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.


Academic deans need to have strong administrative skills to ensure their success in the role. With the changing landscape and likely needing to manage a team online, are you prepared for the upcoming academic year of uncertainty? Join us for our virtual conference that is directly tied to helping you find success in your role. Featuring experienced speakers, case studies, and active dialogue with your peers in a virtual setting, this highly interactive online 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 our online discussions, breakout rooms, frequent breaks, and our networking reception. We will also have a LinkedIn group so you can stay in touch with attendees after the conference. We encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity to build relationships with your peers from other institutions.


A Unique and Intimate Learning Experience

Academic Impressions events are not your typical 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 practical 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 new, experienced, and aspiring deans, assistant deans, associate deans, or anyone at a similar level of leadership. You’ll receive practical information for use in fulfilling your role as an academic leader. Throughout the virtual conference, you’ll hear about techniques that have worked for other academic deans and share your own.


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 learn more, contact Elizabeth Ross Hubbell at or purchase the Premium Pass with success coaching below.

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds nationally, it is so important to keep connecting and networking with your peers - at a “social distance” - and to keep learning and developing as higher-ed leaders and professionals. Don’t let social distancing and quarantines prevent you from setting aside time for professional development. Everything is changing so fast; more than ever, we need to be pooling our resources and knowledge and finding the best ways to develop our capacity, connect and share with each other, and move forward during a challenging time.

*A limited number of FREE member spots are open for each virtual conference. Sign up today.

The Academic Impressions Virtual Conference Experience

Our virtual conferences go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these new programs are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. As higher education strives to adapt rapidly to the shifting crisis, connecting with your peers who are experiencing similar challenges can be the best use of your professional development time.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions
  • Access to an online conference hub — one-stop shop for presentation materials, attendee introductions, worksheets, supplemental reading, videos, and other resources

See What Our Attendees are Saying

"At first, I was skeptical that a virtual conference was capable of being both engaging and informational - but Academic Impressions has mastered it! The 3-day online event was structured in a creative way that all participants had multiple opportunities to interact with each other and the presenters. No one's questions went unheard or unanswered. Thank you for this great experience, it has changed my view of virtual conferences and I look forward to attending more in the future."

- Desiree Ford, Digital Communications Manager, Binghamton University

“The virtual conference has been amazing. The presenters have all been great and the information they’ve provided is going to help us better use our social media. Even though this conference had to be virtualized due to COVID-19, the online format has been set up in a way that we can all collaborate and share ideas. I’m very eager to take what I’ve learned back to campus and start implementing new ideas.”

- Chris Forde, Coordinator of Marketing & Public Information, Lincoln Trail College


Day One


Tech Check
12:45 - 1:00 p.m.



Welcome and Introductions
1:00 - 1:30 p.m.



Setting the Stage for Effective Leadership
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
How does the organizational culture of a college or university affect the challenge of deans today? We will explore elements of leadership specific to 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



2:30 – 2:50 p.m.



Vision and Goal Setting
2:50 - 3:50 p.m.
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
3:50 - 4:00 p.m.



Networking Reception (optional)
4:00 - 4:15 p.m.
Grab your favorite beverage, if desired, and use this hour to network with your peers and enjoy some one-on-one time with the speakers.


Day Two



Day Two Opening Activity
11:00 - 11:30 a.m.



The Role of Dean as a Consensus Builder
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
The most effective deans 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.



12:30 - 12:45 p.m.



The Emotionally Intelligent Dean
12:45 – 1:45 p.m.
Success as a dean requires not just knowledge and skills but the emotional intelligence to interact with others effectively. We’ll take a snapshot of your current level of emotional intelligence and explore some strategies for how you can improve in the following areas:

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



1:45 - 2:00 p.m.



Management of the Academic Unit
2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
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
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
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 the 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-year to five-year strategic enrollment and revenue goal
  • Devoting as much effort to student retention as you do to recruitment


Day Three



Engagement and Conflict Management
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Create an uplifting and engaging work environment. It starts with you. Our experts 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.


  • 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



12:00 - 12:15 p.m.



Role of the Dean in Successful Development
12:15 - 1:15 p.m.
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
1:15 - 2:15 p.m.
This session will use a panel format and breakout rooms to cover any questions that were not covered during the prior sessions, and it will also allow our attendees and speakers to reflect upon themes that appeared throughout the conference.



Conference Wrap-Up and Evaluation
2:15 - 2:30 p.m.


Portrait of John Lehman

John Lehman

Vice President for University Relations and Enrollment, Michigan Technological University

Since 1993, John has worked with a variety of institutions, leading public-facing outreach, recruitment, and access offices that work with students, parents, faculty, and corporate partners.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Portrait of Christine Quinn

Christine J. Quinn

CEO of Christine J. Quinn, Inc. and Leadership Coach & Higher Education Success Partner

Christine J. Quinn, Ph.D. is a certified executive and team coach, a motivational speaker, a facilitator and organizational development expert. She has over 26 years of higher education leadership experience, thus bringing practical fresh perspectives to your organization. She will empower you and your team to unleash your talents and achieve success.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

portrait of Sandra Richtermeyer

Sandra Richtermeyer

Dean of the Manning School of Business at the University of Massachusetts Lowell

Dr. Richtermeyer’s teaching interests are in the areas of corporate governance, accounting information systems, and managerial, governmental, and nonprofit accounting. Her research interests include corporate governance, technology enablement and enterprise systems, nonprofit accounting, and professional issues for accountants.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Portrait of Jim Weese

Jim Weese

Acting Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (International), Executive Director, Western Leader Academy, Western University

Dr. Jim Weese teaches, consults, conducts research, and delivers speeches on the topic of leadership. He is heralded as a transformational academic leader and a leading authority in the area who has engaged audiences across many sectors on the merits of a team approach to leadership. His “5C Leader” concept serves as the foundation to his approach to leadership and his recent book entitled: The 5C Leader: Exceptional Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Times.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.


Can't attend the conference? Buy the binder.

Questions About the Event?

Portrait of Whitney Egstad

Whitney Egstad
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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*There are limited spots available for All-Inclusive Members to register for Virtual Conferences for free in 2020. Each virtual conference has a registration cap in order to ensure a high-quality learning experience, personalized attention, networking and interactivity. If the cap has been met, All-Inclusive Members can register with a $250 discount if space is available.

Academic Affairs, Advancement/Alumni Relations, Enrollment Management, and Student Affairs members will continue to receive $100 off conference registrations, if applicable. Upgrade your membership to qualify for a higher discount.

Please note the member discount is not applicable on conference binders or success coaching.