Essential Leadership Skills for Deans

Essential Leadership Skills for Deans

April 3 - 4, 2023 | Washington, D.C.

Hone the leadership skills you need in order to address the complex challenges facing higher ed today.


Leading as an academic dean requires a specific and often diverse skillset. You need to keep the trains running while also growing and innovating your unit in order to stay competitive and position your college for future success. You need to answer to and communicate with your institutional leaders while also advocating for and motivating those you lead in your college. In addition, we can’t forget that you’re one college among many, so you also need to collaborate with other leaders and units across the institution. If that’s not complex enough, you’re asked to accomplish all of these tasks while managing the additional challenges of frequent leadership transitions, evolving student needs, increasing competitive pressure, scarce resources, and the highest levels of burnout we’ve seen in decades. It quickly becomes clear that being a leader in the current environment can test even the most seasoned leaders.

With this in mind, join us for this highly interactive in-person conference to learn new strategies and approaches for responding to some of the most common challenges you’re currently facing as a dean. With the help of our expert speaker panel and a network of other deans, you will have the time, space, and support to discuss the following:

  • Responding to faculty and staff burnout through intentional relationship building
  • Building a culture of collaboration and belonging across your college
  • Taking meaningful risks that position your college for future success

Through a variety of group activities and discussions, you’ll share your perspective on how to successfully navigate your role, and you’ll walk away with insights from other academic deans.


Post-Conference Virtual Training *Free With Registration

As part of your registration for this conference, you will be automatically registered for the Strategic Planning as a Dean: Enhance Your Unit’s Success from Start to Finish virtual training event taking place on April 10, 2023, at 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern. This virtual event is part of your registration and will help you avoid common pitfalls and improve unit-level engagement and accountability related to your unit’s strategic planning and implementation process.


COVID Precautions

There are currently no precautions required. As the pandemic and CDC guidelines evolve, Academic Impressions’ health and safety protocols may also change. All attendees will be notified of requirements and/or changes prior to the event.


Who Should Attend

Since this program focuses on leadership effectiveness and not just the nuts and bolts of running your college, we invite academic deans of all experience levels to attend. If you’re looking to grow both your relationships and influence across your college and institution, this conference is for you.


Follow Through With Success Coaching

Have you ever gone to a training only to find that you came back with great ideas but don’t have the time, support, or skills needed to make the changes?

Academic Impressions has produced thousands of trainings and we have learned that utilizing a coach after attending a conference helps provide accountability and bridges the training with the on-the-ground work of getting the job done.

As a result, we are now offering success coaching on select conferences.

  • Purchase this training + 3 one hour follow up success coaching calls
  • Work with an assigned coach who has extensive experience in higher ed.
  • Get individualized support to help you follow through on what you’ve learned.
  • Workshop your plans, run your ideas by someone and get additional help/practice.

To get success coaching, simply purchase the Conference and add Success Coaching during registration.

Learn More About Success Coaching


Your registration fee includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, including the networking reception. Additionally, your registration fee includes breakfast, lunch and snacks/refreshments on both days.

DAY ONE: Monday, April 3, 2023

8:30 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern


Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.



Welcome and Introductions 
9:00 – 9:15 a.m.



Responding to Burnout through Intentional Relationship Building
9:15 – 10:30 a.m.
Over the last several years, we've all had to navigate a continual influx of emotionally charged situations paired with increasing workloads. It's no wonder that a majority of faculty and staff say they are burned out. In this opening session, your instructor will begin by addressing ways to engage, re-engage, and inspire your leadership team, faculty, and staff through the art of intentional relationship-building. You will get tips and strategies for how to:

  • Engage in meaningful conversations that are both empathetic and oriented toward re-engaging your team in the mission of the organization.
  • Provide feedback that coaches your team toward achieving realistic goals.
  • Develop a "leadership bench" for succession planning.



Morning Break
10:30 – 10:45 a.m.



Group Activity: Responding to Burnout through Intentional Relationship Building
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
To build on the previous session, you will work together in small groups to discuss those past strategies you have used that have worked, as well as those that have not, to re-engage faculty, staff and leadership. As a group, you will explore which new feedback, goal-setting, and conversation strategies you want to try with your team, and you’ll also get feedback and perspective from other deans on how to do so. This session is designed to help you gain greater clarity on ways to identify and execute engagement options as well as on defining who could be part of a future leadership team.



12:00 – 1:00 p.m.



Fostering a Culture of Collaboration and Belonging
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
As a dean, you collaborate with and need to create a sense of belonging with people at all levels of the organization. However, collaboration and belonging can mean different things to different stakeholders. In this session, you’ll learn about the instructor’s approach to “deep collaboration” and, alongside your peers, you’ll discuss practical tips and examples for how you can enable collaboration and foster belonging at all levels. Specifically, you’ll participate in group activities that allow you to discuss, brainstorm, and practice effective strategies for collaboration for each of the following groups:

  1. Faculty
  2. Those you directly manage and lead (chairs, directors, associate deans)
  3. Those who manage and lead you (the provost)
  4. Your peers (other deans across the organization)

Note: A break will be built into this afternoon section.



Q&A, Day One Wrap-up & Networking Reception
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
You will have the opportunity to ask any questions related to the topics covered on day one before we transition into our informal reception, which will give you a chance to decompress, have a drink and appetizer with us, and expand your network of connections.


DAY TWO: Tuesday, April 4, 2023

8:30 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern


Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.



Group Share-Out: What is One New Insight You Gained from Yesterday’s Conversations?
9:00 – 9:15 a.m.
We encourage you to sit with different colleagues as we kick off day two of this conference. After introductions, please share one new insight that you learned yesterday and how you hope to apply or scale it to your own institution.



Taking Meaningful Risks That Position Your College for Future Success
9:15 – 10:45 a.m.
Growing your college and positioning it for future success often requires you to take risks to leverage opportunities and expand into new horizons. In the face of resource constraints, it is not uncommon to experience a hesitation to take risks or even to know how to evaluate the potential pay-off. Additionally, in a risk-averse culture, your decisions might receive lackluster enthusiasm and buy-in. In this session, we’ll discuss how to overcome such barriers by answering the following questions:

  • How do you evaluate and take risks that will lead to sustainable growth while also supporting your institutional mission?
  • How do you assess, ask for and/or allocate the resources you need to translate the risk into reward?
  • How do you communicate and partner with others who may be risk averse?



Morning Break
10:45 – 11:00 a.m.



Group Activity: Taking Meaningful Risks That Position Your College for Future Success
11:00 – 12:00 p.m.
To build upon the previous section, you’ll work together in small groups to discuss one of the most exciting and perhaps riskiest opportunities available to your college. As a group, you’ll explore what makes you poised for leveraging this opportunity—as well as what holds you back. By getting feedback and perspective from other deans, we hope you will walk away with greater focus on how to approach the opportunities available to you and your college.



12:00 – 1:00 p.m.



Solutions Clinic: Getting Advice from Your Peers to Help You Tackle Your Toughest Challenges
1:00 – 3:15 p.m.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach or magic bullet for how to manage burnout, foster a culture of belonging, and lead your college into the future. Because of this, there’s tremendous value in tapping into the collective knowledge of your dean network and learning how they approach this work. This session will give you the opportunity to do just that. As a group, you’ll identify some of the biggest challenges you’re facing as it relates to the themes of the conference, then, alongside your peers, you’ll dialogue and brainstorm possible solutions, tips and strategies for how to mitigate or resolve the specific challenges you’re facing.

Note: A 15-minute break is built into this session.



Bringing It All Together: Identifying Short-Term Goals
3:15 – 3:30 p.m.
You’ll have an opportunity to reflect on and document what you’ve learned and how you can apply those lessons learned to your everyday leadership practice.



Final Q&A, Evaluation & Closing Remarks
3:30 – 4:00 p.m.


Portrait of Monica Adya

Monica Adya

Dean of Rutgers School of Business-Camden, Rutgers University

As Dean of Rutgers School of Business-Camden, Rutgers University, Dr. Adya steers the direction of the school through strategic growth of undergraduate and graduate programs, an executive education unit, as well as Centers of Excellence. Her current priorities include developing and implementing strategies for bridging academic scholarship with industry, and developing the school as a model for access to high-quality business education.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Portrait of Marie Hansen

Marie Hansen, J.D., Ph.D., SHRM-SCP

Dean, College of Business and New England School of Communications (NESCom), Husson University

Marie is a dean, executive coach, leadership consultant, and attorney with over 22 years’ experience in higher education. Her career has included training and working with higher education faculty, staff, and leaders at all levels. She currently oversees 120 full- and part-time faculty and professional staff. She has created leadership training for external and internal constituents, worked on large grants, and led strategic planning and mentoring programs.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Portrait of Walter R. Jacobs

Walt Jacobs

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, California State University, East Bay

Prior to his current appointment, Walt was a university dean for nine years—seven as the Dean of the College of Social Sciences at San José State University (2015-2022), and two as the founding Dean of the College of Social Sciences & Professional Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (2013-2015). Prior to joining UW-Parkside, he was on the faculty of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for fourteen years, including five years as the Chair of the Department of African American & African Studies (2007-2012).

Read Speaker's Full Bio.


landscape photo of Washington, DC

Grand Hyatt Washington, D.C.

Address: 1000 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Phone #: (202) 582-1234

Booking link

Room rate: $189

Ask for the Academic Impressions Room Block

Room block dates: April 2 and 3, 2023

Room block cutoff date: March 13, 2023

Please see COVID Precautions above in event overview




$2,095 $1,745

through March 24, 2023

Members get $250 OFF.

Learn More

  • 3 one hour follow up success coaching calls
  • Work with an assigned coach who has extensive experience in higher ed
  • Get individualized support to help you follow through on what you've learned
  • Workshop your plans, run your ideas by someone and get additional help/practice


$2,095 $1,995

through March 24, 2023

Get access to THIS virtual conference.

Learn More

  • 3 one hour follow up success coaching calls
  • Work with an assigned coach who has extensive experience in higher ed
  • Get individualized support to help you follow through on what you've learned
  • Workshop your plans, run your ideas by someone and get additional help/practice

Become a Member

Save $250 on this event and get 100s of online trainings FREE with membership!

Can't attend the conference? Buy the binder.

Questions About the Event?

Portrait of Lisa Lafflam

Lisa Lafflam
Senior Learning & Development Manager,
Academic Impressions

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