Peter Mucha recently began his work as the Chairs Leadership Program (CLP) Director for the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. He succeeds department of communication professor Bill Balthrop, who was the founding chair of the program.
“The departmental chair’s position is one of the most critical academic leadership positions in the College,” says Balthrop.
“It’s a critical, and very stressful, position” agrees Mark Katz, IAH Director and former chair of the music department. “That’s why the CLP is so important—it is both a place of refuge and a great source of wisdom and best practices. Bill deserves so much credit for helping to create this lifeline for Carolina’s chairs. We owe him a great deal.”
Balthrop also served as interim Director of the Institute in 2010, and hosted the ambitious and important “A Symposium on Faculty Innovation” at Hyde Hall that year.
This summer Balthrop is in Europe conducting research into memorials.
“I am currently working broadly at the intersection of rhetorical and cultural practices. I am working on an analysis of the rhetorical functions performed by the American memorials and monuments constructed in Europe following World War I and World War II.”
Mucha said he was inspired by Bill Balthrop when he participated in the program back in 2010.
“Bill Balthrop talked about how the department chair is one of the most essential position in the College of Arts & Sciences,” said Mucha.
Mucha, the Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor in Mathematics, came to UNC in 2005.
“When [IAH Director] Mark Katz asked me if I would be willing to be CLP Director, it was immediately an exciting opportunity for me,” said Mucha.
He has varied experience in leadership roles. He served as chair of the Mathematics Department in 2010. He joined CLP as a new chair when Balthrop was the director. In 2012, he was appointed founding chair of the Applied Physical Sciences Department in 2015.
Katz says that Mucha’s experience in the role of chair at both an established department and an emerging interdisciplinary department have served him well.
“He has served as a leader and has broad experience to share,” he said.
Mucha said that since the faculty see the chair as an administrator and the administration view chairs as more aligned with the faculty. For that reason, the Institute’s CLP program is crucial to sharing experiences and creating community among the chairs. Bringing in some more senior chairs to the program is part of that effort.
“Who else on campus is dealing with that? It is potentially a very lonely position. For most it’s their first academic leadership role.”
Mucha will facilitate the program alongside Rob Kramer, who continue to serve as Senior Leadership Consultant for the Institute. Kramer also facilitates the Academic Leadership Program with ALP Director Suzanne Gulledge.
“I am so thrilled to be part of the IAH team,” said Mucha.
Listen to a podcast with Mucha as he talks about what inspired him to pursue a career in math scholarship.
— From the Institute for the Arts and Humanities