In many ways this book is as natural an outgrowth of my activi-
ties as writing a book on complex analysis. I did a great deal of work
learning about the topic, and I felt I wanted to write the book that I
wish had been available to me when I started my study. As I was con-
templating becoming the head of a department, I would have profited
from the kind of document I am writing now. It would certainly have
been kept within easy reach during my first year as head, when I was
cautiously feeling my way. Even as a graduate student I might have
read a book like this, and I definitely would have as a new faculty
member in my first department. I have always been curious how de-
partments run, and I was never certain whether my department was
typical or unusual.
As stated in the title, this book is a personal view of the office of
head. Like everyone else, I am influenced by what has happened to
me, what I have done, and what I have seen in my career as a faculty
member and as a department head. I fervently believe that what I
write about here applies to many other departments, not just my own.
Yes, I will tell you many of the things I do as a a department head.
No, this does not mean that I think you should do what I do.
If there is one thing I have learned as a department head, it is
that problems connected with people seldom have unique solutions.
Problems involving people, however, are uniquely defined by that per-
son, the place where they are, and the time in which they live. So even
though something works for me, it might not work for you. You might
also solve a problem in a way that makes you feel more comfortable
than anything I propose. Maybe your solution is better. Write me a
letter or email; I'm interested.
When I discuss important topics like tenure, salaries, and recruit-
ing, I'll present what I see as the difficulties, the important questions,
and the potential hazards to a department head when (s)he makes a
decision in such an arena. But I'll also tell you what I think is a good
course of action. If you're looking for an objective presentation, you'll