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Seven Habits of Effective Chapter Leaders

    Be proactive.  It’s imperative that we, as professionals, see beyond the crisis that often stimulate the formation of local chapters.  We can spearhead positive leadership in our colleges or universities.

    Be an academic leader.  Although we sometimes join AAUP chapters for reasons of immediate self-interest, we should continually remind others and ourselves that we are principled professionals who care about higher education.

    Be ready and organized.  Focus on the future, not the past.  This is true for both your chapter and your institution.  The crisis that was the impetus to form a chapter may be resolved but an effective chapter is one that is organized and prepared to address emerging issues of concern to the faculty.

    Be empowering.  Avoid one-leader chapters at all costs.  All too often, when that one individual goes, so does a chapter of twenty, thirty, or even fifty others.  Delegate and share responsibilities.  Empower your colleagues to identify projects and address issues of interest.  Find work that engages new members.  Members with responsibilities stay longer than those without them.

    Be a communicator.  Understand the issues facing your chapter and communicate about them to others.  Announcements, newsletters, and e-mail are the sinews that bind members together outside meetings.  They don’t need to be long, but they need to be regular and worth reading.

    Be respectful and value different perspectives.  We may disagree with each other about scholarship or significant aspects of educational policy, but we must do so in a collegial and respectful manner.  Collaboration and cooperation are important factors in accomplishing common goals that benefit our institutions.  Disagreeing with our colleagues doesn’t mean being disagreeable.

    Be a teacher and a learner.  As a leader, you do not have to know everything.  Be prepared to reach your colleagues and to learn from them as you work collectively.  Nourish relationships with your colleagues in the AAUP, and celebrate each other’s successes.  Friendships often bind people to organizations even when ideologies divide us.