Essential Leadership Skills for Academic Deans

Essential Leadership Skills for Academic Deans

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Hone the leadership and administrative skills you need to become a successful academic dean.

Learn how you can develop and strengthen the administrative skills needed to ensure your success as an academic dean. Featuring experienced speakers, case studies, and active dialogue with your peers, this intimate conference will explore the day-to-day work of deans. Whether you are new to deanship, or are looking to improve upon your existing skills, this program will set you up for success.

You will work through aspects of being a dean that are critical to your success in the position, including:

  • Setting a vision and goals
  • Exploring paths for academic program growth
  • Building consensus among your team
  • Effectively managing and leading through change
  • Empowering and engaging faculty and staff
  • Identifying and resolving daily issues and conflicts

In addition to the conference sessions, you will have time to network with your fellow deans during conference breaks and our networking reception. We encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity to build relationships with your peers from other institutions.

A Note From Our Program Manager

Deans are stewards of academic integrity and are responsible for demonstrating effective leadership and setting an academic vision. We have refreshed this year’s program to keep it pertinent to the ever changing landscape of higher education. Some updates for this year’s agenda include: an increased focus on organizational culture and employee engagement as well as on key skills development, such as emotional intelligence and leading change. You’ll have substantial time to network and form connections with your peers from across higher ed who are engaged in the same work you are.

Ashley Brand, Program Manager, Academic Impressions

A Unique and Intimate Learning Experience

Academic Impressions events are not your typical hundred-person conferences. We work hard to find the best and the brightest experts to present the content and develop a single learning track to ensure that you don’t miss out on any sessions. This practically-focused training will prepare new and aspiring deans with the administrative and leadership skills that are essential for success in the position.


Who Should Attend

This workshop is designed for experienced, new, and aspiring deans, as well as administrators who work with academic deans. You’ll receive practical information for use in fulfilling your role as an academic leader. Throughout the conference, you’ll hear about techniques that have worked for other academic deans and share your own.

Bring Your Team and Save!

Save over 15% registration when you register three or more colleagues.

  • 1 - 2 registrations: full price
  • 3 - 4 registrations: 15% off each
  • 5 - 7 registrations: 20% off each
  • 8+ registrations: 25% off each

“Excellent! Very in-depth, very appropriate, met my learning outcomes and gave me good information for becoming a dean.”

Karen Allen
Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions
Valparaiso University

“This program provides an excellent foundation for new or existing deans and any academician involved in leadership. You will come away with learned skills that you can practice at your home institution.”

Dale Stephenson
Director of the School of Allied Health Sciences
Boise State University

“AI is not a conference of fluff, you leave with practical strategies to increase your personal and institutional effectiveness immediately.”

Gindy Neidermyer
Associate Dean
University of Wisconsin - Stout


of attendees were satisfied with this program


of attendees advanced their leadership and administrative skills as academic deans


Your registration for the event includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, the networking reception on Wednesday, breakfast and lunch on Thursday, breakfast on Friday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.

Day 1: Wednesday, March 20, 2019

12:30 to 6:00 p.m.


Welcome and Introductions



Setting the Stage for Effective Leadership

How does the organizational culture of a college or university affect the challenge of deans today? This session will explore, not leadership in general, but leadership as it exists at the dean’s level in higher education.

The first session of this workshop will focus on the internal and external challenges to the work you do. It will also provide a series of practical and accessible tools regarding:

  • Leading from the middle of an organization
  • Addressing the issues on today’s higher education landscape
  • Interacting effectively with the many different stakeholder groups
  • Delegating responsibilities to and empowering others



Vision and Goal Setting

It is essential for you to be able to articulate the strategic vision and goals of your college and to ensure they are achieved. Through this session you will:

  • Begin to clarify your vision for the college
  • Identify ways to engage others in visioning and goal setting
  • Develop ways to ensure implementation to achieve necessary outcomes
  • Learn ways to communicate vision, goals, successes, and create a case for broader University support



Wrap-Up Day One



Networking Reception



Day 2: Thursday, March 21, 2019

8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.


The Role of Dean as a Consensus Builder

The most effective deans are able to build consensus, successfully advocate for their academic unit and negotiate for resources even when they are scarce. You will learn practical skills for building a successful working relationship between your department and central university administration. Our expert instructors will focus on how you can successfully navigate your institution’s complex political environment. Examples will be included to show how you can collaborate with university leadership to facilitate the development of new opportunities for academic programs, research, and student learning.



Advancing Academic Quality

The academic experience is the driver of student success. As Dean you have the responsibility to ensure your college is offering a curriculum that is contemporary and meets the needs of students. Additionally, you are responsible for ensuring that the academic portfolio is sustainable over time. This will involve the following:

  • Periodic program and portfolio review
  • Investing in faculty
  • Utilizing emerging approaches to program design and updating

This session will give you tools to lead academic change and to address the above drivers of academic excellence.  



The Emotionally Intelligent Dean

Success as a dean requires not just knowledge and skills but the emotional intelligence to interact with others effectively. In this workshop, we’ll take a snapshot of your current level of emotional intelligence and also explore some strategies for how you can improve in the following areas:

  • Emotional Awareness
  • Emotional Management
  • Social Emotional Awareness
  • Relationship Management



Management of the Academic Unit

Day-to-day management of resources and personnel is an often overlooked and underdeveloped skill in newly appointed deans. During this session, you will learn critical management skills, including:

  • Ensuring reasonable administrative procedures are followed
  • Allocating resources and staff in a transparent and reasonable manner
  • Delegating work and responsibility appropriately
  • Accomplishing administrative tasks in a timely manner
  • Solving problems and conflict within the department
  • Demonstrating knowledge of departments and programs within your unit



Growing Enrollment in Your Academic Unit

Deans often wish to increase both enrollment and the academic quality of their students; however, managing to accomplish both is extremely challenging. We’ll discuss the following steps that you can take to grow enrollment while increasing academic profile of your academic unit, including:

  • Setting realistic enrollment targets
  • Identifying and securing sufficient resources to meet enrollment goals
  • Developing an annual marketing and recruitment plan
  • Establishing a three to five year strategic enrollment and revenue goal
  • Devoting as much effort to student retention as you do to recruitment



Day 3: Friday, March 22, 2019

8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


Engagement and Conflict Management

Create an uplifting and engaging work environment. It starts with you. This session will help you discover how to empower your faculty and staff and build a positive and productive work environment.   We will also discuss the role of conflict in the workplace.

  • Objectives:
    • Deepen your understanding of the importance of creating an engaged college
    • Learn practices to increase engagement in your workplace
    • Better understand the role of conflict on engagement and how to navigate conflict



Role of the Dean in Successful Development

The dean has a special role in gaining financial support, including designing the case for support, deepening the engagement of top potential donors, and participating in all phases of the cycle. During this interactive session, you will explore opportunities to maximize your efforts to raise funds that will benefit your school. You will learn about several strategic topics including:

  • Working effectively with the development office
  • Establishing smart fundraising goals
  • Balancing support for your school with support for the institution
  • Partnering with your development officer and president to solicit transformative gifts
  • Increasing alumni engagement and giving



Tying It all Together and Q&A

In this session, you will apply what you have learned throughout the event by creating a plan for action to address a significant challenge in your unit. You will receive feedback from your peers and from conference presenters.

Finally, you will be encouraged to consider ways in which you can develop a personal leadership plan to guide you moving forward, as well as to continue your own professional development when returning to campus.




March 20 - 22, 2019
Seattle, WA

Conference Hotel Information:

Hyatt Regency Seattle
808 Howell Street
Seattle, WA 98101

Room Rate: $189
Room Block Dates: nights of March 19, 20 and 21, 2019.
Rate Available Until: February 26, 2019.
Reserve Your Room: Call 206.973.1234 to make your reservations and indicate that you are with the Academic Impressions group to receive the group rate. Please book early - rooms are limited and subject to availability.


Jeffrey Buller

Jeffrey L. Buller

Former Dean of the Honors College, Florida Atlantic University

Jeffrey served as dean of the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, having previously worked for more than thirty years in administrative positions at Loras College, Georgia Southern University, and Mary Baldwin College. On July 2016, he transitioned, after ten successful years as a dean at Florida Atlantic University, to becoming that institution’s first executive director of a newly created Center for Leadership and Professional Development.

Read Jeffrey's full bio here.


Christine Quinn

CEO, Christine J. Quinn, Inc.

Christine J. Quinn, Ph.D. is a leadership success partner who inspires leaders to create positive change. She currently works with leaders and their teams to grow, navigate the dramatic sea of change, and create organizations that thrive. Intentional integration of change leadership with consulting, coaching and facilitation support her client success. She is an Executive Coach certified by the International Coach Federation.

Read Christine's full bio here.


Jim Weese

Professor of Sport Management and a Former Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences (2004-2015), University of Western Ontario

Jim is recognized as a transformational academic leader and a leading authority in the academic areas of leadership and sport management. Prior to assuming his current role, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences (2004-2015), after having served as the Dean of the Faculty of Human Kinetics (1999-2004) at the University of Windsor. He has assumed a variety of senior leadership positions throughout his distinguished career.

Read Jim's full bio here.

Can't Attend? Buy the
Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?


Ashley Brand
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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