AdvanceVT

Departmental Climate Compendium. The Departmental Climate Compendium is a collection of policies and practices considered “successful strategies” to promote a positive and productive department climate. Many strategies were defined from departments within Virginia Tech while others were defined from other universities. The compendium provides guidance on (a) creating a sense of intellectual community, (b) providing a full and fair evaluation, (c) providing effective and supportive communication, (d) providing effective policies, and (e) focusing on work/life balance. The compendium, in combination with the 2008 Faculty Work/life Survey results, may assist departments in identifying areas of focus.

Climate Consultation. Members of the Leadership Team familiar with the 2008 Faculty Work/life Survey results are available for consultation. The purpose of these consultations is to assist colleges/departments in determining goals for changing department climate. Members of the Department Climate Committee may also be consulted about department climate issues. 

Work/life Balance PoliciesAdvanceVT has championed a suite of new policies that promote work/life balance. Policies include tenure-clock extension, modified duties, part-time tenure-track, dual career programs, and child care. In conjunction with Work/life Resources (see below), Virginia Tech has made considerable progress in promoting work-life balance. 

Human Resources

The Department of Human Resources offers consulting services through University Organizational and Professional Development, Experts in Action, and Employee Relations that can be engaged by colleges and departments to improve department climate.

University Organizational and Professional Development provides consulting services for a variety of organizational needs, including managing change, improving communication, process improvement, and meeting facilitation. UOPD also offers workshops focused on leadership and other professional development opportunities relevant to improving department climate.

Employee Relations provides employees and managers information on topics including personal issues affecting work performance, work environment, behavior and performance expectations, performance management, discipline, perceived unfair treatment, appeals, and grievances. Requests for mediation may be made through Employee Relations. Employee Relations staff also assist employees with voluntary referrals to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Work/life Resources provides a variety of information and programs to assist in the healthy integration of work and personal life. Personnel in this office are available for consultation about policies and practices to improve work/life balance. 

Equity Initiatives. This office provides faculty search committee training designed to promote best practices for all faculty searches, including a workshop on "Affirmative Action: What Hiring Managers Need to Know." Representatives from this office may pair with a college faculty member/administrator for a joint meeting with the search committee members.

Harassment and Discrimination Prevention. Human Resources provides consultation and assistance to administrators and faculty members who are dealing with possible harassment or discrimination issues, and investigates situations involving possible sexual harassment. In addition, the office offers workshops for groups in all colleges and departments on harassment and discrimination prevention and appropriate case handling.

Conflict Resolution. This program offers mediation and other informal conflict resolution strategies as well as workshops and education on individual skill building processes.

Office for Inclusion and Diversity

The Office for Inclusion and Diversity envisions a university where the commitment to building a community of excellence through the affirmation of difference is seen in the composition of its leadership, faculty, staff, and students; through its policies, procedures, and practices; within its organizational structures; across its curricula; integrated into its co-curricular services and programs; and woven into the fabric of its interpersonal relationships. To that end, its mission is to promote, sustain, and advance an environment that supports principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and community.

Office of the Provost

The provost's office provides support for the Department Heads' Council and additional resources for academic leaders.

Members of the Office of the Provost are available to consult on the development and implementation of department or university policies, especially policies related to faculty evaluation, promotion and tenure, and work-life balance. Suggestions for outside consultants, research literature, web material, contacts at other institutions, and other resources on a variety of topics can be provided. Information on issues of importance to women and faculty of color is available. 

The Women’s Center staff is available to consult with or develop programs in conjunction with departments concerning women faculty, staff, or students.

Other Resources for Department Heads

University of Washington Leadership Excellence for Academic Diversity Resources

American Council on Education Department Chair Programs

University of Wisconsin Advance Program Resources for Department Chairs