Two years ago I left the ADE conference brimming with ideas to apply to my first weeks of a three-year appointment as chair of Dickinson College's largest department, with seventeen full-time faculty members, two newly appointed that year. Listening to the issues raised in Purchase helped me assess my department's strengths and needs and gave me a healthy sense of the limitations of a chair's agency. Intuitively I turned my habits as a reader-response critic and framer of course syllabi toward shaping a few departmental themes for my first year as chair. I worked from three main principles, suited both to my temperament and to the tenor of the times at Dickinson. These were, first, to build departmental community; second, to harness rather than dissipate energy; and, third, to address multiple audiences simultaneously. The political climate offered opportunities to put a new stamp on the direction of the department. To wit, for entirely benign reasons, I was to be the fourth department chair in four years. We had just hired two new faculty members in the department after a lull of a half dozen years. And, importantly, Dickinson trustees had appointed a new, energetic, and ambitious president whose favorite word seemed to be entrepreneurial.
Moffat, Wendy. "Marketing the English Major; or, Tending the Garden, Organically." ADE Bulletin 128, Spring (2001): 25-31. https://www.ade.mla.org/bulletin/article/ade.128.25