How CEO Deans in Academic Pharmacy Describe and Manage High-performing and Low-performing Faculty

  • Shane Paul Desselle Touro University California College of Pharmacy
  • David Zgarrick Northeastern University, Bouve College of Health Sciences School of Pharmacy
Keywords: faculty performance, star employees, faculty retention, faculty development, organizational citizenship


Objectives: Gather Chief Executive Officer (CEO) deans’ perspectives on: distinguishing a “star” faculty versus one that is “productive”; faculty who are “deadweight” to the organization; the role of organizational fit in defining stars and deadweight faculty; current efforts to recruit and retain star faculty; and the actions taken in regard to deadweight faculty.

Methods: A focus group panel of CEO deans was convened at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) 2019 Interim Meeting. A semi-structured interview based on an organizational behavior framework was used to guide discussion in the focus group. Content analysis with axial coding was used to uncover themes from the data.

Results:  Panelists indicated productivity to be a given, but that star faculty are the ones who exhibit extraordinary citizenship and leverage their talents and networks to make the program and their peers more effective. They identified nascent activities with the need to strengthen those in regard to recognizing star faculty. The panelists explicitly distinguished between deadweight, or unproductive faculty versus those who are more deleterious, even while the former might actually present a more challenging human resources management situation.

Conclusions: The research corroborated the growing recognition of the importance of faculty comportment with behaviors that extend beyond performance metrics, alone. The findings can serve as a platform for additional studies that guide decision making for organizational effectiveness in academic pharmacy.


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Received 2019-09-07
Accepted 2019-12-10
Published 2020-01-30