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Work and Peace in Academe Leveraging Time, Money, and Intellectual Energy Through Managing Conflict

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2005-06-30
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
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List Price: $28.00


While academic freedom enables members of the academic community to pursue their work, it can also become a source of conflict between faculty members as well as individual faculty and administrators. In most instances, conflict in an academic environment requires only a clear system in which to pursue resolution. The creation of such a conflict management system will ideally correct misunderstandings before they lead to greater problems, and as such, it is of crucial importance to every higher education institution.Work and Peace in Academe assesses the nature of conflict in academic environments and describes practical ways to prevent and resolve unproductive disputes. Through stories, vignettes, and case studies, the author emphasizes the importance of integrity and trust to the ongoing success of any approach to managing conflict. To help readers develop effective conflict resolution systems, the book includes A framework for understanding conflict in an academic environment Suggested methods of conflict resolution Identification of key players and resources involved in effective systems Ideas for integrating dispute prevention, resolution, and management Best practices in conflict managementWritten for administrators and faculty leaders, Work and Peace in Academe will guide readers in developing a systematic approach to dispute resolution that preserves an institution's culture, history, procedures, and practices.

Author Biography

JAMES R.COFFMAN has had a diversified career, which contributed substantially to his interest in and views about dealing with conflict in the academic environment. He served as head of the department of Veterinary Surgery and Medicine and as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine before being appointed provost at Kansas State University in 1987. He served as provost for 17 years before stepping down in June of 2004. Early in his career, Coffman was in private veterinary medical practice. He also served on the Veterinary Clinical Sciences faculty at Kansas State University and the University of Missouri, specializing in equine medicine. He published more than 100 scientific and professional papers and one book in his discipline and lectured widely in the United States and internationally. He served as president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, which includes members from more than 40 countries, as well as president of the American College of Internal Veterinary Medicine. While dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Coffman chaired a gubernatorial task force that drafter the legislation for pari-mutual wagering in Kansas. He also served on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Professional Liability Insurance Trust, including two years as chairman. Coffman chaired a National Research Council Board on Agriculture subcommittee on the use of drugs in food producing animals. He has extensive experience in policy development in postsecondary education at the university level and through service on the Council of Chief Academic Officers of the Kansas Board of Regents universities. Coffman served on the Council on Academic Affairs Executive Committee in the national Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and on an American Council on Education sponsored task force on development of academic policy, which included multiple categories of institutions.
As a chief academic officer for 17 years, Coffman developed an ever greater interest in the prevention, resolution, and management of unproductive conflict, recognizing the injurious effect on individuals and the very large attendant loss of human and financial resources to the institution. These interests included extensive involvement in and furtherance of success for women and people of color, as well as conflict related to race and gender. He worked with faculty, staff, and other administrators to develop and refine policies and procedures to deal with conflict by addressing its causes and effects. This include policy facilitating the individualization of faculty work, along with improved approaches to post-tenure review, appeal, grievance, affirmative action, and alternative means of dispute resolution. This effort came to include creation of an institution-level, integrated systematic approach to resolution of disputes that preserved the value of productive conflict and the importance of informal methods.
Coffman’s background includes immediate family members who were or are attorneys. One of these was his father and the other is one of his sons. This, coupled with experience in private veterinary medicine (equine) practice, fourteen years as a faculty member, three years as head of a large academic department, three years as a dean, leadership roles in large, complex state and national organizations and projects, and seventeen years at the chief academic officer of a land-grant university, comprises a body of experience that is unique and affords a fresh look at how to evaluate and address conflict in the academic environment.

Table of Contents

About the Author viii
Acknowledgments x
Introduction xi
Conflict: Two Sides of One Coin
A Framework for Understanding Conflict in an Academic Environment
Methods of Conflict Resolution in an Academic Environment
Policy and Procedure: Development and Implementation
The Players and Their Roles: Governance and Administration
The Players and Their Roles: Institutional Offices
Key Collateral Players: Support and Specialty Personnel
Putting It All Together: Creating an Integrated System of Dispute Prevention, Resolution, and Management
Some Best Practices
Appendix 1: The Evaluation 133(14)
Appendix 2: A Matter of Intractable Conflict 147(22)
Appendix 3: An Instance of Gender Bias 169(22)
Appendix 4: A Case of Racial Discrimination: Perception or Reality? 191(22)
Suggested Readings 213(2)
Bibliography 215(2)
Index 217

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