The Chair follows a new English Department chair as she navigates crises and pressure from administrators and faculty. On one hand, it is about a unique academic position where the department chair is caught between the interests of the institution and the interests of faculty. On the other hand, the six episode season considers some of the large issues facing higher education in 2021. These include:
-Hiring, retaining, promoting, and celebrating female faculty and faculty of color.
-Responding to student interests amid faculty and institutional expertise and will that might or might not line up with those interests. This can come out in discussions about attracting students and majors or whether programs and faculty are contributing to or harming the school’s brand.
-The personal lives of faculty juggling family, teaching, research, and other commitments.
-Generational change within departments and institutions.
-Addressing social change, new ideas, and controversies when expertise takes time to develop and research cycles are long.
These may not be new questions in academia but relatively few television shows, movies, or other cultural products grapple with issues in what might seem to outsiders to be a strange world.