Department Chairs Planning Session

View a list of participants.

As a means of launching Five College strategic planning, on September 26, 2009, Five College Executive Director Neal Abraham asked faculty members gathered for the annual Five College meeting of department chairs to devote their plenary session to discussion of three questions (click each one to access the Chairs' responses):

  1. In your experience, what are some of the things that the Five College Consortium does really well?
  2. In your experience, what are some of the things that the Five College Consortium does that it could do better?
  3. Based on your experience, what are some of the things that the Five College Consortium presently doesn't do that we might do effectively?

Chairs took a few minutes to write brief responses to each question on forms included in their registration packets. Discussion followed, and the forms were collected as chairs left to attend breakout sessions. Ninety-two chairs returned the forms. The chairs’ suggestions for improvements -- and their recommendations for new cooperative initiatives -- are being incorporated into Five College’s online planning database. What follows is a brief summary.

In the forms submitted, chairs identified as successes the consortium’s support of faculty seminars, library coordination, the course Interchange, support for collaboratively organized events, joint faculty appointments, joint academic programs (many chairs listed programs by name), the Faculty Exchange, the bus system, consortial grant writing. They even lauded the value of the annual meeting of department chairs.

Perhaps not surprisingly, chairs felt many of these same areas of consortial activity need more work. Many pointed to the Course Interchange, suggesting specific improvements—easier cross-campus registration processes (perhaps even a single registration system), better presentation of courses (for example, courses could be listed online by departments and subfields), coordination of course schedules. Chairs especially insisted that successful course interchange requires restoring the alignment of campus calendars. Several chairs suggested the interchange is impeded by departmental advisement and expressed concern that interchange enrollments are not properly credited when administrations calculate departmental and faculty member workloads. Some said campuses should hold places in courses for Five College students, especially when a course is required for their majors. Some suggested courses likely to drawing large numbers of interchange students should be concentrated at particular hours of the day or centrally located. Many chairs also called for improvements in transportation to support not only the interchange, but student life, and community engagement. While applauding library coordination in general, chairs repeatedly called for expanding shared access to e-resources. Chairs said academic cooperation required more infrastructural support -- better web presentation of course information, regular meetings by departments and subfields (either actual or online) to discuss scheduling courses and leaves and to explore integrating curricula. They also recommended creating more incentives for cooperation. Some chairs expressed uneasiness about joint appointments, noting the need for greater clarity regarding procedures for appointment and review and the challenges posed by 2-way shares. Some called for a study of tenure rates -- and of post tenure outcomes for departments hosting joint appointments. Many chairs suggested the need for better communication: news of events should flow routinely among the campuses; and Five College opportunities should be better advertised. Many called for greater support of spousal partners.

Chairs had many suggestions for new work -- they had more to say in response to this question than either of the others. Chairs suggested more sharing of mid and senior level faculty members, including the creation of multi-year arrangements and facilitation of cross-campus team-teaching, which they viewed as inhibited by current procedures and incentive structures. Many chairs also called for pooling resources to support research and scholarship, including collaborative work (for example, the establishment of a Five College research institute similar to Smith’s Kahn Center, support for field research centers within the U.S. and abroad, collaborative funding of research facilities and scholarly journals, and greater coordination of exhibitions and more sharing of exhibition spaces). In a related vein, several called for the development of Five College post-baccalaureate programs and more arrangements usefully connecting faculty members at the colleges (and possibly college students) with graduate students from the University. Some also suggested the need for new collaboratively funded staff positions (for example, to coordinate international internships, teacher certification, and service learning and community-based learning placements in local communities).

While chairs clearly value institutional autonomy -- and see the diversity of the institutions that comprise the consortium as one of its strengths -- some also suggested the need to reconfigure institutional decision-making. For example, some argued that Five College possibilities should become more central to planning at each institution, in particular, that Five College programs, especially interdisciplinary programs, need a larger voice in staffing decisions currently dictated on each campus primarily by departments. Some chairs also called for changes to Five College governance, arguing that faculty voices need to be more central in Five College planning. Various means were suggested: annual meetings of Five College program directors (like the annual meeting of department chairs), direct access to the Five College Deans Council by faculty groups seeking Five College support, creation of a Five College Faculty Council.

Department Chairs Planning Session Participants

Carol Clark, Amherst College, American Studies
Susan Tracy, Hampshire College, American Studies
Richard Millington, Smith College, American Studies
Randall Knoper, University of Massachusetts, American Studies
Donald Weber, Mount Holyoke College, American Studies
Paul Staiti, Mount Holyoke College, American Studies
Deborah Gewertz, Amherst College, Anthropology
Barbara Yngvesson, Hampshire College, Anthropology
Debbora Battaglia, Mount Holyoke College, Anthropology
Elliot Fratkin, Smith College, Anthropology
Elizabeth Chilton, University of Massachusetts, Anthropology
Carol Keller, Amherst College, Art-Studio
Daniel Kojo Schrade, Hampshire College, Art-Studio
Nancy Campbell, Mount Holyoke College, Art-Studio
Lee Burns, Smith College, Art-Studio
Young Min Moon, University of Massachusetts, Art-Studio
Nicola Courtright, Amherst College, Art-History
Karen Koehler, Hampshire College, Art-History
Paul Staiti, Mount Holyoke College, Art-History
Barbara Kellum, Smith College, Art-History
Monika Schmitter, University of Massachusetts, Art-History
Lawrence Babb, Amherst College, Asian Studies
Susan Darlington, Hampshire College, Asian Studies
Naoko Nemoto, Mount Holyoke College, Asian Studies
Maki Mirano Hubbard, Smith College, Asian Studies
Dan Gardner, Smith College, Asian Studies
C.N. Le, University of Massachusetts, Asian Studies
Zhong-wei Shen, University of Massachusetts, Asian Studies
Patricia O’Hara, Amherst College, Biochemistry
Lillian M. Hsu, Mount Holyoke College, Biochemistry
Adam Hall, Smith College, Biochemistry
Danny Schnell, University of Massachusetts, Biochemistry
Patrick Williamson, Amherst College, Biological Sciences
Chris Jarvis, Hampshire College, Biological Sciences
Jeffrey Knight, Mount Holyoke College, Biological Sciences
Stephen Tilley, Smith College Biological Sciences
Rolf Karlstrom University of Massachusetts, Biological Sciences
Jeffery Ferguson, Amherst College, Black Studies
Amy Jordan, Hampshire College, Black Studies
Dorothy Mosby, Mount Holyoke College, Black Studies
Louis Wilson, Smith College, Black Studies
Amilcar Shabazz, University of Massachusetts, Black Studies
Mark Marshall, Amherst College, Chemistry
Dula Amarasiriwardena, Hampshire College, Chemistry
Wei Chen, Mount Holyoke College, Chemistry
David Bickar, Smith College, Chemistry
Carig Martin, University of Massachusetts, Chemistry
Rick Griffiths, Amherst College, Classics
Robert Meagher, Hampshire College, Classics
Geoffrey Sumi, Mount Holyoke College, Classics
Nancy Shumate, Smith College, Classics
Marios Philippides, University of Massachusetts, Classics
Katwiwa Mule, Smith College, Comparative Literature
William Moebius, University of Massachusetts, Comparative Literature
John Rager, Amherst College, Computer Science
Lee Spector, Hampshire College, Computer Science
Audrey St. John, Mount Holyoke College, Computer Science
Joseph O’Rourke, Smith College, Computer Science
Andrew Barto, University of Massachusetts, Computer Science
Steven Rivkin, Amherst College, Economics
Laurie Nisonoff, Hampshire College, Economics
Satya Gabriel, Mount Holyoke College, Economics
Charles Staelin, Smith College, Economics
Gerald Epstein, University of Massachusetts, Economics
Kristen Luschen, Hampshire College, Education
Lenore Reilly-Carlisle, Mount Holyoke, College, Education
Susan Etheredge, Smith College, Education
Joe Berger, University of Massachusetts, Education
Harriet Pollatsek, Mount Holyoke College, Mathematics and Engineering
Linda Jones, Smith College, Engineering
Theodore Djaferis, University of Massachusetts, Engineering
Rhonda Cobham-Sander, Amherst College, English
L. Brown Kennedy, Hampshire College, English
Frank Brownlow, Mount Holyoke College, English
Nancy Bradbury, Smith College, English
Joseph Bartolomeo, University of Massachusetts, English
Jan Dizard, Amherst College, Environmental Studies
Brian Schultz, Hampshire College, Environmental Studies
Tim Farnham, Mount Holyoke College, Environmental Studies
Drew Guswa, Smith College, Environmental Studies
Todd Fuller, University of Massachusetts, Environmental Studies
Catherine LeGouis, Mount Holyoke College, French
Mary Ellen Birkett, Smith College, French
Julie Hayes, University of Massachusetts, French
Paul Rockwell, Amherst College, French
Anna Martini, Amherst College, Geology
Steven Roof, Hampshire College, Geology
Thomas Millette, Mount Holyoke College, Geology
Robert Newton, Smith College, Geology
Michael Williams, University of Massachusetts, Geology
Ute Brandes, Amherst College, German
Karen Remmler, Mount Holyoke College, German
Jocelyn Kolb, Smith College, German
Sara Lennox, University of Massachusetts, German
Kevin Sweeney, Amherst College, History
James Wald, Hampshire College, History
Jeremy King Mount Holyoke, College, History
Richard Lim, Smith College, History
Audrey Altstadt, University of Massachusetts, History
Ombretta Frau, Mount Holyoke College, Italian
Alfonso Procaccini, Smith College, Italian
Michael Papio, University of Massachusetts, Italian
Rachel Rubinstein, Hampshire College, Jewish Studies
Lawrence Fine, Mount Holyoke College, Jewish Studies
Ellen Kaplan, Smith College, Jewish Studies
Shmuel Bolozky, University of Massachusetts, Jewish Studies
Lawrence Douglas, Amherst College, Legal Studies
Flavio Risech-Ozeguera, Hampshire College, Legal Studies
John Hird, University of Massachusetts, Legal Studies
Davis Cox, Amherst College, Mathematics
Kenneth Hoffman, Hampshire College, Mathematics
Janice Gifford, Mount Holyoke College, Mathematics
Christophe Gole, Smith College, Mathematics
George Avrunin, University of Massachusetts, Mathematics
Eric Sawyer, Amherst College, Music
Daniel Warner, Hampshire College, Music
Linda Laderach, Mount Holyoke College, Music
Jane Bryden, Smith College, Music
Jeff Cox, University of Massachusetts, Music
J.P. Baird, Amherst College, Neuroscience
Jane Couperus, Hampshire College, Neuroscience
Sarah Bacon, Mount Holyoke College, Neuroscience
Adam Hall, Smith College, Neuroscience
Jerrold Meyer, University of Massachusetts, Neuroscience
Nishi Shah, Amherst College, Philosophy
Laura Sizer, Hampshire College, Philosophy
Lee Bowie, Mount Holyoke College, Philosophy
Elizabeth Spelman, Smith College, Philosophy
Philip Bricker, University of Massachusetts, Philosophy
William Loinaz, Amherst College, Physics
Fred Wirth, Hampshire College, Physics
Janice Hudgings, Mount Holyoke College, Physics
Doreen Weinberger, Smith College, Physics,
Donald Candela, University of Massachusetts, Physics
Kristin Bumiller, Amherst College, Political Science
Frank Holmquist, Hampshire College, Political Science
Joan Cocks, Mount Holyoke College, Political Science
Howard Gold, Smith College, Political Science
John Hird, University of Massachusetts, Political Science
Sarah Turgeon, Amherst College, Psychology
Melissa Burch, Hampshire College, Psychology
Joseph Cohen, Mount Holyoke College, Psychology
Fletcher Blanchard, Smith College, Psychology
Melinda Novak, University of Massachusetts, Psychology
Maria Heim, Amherst College, Religion
Jamie Hubband, Smith College, Religion
Alan Hodder, Hampshire College, Religion
John Grayson, Mount Holyoke College, Religion
Catherine Ciepiela, Amherst College, Russian
Polina Barskova, Hampshire College, Russian
Peter Scotto, Mount Holyoke College, Russian
Alexander Woronzoff-Dashkoff, Smith College, Russian
Robert Rothstein, University of Massachusetts, Russian
Deborah Gewertz, Amherst College, Sociology
Wilson Valentin, Hampshire College, Sociology
Eleanor Townsley, Mount Holyoke College, Sociology
Marc Steinberg, Smith College, Sociology
Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, University of Massachusetts, Sociology
James Maraniss, Amherst College, Spanish
Norman Holland, Hampshire College, Spanish
Nieves Romero Diaz, Mount Holyoke College, Spanish
Michelle Joffroy, Smith College Spanish
Luis Marentes, University of Massachusetts, Spanish
Wendy Woodson, Amherst College, Theater
Natalie Sowell, Hampshire College, Theater
Vanessa James, Mount Holyoke College, Theater
Ellen Kaplan, Smith College, Theater
Penny Remsen, University of Massachusetts, Theater
Michele Barale, Amherst College, Women’s Studies
Margaret Cerullo, Hampshire College, Women’s Studies
Mary Renda, Mount Holyoke College, Women’s Studies
Susan Van Dyne, Smith College, Women’s Studies
Arlene Avakian, University of Massachusetts, Women’s Studies
Greg Call, Dean, Amherst College
Alan Goodman, Dean, Hampshire College
Donal O’Shea, Dean of the Faculty, Mount Holyoke College
Sally Sutherland, Dean, Mount Holyoke College
John Davis, Dean and Associate Provost, Smith College
Marilyn Schuster, Dean and Provost, Smith College
Robert Feldman, Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Massachusetts
Joel Martin, Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts
Mary Deane Sorcinelli, Associate Provost for Faculty Development, University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Staros, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Massachusetts Amherst