2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (2225 October 2006)
Paper No. 235-2
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


FEISS, P. Geoffrey, Office of the Provost, College of William and Mary, The Brafferton, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23185-8795, pgfeis@wm.edu

Deans are never lonely; they never lack visitors. Most visitors are supplicants, mendicants, or miscreants; deans are paid to tell them apart. So, your proposal for a new or revitalized geoscience program joins pleas for equally exciting initiatives in neuroscience, nanotechnology, global studies, conservation biology, homeland security studies, diaspora studies, or lesser taught languages -- each with enthusiastic proponents and ruthless logic that defy the dean not to consent.

Who will win?

This is neither a crap shoot nor a random walk. In a functional university, the winners share common attributes: Deep knowledge of the rules that govern new program development Clear and unequivocal alignment with the published mission statement, vision, and strategic goals and objectives of the home academic unit(s) A cadre of enthusiastic and respected supporters, especially in other academic units, known to have the best interests of the institution and students at heart A business plan yes, a business plan (for $100 you can buy software that will help you do this) that identifies space, personnel (don't forget technicians and administrative staff), equipment, and funding requirements; sets clearly achievable goals and objectives in areas like course enrollments, numbers of graduates, external funding, research or service expectations with timelines and clear decision points; and outlines your assessment plan External validation of the importance of your program whether from alumni, local community leaders, consultants, or the national agenda (e.g. NSF or NAS) and preferably all of the above Strong leaders who will, either as a consequence of proven competence at the institution or with written commitments to new staff in hand, work cooperatively and collaboratively with the academic leadership, faculty governance committees, fund-raisers, and the rest of the faculty who, inevitably, see you as one more hungry mouth to feed

Then, avoid the temptation to go around key committees or administrators; take on your opponents. Do the hard work; demonstrate that you are a team-player. Persist; don't make it personal; and make friends, not enemies. Deans like successes; they have failures enough.

And, be sure your administrative champion is going to be there long enough to get your roots deep into the academic subsoil.

2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (2225 October 2006)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 235--Booth# 129
Building New and Rebuilding Defunct College and University Geoscience Programs for the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities, Successes and Failures (Posters)
Pennsylvania Convention Center: Exhibit Hall C
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 38, No. 7, p. 566

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