Chairs Caucus (fwd)

Anne Pilgrim (
Mon, 15 Dec 1997 08:37:08 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 1997 10:39:26 -0500 (EST)
From: Sandra Pyke <>
To: Anne Pilgrim <>
Subject: Chairs Caucus

Hi Anne,

At the meeting the Governance Committee attended with the Chairs Caucus,
we ran out of time but there are a couple of issues that weren't raised
that your committee may
want to consider although it may be that they fall outside your
mandate or terms of reference. One issue is whether Chairs should be part
of the bargaining unit or outside it. I expect there are a range of views
on this matter. I haven't discussed this with my fellow (and one
sister) chairs so I have no idea whether others perceive this as
problematic or not. As I expect you know very well from your own
experience, the Chair position is a difficult one at the best of times,
requiring both leadership and followership (if there is such a word)
behaviour. The added complexities associated with being part of the
bargaining unit under conditions of an acrimonious labour dispute seemed
to have created very serious tensions within at least some chairs and some
departments. The Chair must be responsive to all factions within his or
her unit and the requirement to be part of the union has the potential of
limiting the Chair's effectiveness as a mediator within the department

The second issue concerns the appointment of Chairs. Again, as you know,
the university has an affirmative action policy vis a vis hiring women
faculty but no such policy applies to the appointment of administrators.
I am not sure that a policy of this sort would be viable or appropriate in
the context of academic administrative positions but I must admit to being
quite disturbed by the fact that until very recently (with the appointment
of the Chair of Women's Studies), I was the only woman chairing an
academic dept. in the Faculty of Arts. Of course, I am also the only
woman chair in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science but I guess that
falls outside the purview of the committee.

As I said above, it may be that these issues are somewhat tangential to
the committee's concerns so I will leave it to you to determine whether
they should be carried forward or not.

Very best wishes for a pleasant holiday.

Sandra W. Pyke, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Psychology,
York University,
North York, Ont. M3J1P3
Telephone: (416) 736-5116
Fax: (416) 736-5814