BOOKS FOR TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND POLICYMAKERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

Understanding University Committees

How to Manage and Participate Constructively in Institutional Governance

Paperback
September 2020
9781620369395
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    14th September
  • ISBN 9781620369395
  • Language English
  • Pages 228 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Images 23 illus
  • Request Exam Copy
$29.95
Hardback
September 2020
9781620369388
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  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    18th September
  • ISBN 9781620369388
  • Language English
  • Pages 228 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Images 23 illus
  • Request Exam Copy
$125.00
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September 2020
9781620369401
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • ISBN 9781620369401
  • Language English
  • Pages 228 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Images 23 illus
$125.00
E-Book (ePub)
September 2020
9781620369418
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • ISBN 9781620369418
  • Language English
  • Pages 228 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Images 23 illus
  • Request E-Exam Copy
$29.95

Committees are indispensable to the governance of higher education, yet there is seldom guidance to faculty and administrators on how committees should be conducted or how to maximize committee obligations. 

This is the first handbook on how both to manage committees and how to engage effectively as members to achieve departmental or broad institutional goals, and how participation valuably contributes to individual learning and advancement.

Based on empirical research, organizational theory, and interviews with faculty and administrators, Dr. David Farris provides an informative and vivid examination of the dynamics of committee work, addresses the planning, conduct, roles, composition, and dispositions of members as well as the institutional context and structures in which they operate that are vital to organizational success.

Committees are not just laboratories for implementing the vision of university leadership, developing solutions to institutional challenges, and refining organizational procedures; they are the proving ground for future leaders in higher education. How members perform in committees reflects our professionalism, aptitude, integrity, and character – all-important considerations given that we serve as ambassadors for our department, college, office, and colleagues.

In offering guidance on good committee practices, a recurring theme of this book is that readers should critically evaluate individual performance and how it impacts others or the committee at large. Too often the locus of control is presumed to be reserved for the chairperson even though significant influence can be exercised through informal leadership, member dispositions, and leveraging social networks.

In addition to reviewing the mechanism of committees, David Farris provides practical information regarding the functional application of committees (tactical, operational, or strategic), committee leadership and management, group dynamics that influence committee performance, and the importance of diversity and inclusive committee cultures to institutional performance. Throughout the book he identifies opportunities for faculty and administrators to reflect on their committee experiences, challenges readers to consider how to capitalize on committee experiences, and consider the various ways that committees shape institutional culture and performance.

This book provides guidance on how to create committees that are conducive to fair, equitable, and engaging participative decision-making experiences to yield the best results and to promote enthusiasm for participation in committees, whether as chairs or committee members.

From the Foreword:

"As a former dean and department chair, now professor, I highly recommend Understanding University Committees to my colleagues. After 45 years in higher education (35 years in academic administration), I assumed I effectively practiced the craft of meetings and committee work. Now I realize this is not the case!

Reading David Farris’s book gave me new insights and platforms for practice. It is the first book to examine committees as a unique phenomenon. He researched and illuminated the morass of meetings professors live by, and enlightens us with new perspectives on what is frequently unnoticed and often left in the dark for us discover on our own. Astutely, the author also wisely consulted the business literature on teams and group dynamics to embellish his search for effective conditions for committees.

Now, more than ever, universities need this fresh perspective, as the role of faculty and campus government has changed dramatically over time."

Walt Gmelch, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Leadership Studies - University of San Francisco

"Farris paints an apt picture of campus committees through their more ideal state based on carefully executed roles, clear expectations, well-crafted planning, able leadership and organizational support to their more dysfunctional state based on politics, power, incivility, deviant and discriminatory behaviors. At their best, they provide sound governance, institutional social learning, and an incubator for future leaders. And like many social processes, they are better able to meet this promise when carefully designed–as outlined through the research in this book- and when they encounter some 'luck'."

Adrianna Kezar, PhD, Wilbur Kieffer Endowed Professor and Dean's Professor of Leadership - USC, Director of the Pullias Center (pullias.usc.edu) and Director Delphi Project

Understanding University Committees is a highly useful combination of practical examples and relevant theory on the functions of committees and how they can be most effective. The book is certainly timely, given the new challenges to university governance, and will reward administrators and sometimes-reluctant faculty alike.”

Peter N. Stearns, Provost Emeritus and University Professor - George Mason University

“Committees are central to the life and governance of a university. While we may at times dread them, they are quintessential in our culture of shared-governance, critical in the social dynamic of an institution, and effective mechanisms of leadership development and professional advancement. Having worked with David Farris for seven years at George Mason University, and having witnessed his many contributions through numerous committees, I can’t think of a better person to illustrate how committees can serve institutions and its members more effectively.”

Ángel Cabrera, President - Georgia Institute of Technology

"Dr. Farris has made a significant contribution to understanding the critical importance as well as the sometimes mysterious role of committees in shared governance in higher education leadership and management. As high level as committees of the governing board to the daily mundane operational and academic committees, these bodies are the communication neural synapses that allow for shared governance and accountability within the complex governance and administrative structures that are the foundation of colleges and universities today. I commend David for his research and understandable and relatable work and recommend this book to anyone who aspires to maximize their effectiveness in higher education leadership and management."

Lawrence D. Czarda, Ph.D. - Greensboro College

Foreword—Walt Gmelch
Acknowledgements
Introduction

1) What is a Committee?
2) The Ideal State
3) Committee Foundations
4) Committee Composition
5) Committee Planning and Management
6) Committee Leadership
7) Committee Member Characteristics
8) Committee Group Dynamics
9) Committee Life Cycle
10) Closing Thoughts

Appendix: Virtual Committees
References
Author and Contributors
Index

David A. Farris

David Farris is the Executive Director for Safety and Emergency Management at George Mason University. In addition to developing the university’s emergency management program, David helped design and implement environmental protection, laboratory safety, occupational safety, and fire safety programs while working for the university’s department of Safety, Emergency, and Enterprise Risk Management. David has extensive experience collaborating with administrators and faculty on a variety of projects and has served on numerous committees to address topics to include but not limited to minors on campus, space utilization and schedule, international student and faculty travel, threat assessment, emergency operations, and governance for state and national associations. David completed his Ph.D. with a concentration in Higher Education Administration from George Mason University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2016 and is an affiliate faculty member with George Mason University’s Higher Education Program. His research interests include organizational citizenship behavior, university committees, and small group research. David also holds an MBA from George Mason University’s School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology from Texas A&M University. For more information about David’s research and work, please visit https://universityadmin.com

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