Reactions to Netflix's The Chair

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2022-09-30
Authors
Ludvik, Marilee B
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Copyright © 2022 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company
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Hagedorn, Linda
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School of Education
Abstract
Thanks to Netflix and its limited series The Chair, the role of the department chair is now better understood by the general public. Or is it? The Chair follows a fictional newly minted department chair sharing her trials and tribulations, along with a good dose of drama, all aimed at a general audience with little to no exposure to academic leadership. But what does The Chair actually reveal about university departmental leadership? And what are the real issues driving the drama that ring true and have now been laid out for all to see? The symbolic opening scene of the newly appointed chair walking into her newly assigned office and sitting down at a well-used desk chair that crumbles as soon as she does so is an omen of future doom for the new administrator. The symbolism is obvious and straightforward; just like the office chair itself, the new chair will also collapse in carrying out her duties. What challenges should any new chair become aware of so that they don't meet the same fate? Using Netflix's The Chair as our framework, we discuss three evident challenges that most department leaders face, regardless of their race and gender, that even the general public can now understand and sympathize with.
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This article is published as Ludvik, M.B. and Hagedorn, L.S. (2022), Reactions to Netflix's The Chair. The Department Chair, 33: 18-19. https://doi.org/10.1002/dch.30477. Posted with permission.
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