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The College Administrator's Survival Guide Hardcover – August 28, 2006
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Tina Gunsalus has enormous experience as an administrator, and in this book, with the conversational tone that makes it so enjoyable to read, her knowledge and common sense shine through. The case studies she uses can be as funny as Richard Russo's Straight Man. Unfortunately, what sounds like a novel can be a real-life problem, and her recommendations for finding solutions are very useful. She used the cases in a workshop on our campus, and the academic leaders who attended found her compelling and thought-provoking--just like the advice in this book. (Hal Irvin, Executive Director, Organizational Development, Georgia Institute of Technology)
Where was this book when I was department chair? It provides an extremely useful and comprehensive set of tools and skills that would help almost anyone in academic administration--and in a conversational tone, with a good dose of humor. I found myself laughing one minute and shaking my head in recognition the next. Colleges should buy this book by the truckload and provide copies to all the poor souls who are about to be thrown into the abyss of academic administration. I learned a tremendous amount. (Laura Schreibman, former Associate Chancellor, University of California at San Diego)
With chapters such as "Embrace your fate" and "Bullies," the author reveals a down-to-earth style. Gunsalus says budgets and curriculum planning are a piece of cake when compared to people management. During her years in university administration she has had to investigate myriad problems, including sexual harassment and financial improprieties. The upside of confronting such "yucky problems" is her book, which reflects her hands-on experience with reworked procedures and managerial training. (Jean Marie Angelo University Business 2006-11-01)
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But this dry précis sells the book way short. Its notable strengths include:
* A rich lode of cases taken from the author's own experience and gleanings from years of consulting on other campuses. Anyone who has ever spent time as faculty or staff at a university will find much to interest them here.
* An analysis of the various kinds of problems likely to come up, together with clear guidelines for dealing with them, distilled from her deep experience and reflection.
* A natural and easy delivery that makes the book engaging and easy to read, and a consistently-maintained clarity that makes it easy to understand. I worry just a bit that some academic readers will conclude that any book so easy to understand must not be saying much. (Wrong!)
* A shining authenticity that has to appeal to every person of good will. The book is a potent manual of practical idealism dedicated to "leav[ing] the institution better than you found it".Read more ›
Each chapter of this book discusses a particular difficult issue in higher education administration. Examples include specific "hot-shot" faculty asking for unfair favors, the handling of controversial issues between faculty members and students, negotiation for shared resources across departments, and handling adult bullies, etc. Each chapter begins with a mini-case to illustrate the difficult problem involved. Then it discusses the related issues and how to handle every detail. At the end of each chapter, it presents the solution for the mini-case.
Reading this book enhanced my understanding of academic issues from an administrator's point of view. I had always thought that managing a higher education institution was less challenging than managing a Fortune-500 company. On the surface, it seemed that everything would just go by the book. Now I know that, it is far more complex than going by the book, though knowing "the book" is crucial. Being a college administrator has its own set of challenges: managing faculty members who do not want to be managed. Due to the employment structure (with tenured faculty, faculty who can bring in a vast amount of resources: publication and research grants, etc.), it is not entirely a direct command-and-control situation. In addition, since a university environment is quite decentralized, there are a lot of complicated interpersonal power issues among faculty, graduate assistants, and students. According to the author, one leverage administrators should use is the established mission and goals of the university.Read more ›
This would be a great book for all new hires.
Careers are like so many other events in life: there is what you learn in school and what you learn the hard way. This book teaches - in an entertaining and amusing way - what most of us learn the hard way and what some of us are still learning. And it teaches those practical lessons from a moral center that is seldom articulated.
My only real quarrel with this book is its title: It should be the Everyone's Survival Guide, because it is not just for college administrators. Anyone who has worked in an organization will recognize the types and the traps discussed in this book. This book would be a great gift for any young person starting a career, or anyone thinking about a new job or a career move. You won't be disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best book on the topic I have seen. I followed his advice for 9 years, and it brought me success and kudos. I recommend it to everyone who comes to me for advice.Published 1 month ago by Marsha W
This book is really a management 101 primer. Covering legal, ethical and technical challenges of managing in an academic setting, the book is an easy - if very basic - read.Published 3 months ago by Edward J. Barton
My mother who is a professor and an administrator loved this as a christmas gift.Published 6 months ago by Asa Witte
Very good book. It's an easy and interesting read about higher ed administration.Published 16 months ago by justme
This book arrived in the most timely manner and was hardly used.Published 17 months ago by Karen Warner
I read Gunsalus when I was a faculty union head on my campus and reread it when I became a department chair.
If you become an administrator, read it cover to cover. Read more