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To the Dark Side and Back: The Administrative Odyssey of an Academic Sociologist with Lessons Learned

Cecil L. Willis
The American Sociologist
Vol. 41, No. 2 (June 2010), pp. 190-209
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40664151
Page Count: 20
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To the Dark Side and Back: The Administrative Odyssey of an Academic Sociologist with Lessons Learned
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Abstract

My first semester as a tenure-track faculty member at a mid-size university began ignominiously and suggested that my academic career might be short-lived. It began with a blistering memo that was stridently critical of the academic dean's policy which led to being taken to the proverbial woodshed. Other less serious episodes followed which put me at odds with the "administration." Yet I have spent more than a third of my career in administrative positions, including a stint in the provost's office (as an assistant vice chancellor), and only recently returned to faculty status. Over the course of my academic career I have noticed that a large number of academic sociologists have taken administrative positions in academia beyond that of the department chair. This paper will explore this phenomenon and discuss the reasons members of the 'debunking' discipline assume administrative roles. I will address this issue within the context of my personal Odyssey in administration and how the sociological perspective and imagination has contributed to working in the 'dark side' of academia. Finally, I will discuss lessons learned and recommendations for the aspirant administrators among the ranks of academic sociologists.

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