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Co-director model as a way to broaden, validate, and provide built-in feedback mechanism for decisions.
We, Deborah Mutnick and Jose R. Sanchez, stumbled on this arrangement for very pragmatic reasons. Each of us was working towards a LC model through two separate initiatives. It made no sense to relinquish leadership to the other or erase the knowledge gains from each initiative when we combined our efforts. Later, the administration proposed making leadership of the LC program into a dean. We both rejected that move and insisted on keeping our co-directorship. Now, it has become clear that this arrangement offers many benefits. We strongly recommend it to faculty in other colleges about to launch a LC program. Here are the benefits as we see them. The LC co-directorship model means:
a. We engage in constant collaboration and a sharing of power and this serves as a continuing demonstration to LC faculty of how to do the same. Obviously, personality and career ambitions differ and will affect the ability of particular co-directors to get along with each other. But with a modicum of respect and success, this model can serve as a great lesson for the faculty collaboration necessary for LC courses.
c. We have learned how to capitalize on each other’s strengths. We each have greater insight into our strengths and weaknesses… mostly weaknesses. And this has made the program stronger.
d. We serve as technical and conceptual resources to each other in planning, troubleshooting, and implementing the program (Boards and program members are simply not as accessible as we are to each other, both logistically and conceptually)
e. It has permitted us to keep our full-time faculty status, teach, and be able to keep a personal scholarly agenda. This is also very important for the LC program. It legitimizes the program to faculty as well as provides better insight into faculty concerns and issues. We see our mission as broader than the LC program. We hope to catalyze change throughout the core curriculum. Keeping our faculty senses alert and devoted to academic concerns gives us a better opportunity to discuss and collaborate with faculty in curriculum changes.
f. We have been able to minimize the burden of attending to administrative responsibilities and faculty functions. We still tend to do a lot of things together. But there have been times when one or the other cannot attend an important meeting, like with the Board of Trustees or the faculty senate, and only one of us goes.