First Advisor

Ulrich H. Hardt

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Administration


Educational Leadership and Policy




High school department heads -- Oregon, High schools -- Oregon -- Administration, High school department heads -- Oregon -- Attitudes



Physical Description

3, ix, 242 leaves 28 cm.


The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine and compare perceptions between high school department chairs and teachers regarding the role of the high school academic department chair in Oregon, a position which has been largely ignored in recent educational reform efforts. Schools selected for the study were limited to those sharing the same qualities of size and structure as those of the high schools in the researcher's own district. A researcher-constructed questionnaire defining 44 activities comprising five categories of department chair responsibility provided data from 118 high school department chairs and 114 teachers from 34 Oregon high schools. Respondents addressed three issues: (a) definition-perceptions of what the role of the high school department chair looks like in practice; (b) clarification-perceptions of which activities are most important to the role; and (c) extension-perceptions of which activities are most important for the department chair to continue to improve in carrying out the role. Results of this study show teachers' expectations for the role of the department chair to be substantially different from those of the chairs themselves. Chi-square testing revealed statistically significant (R < .05) incongruence of perceptions between department chairs and teachers for 21 of the 44 activities across all five of the categories of department chair responsibility. Department chairs consistently perceived themselves to devote more time to their role than teachers perceived chairs to spend. Teachers placed more importance than did chairs on protection of instructional time and support of teachers' professional needs and concerns. Statistically significant differences in perception between males and females in the study population were also found for 24 of the 44 activities. Females consistently valued more highly than did males those department chair activities that reflect a facilitative, collaborative approach to leadership. Greater percentages of males more highly valued management activities than did females. These findings suggest both ambiguity in role definition and incongruence of role expectations to be obstacles to effective role performance for the high school department chair. Open, focused dialogue is suggested as a means for resolving these contradictions.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL

Persistent Identifier