Strategies for Successfully Supporting an Interim Leader

Last updated December 2, 2020

Course Length

1h 6m

Last Updated

December 2, 2020

Strategies for Successfully Supporting an Interim Leader

Last updated December 2, 2020

Ensure your unit is organizationally prepared to mitigate turnover with interim leaders.


Change is the one constant in higher education. And now — in the face of a global pandemic, massive budget cuts, enrollment declines, and hiring freezes — change is more prevalent than ever before. As colleges and universities respond to unprecedented levels of uncertainty and top talent for leadership positions are in high demand across the country, the need to fill positions internally with interim leaders is on the rise. But conceiving of and properly supporting interim positions is not as straightforward as one might imagine. In order to truly set your incoming interim up for success, you must be intentional in how you craft the position, the staffing decisions you make around it, and the way the transition is planned.  Join us for a two-hour virtual training where we will explore how to effectively navigate interim leadership opportunities from an organizational perspective. Through a combination of lecture, discussion, and group activities, we will:  

  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using interim positions as opposed to immediately opening a search or pursuing another avenue to fill a vacancy 
  • Learn key considerations to keep in mind and challenges to expect throughout an interim appointment 
  • Demonstrate how you can better ensure successful transition at the organizational level and for interim leaders 

Who should attend?

This training is ideal for higher education leaders charged with ensuring successful staffing transitions. Whether you are in an institutional-, unit-, or department-level position, you will benefit from this training if you are:  

  • A leader responsible for decision making related to organizational staffing 
  • A leader focused on succession planning and creating a better talent management culture 
  • A hiring manager weighing the pros and cons of filling vacancies with interim appointments
  • A human resources professional tasked with hiring and onboarding interim leaders
  • A mid-level manager seeking a deeper understanding of how to position yourself for professional growth in times of organizational change 


January 20, 2021

1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern


During this two-hour virtual training, Dr. Brian Williams, Chief of Staff at Roger Williams University, will lead us as we explore: 

Decision-Making Around Staffing 

  • How does institutional context and the circumstances around the vacancy impact decision-making around interim roles? 
  • What are the pros and cons of the various options for coping with a staffing vacancy? 
  • What challenges and opportunities arise when appointing an interim leader? 



Preparing for a Successful Transition 

  • What strategies can be implemented to prepare an interim leader for success? 
  • What is the role of interim appointments within succession planning? 
  • How can relationships with key stakeholders  such as direct reports, students, or board members  be nurtured in these times of transitional leadership 



Small Group Scenario Activity 

  • Building upon the best practices and key considerations we have learned so far, you will have the opportunity to determine how to best approach a fictional interim leadership appointmentTogether with your peers, you will be tasked with curating a list of strategies to help ensure success for a new interim leader taking the helm amid a campus crisis.