Pressing pause on your administrative career

January 14, 2020

Margaret Farrar recounts her decision to decline what she describes as a "gentleman's agreement" with her institution's president that would see her extend her contract as a dean for a year so that she could seek a new deanship elsewhere. For Farrar, the decision was complicated, creating tension between her personal responsibilities with career aspirations that would see her relocate every four or five years. Although unsure if her decision to pause her administrative responsibilities would "kill her career," the author suggests that her experience sheds light on a phenomenon not often discussed in relation to administrative roles in higher ed: we know how to move "onward and upward" in our administrative careers, but not what it means to move "onward and downward," or even "onward and sideways." Chronicle of Higher Education (International)