors were determined and interpreted as department chair roles: Department Leader, Resource Manager, Faculty Leader, Instructional Manager, and Teacher and Student Adviser. It was also determined whether the importance placed on department chair roles varied by department chair characteristic variables of academic discipline, departmental disciplinary composition, size of department, length of service as chair, whether the chair was elected by faculty or selected by administration, number of years served as a full-time faculty member prior to becoming department chair, and teaching load. Results indicated that certain characteristic variables of Illinois public community college department chairs influence the importance they ascribe to department chair roles. It was also determined in Phase I that role conflict and role overload exist to a mild to moderate extent for the Illinois public community college department chair status. In addition, a specific expression of role overload, namely, department chairs spending an inordinate amount of time performing roles they find of greater importance, may have been determined. In Phase II, the complete role set of department chairs, faculty, and the chief academic officer at one Illinois public community college was studied. It was determined that with minor exceptions, full-time faculty, part-time faculty, and the chief academic officer ascribed the same level of importance to the roles determined in Phase I as did the department chairs. Additionally, no statistically significant differences were found on the importance ascribed to department chair roles based on departmental disciplinary composition or length of faculty service by full and part-time faculty.