Dissertation Abstract

An Assessment of the Academic Role of Departmental Chairpersons in Selected Allied Health Professions.

Publication Number:  AT8207383
Author:  Anderson, Shirley
School:  Saint Louis University
Date:  1981
Pages:  223
Subject:  Education, Allied Health

The managerial role of the departmental chairperson in Schools of Allied Health Professions has been discussed in the literature. Also, several grant-sponsored conferences have been conducted to assist chairpersons in becoming competent managers. A review of the literature indicated that the academic, teaching role of the chairperson has not been defined. An allied health chairperson needs: Professional (competency in a specific Allied Health Profession), Educational and Managerial expertise. The degree of expertise in each of these areas influences ambient and central educational goals for allied health programs.

Since there are several unanswered questions about the academic role of the departmental chairperson, this investigation concentrated on obtaining information via a questionnaire from chairpersons of baccalaureate, degree-granting programs in the United States for four Allied Health Professions: (1) Medical Record Administration (MRA); (2) Medical Technology (MT); (3) Physical Therapy (PT); (4) Radiologic Technology (RT). The questionnaire was sent in early May of 1980 to 212 chairpersons, and a follow-up post card was mailed at the end of May. By June 27, 170 had responded, an 80% return rate. Of these, 162 were valid responses; that is, from chairpersons in baccalaureate degree-granting programs. Distribution across programs was as follows: (A) 39 MRA; (B) 39 MT; (C) 58 PT; (D) 26 RT. Responses to the questionnaire were analyzed item by item with frequencies and percentages being obtained for each of the 64 items in the questionnaire. A chi-square analysis was conducted for certain items to determine differences: across programs; according to the sex of the respondents; dependent on years of experience as a chairperson; according to highest academic degree; dependent on a degree in education; based on years of working experience in health care facilities; and relating to years of full-time teaching experience.

Results of this descriptive study have: (1) reinforced some of the earlier findings regarding chairpersons; (2) compared for the first time chairpersons across baccalaureate degree-granting programs on several items; and (3) indicated several areas for further investigation. Among the findings reinforced, the most obvious is that women remain the majority as chairpersons/program directors in the four allied health programs in this study. The priority, as far as work time, is administrative with Teaching/Advising second. Time spent on research is a low priority item. The comparison across programs brought into focus several noteworthy differences. Responses based on sex of chairpersons were similar. Depending on years of experience as a chairperson and on academic degree there were significant differences in the number of publications and in agreement with some of the Beliefs and Perceptions about Teaching Statements. Although Measures of Student Achievements were considered the most useful method for improving the quality of teaching by the greatest number of chairpersons, Student Opinions and Review of Course Materials and Examinations predominate as the methods used most frequently to improve the quality of teaching. In conclusion, there is evidence that the academic role of departmental chairpersons in the four Allied Health Professions needs to be strengthened especially in regard to the evaluation of teaching.

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