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MISTRY AND BIOCHEMISTRY

Changes The World

Marvin L Hackert

time in administration to reach decisions, and you have to anticipate and use what- ever information you have.”

Finally, the role of collaboration, and the placement of the discipline in re- lation to other disciplines, are seen as significant to the success of chemists and biochemists in higher education administration. Says Francisco, “Train- ing students and the collaborative na- ture of research give rise to the right kind of skills that allow chemists and biochemists to be better administra- tors—planning, execution, and people skills.” Both Laude and Hackert con- sider it significant that “chemistry is in the middle of things,” as Laude puts it. Marvin Hackert summarizes the unique expertise garnered by the chemist or biochemist that suits him or her so well

for administration:

So what do these people have in common that might help explain why so many chemists have found suc- cess in higher education ad- ministration? I believe that there are several reasons: First – chemistry is a cen- tral science. Chemists can talk equally well with physi- cists or biologists, and have natural bridges to mathemat- ics, computer science, geol- ogy, pharmacy, engineering, etc. They also write grants, manuscripts and books and have that in common with all faculty. This helps when having to deal with diverse populations on a university campus. Second – most chemists are used to running a lab, which requires orga- nizational skills such as su- pervising staff, setting goals and priorities, time tables for research plans, dealing with budgets, etc. – all good skills for administration. Third, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of being a good administrator is working with people to solve problems facing the Univer- sity. Chemists are used to gathering data, analyzing that data in a hopefully objective way, and then making a logi- cal and rational decision with a plan to move forward and

some thought given to moni- tor outcomes. Finally, just as chemical theories evolve, that is, theories are taught only as long as they are use- ful but quickly replaced when newer and better ideas come along, the ability to accept new and better ideas serves administrators well.

John H. Harrison

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