Faculty Administrative Career Pathways

Faculty Administrative Career Pathways

What are the goals of the module?

The goals of this module are for mid-career faculty to understand administrative career pathways within the University of California; discuss different ways to prepare for and be appointed to various positions over the course of an academic career; and to consider the pros and cons of potential administrative leadership choices.

Who is the audience for the module?

Mid-career faculty who have not yet had a faculty administrative position, or who are serving in one of their first administrative positions.

Why is the topic important?

Some faculty may be reluctant to step into administrative positions because they lack of awareness of where choices may lead. Others want to understand suggested pathways for obtaining a senior leadership position in the future either within or outside UC. This module can address common questions and concerns, for example, do I need to give up my research, will I fundamentally remain a faculty member, should I strive for a part-time or full-time position, should I temporarily leave the University to seek a new leadership role.

Suggested options for module delivery

  • Lead in-person case presentations, discussions of scenarios.
  • Conduct group interviews with high level academic administrators (Chancellor, EVCP, Dean) to learn about their career pathways.

Scenarios for discussion

  • A faculty member is interested in serving in an administrative role for the first time. She wonders what the advantages would be to first serving as chair on an academic senate committee, compared to a clinical director role, or department chair. She is concerned about how much time each role might take from her research.
  • The chair of the Music department has been serving in the role for three years. If his goal is to one day be a Vice Provost or Dean, should he continue for another several years, or would it be more advantageous for him to seek a new administrative position, such as seeking to serve on the Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP).
  • A full professor has served on many senate committees on the campus, but all of her service has been focused on the same general topic (e.g., research, equity and inclusion, etc.). She worries that she will get overly niched as a person who can only work on that topic. What advice would be useful to her?

Resources for developing the module

To best develop this module it would be advantageous to be prepared to describe some common administrative career pathways at your campus or location. For example -

  • Academic senate committee service; department service (e.g., chair); campuswide service (e.g., associate dean, dean, vice provost).

Recommended prerequisites

Understanding of the academic senate, shared governance, and UC administrative structure and functions.


Primary Category