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Academic Leadership Case Studies from Insight Assessment

The Insight Assessment website is now providing a set of eighteen fictional cases designed to support the professional development of academic chairs, deans, and vice presidents.
You can find the Academic Leadership Case Studies online. The author of these cases, Dr. Peter Facione, is a former Chair of the American Conference of Academic Deans. He believes that conversations and reflections on case studies refine academic leadership and professional decision making by helping people see assumptions, consequences and options. As he states it, “The events and characters depicted in the short cases presented are all fictional. The situations, however, are not uncommon. There is more than one reasonable way to approach each case; yet, some ideas about what to do or why to do it are going to be more humane, more prudent, more just, more sensitive to core responsibilities, more practical, more effective in the short and long term, and, hence, frankly, better, than others. There are certainly some serious mistakes a person can make in each case, mistakes with unfortunate consequences for the individuals involved, for the common good, and for the institution.”

The eighteen fictional cases are grouped as indicated below. Each is a story with questions interspersed to provide opportunities for problem framing, critical and creative thinking, decision-making, and good judgment. Cases are in .pdf file format.

Chairs
“The Core Course Setback”
A faculty colleague fails to complete a curricular project of vital importance to the future of the department.

“The Defenders of the Right”
A student appeals the final grand assigned by an obstreperous professor.

“The Innocent Gift”
A faculty member gives an administrative assistant a gift as compensation for unauthorized overtime work.

“Moonlight and Sunshine”
Faculty moonlighting causes hard feelings in the department and creates potential conflicts of interest.

“Between The Rock and a Hard Place”
A Chair tries to sort out the rights and responsibilities of the departmental administrative assistant vis-á-vis the expectations of different departmental faculty.

Chairs and Deans
“Clearing Trees and Planting Seeds”
A Chair seeks the Dean’s advice on making a very difficult colleague take on a needed assignment.

“Rumors and Ruminations”
Senior faculty from different departments compare inconsistent interpretations of college budget policy.

“Welcome Back, Popper”Ü
Just before the term starts the Dean learns that a tenured professor, whose courses are fully enrolled, may need a disability leave relating to substance abuse..

“Eye of the Beholder”
The new Chair’s evaluation of an untenured faculty colleague is seriously inconsistent with the past Chair’s.

“You Can’t Copyright an Idea”
An angry and aggrieved assistant professor accuses a senior colleague of plagiarizing research.

Deans
“The Evaluation Appeal”
A faculty member appeals an unfavorable departmental evaluation on grounds of both merit and disability.

“The Power Diving Probationer”
A new assistant professor alienates almost all departmental colleagues in record time.

“Friends and Family”
A Chair’s enthusiasm for hiring a talented friend threatens to generate multiple problems.

“Never Again: The Promotion Denial”
A new President denies promotion to a less than stellar candidate whom the Dean and faculty had supported.

Academic Vice Presidents
“The One-time Budget Fix”
An in-basket awash in budget problems leads the vice president seriously to consider selling parts of the curriculum.

“Serving the Stockholder’s Interests”
An influential benefactor and an angry President demand that an offending assistant professor be summarily fired.

“The Free Market of Ideas”
Questions of intellectual property rights and curricular control emerge when a star professor’s course is sold.

“The Husband’s Wife’s Professor”
The husband’s attorney demands that college take steps to end an alleged affair between the wife and her professor.