Leading and Influencing as a Department Chair

This event has ended.

Leading and Influencing as a Department Chair

This event has ended.

Assess your leadership effectiveness and gain confidence in your ability to be your best self as an academic leader.


Leading as an academic Chair is difficult under the best of circumstances. You need to balance the competing interests of faculty and administration and stretch limited resources—all while maintaining your own scholarship and teaching loads. Add to this the uncertainty and complexity of leading through an ever-changing higher ed landscape, and it becomes clear that the current environment can test even the most seasoned leaders. 

Join us online for this six-week leadership bootcamp designed specifically for department chairs to discover or reconnect with the most effective ways to lead in a variety of situations and circumstances. We’ll explore your leadership style and how it changes under stress, as well as how you can more effectively communicate and collaborate with colleagues, resolve conflict with faculty and staff, and grow your influence. You will leave this bootcamp with a set of proven strategies and tactics for leading in a changing academic context.  

Optional Executive Coaching: For those who choose to add on our Executive Coaching package, you will receive 6 sessions of executive coaching and will be paired with one of our speakers, or with another executive coach, all with extensive experience in higher education as well as coaching credentials.   

Who should attend?

Since this program focuses on leadership and not just on the nuts and bolts of running the department, we invite Chairs, Program Directors, and Center Directors of all experience levels to attend. If you have never received anonymous feedback about your leadership, this is a unique opportunity to do so via an expertly facilitated process. You’ll also be able to debrief your feedback with one of the program facilitators.

Due to its highly experiential nature, this program is limited to just 20 participants to maintain a productive online learning environment. Register early to reserve your spot!


Session 1: Identify the Key Leadership Competencies Required in Higher Ed
Thursday, January 25, 2024 | 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET
Today’s higher ed landscape is filled with uncertainty and ambiguity. As an academic leader, you are charged with helping to lead your department through this environment, and that can feel like a heavy load. You play multiple roles—administrator, advocate for the faculty, and faculty member, just to name a few. In this opening session, we’ll explore the unique context of leading as a Chair and discuss the skills and competencies you need to be an effective and influential leader in higher ed moving forward.



Session 2: Enhance Your Leadership Effectiveness
Thursday, February 1, 2024 | 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET
Self-awareness is at the heart of effective leadership. To deepen your understanding of your strengths, gaps, and natural leadership style, you’ll complete the Five Paths to Leadership℠ Self-Assessment before the program, and we’ll review your results at the event. This assessment examines five forms of intelligence, including intellectual, emotional, intuitive, action, and reflective—as well as how you can achieve greater balance among those five forms. The purpose of this assessment is to help you understand how you can adapt your leadership approach to different situations and people as needed, thus enhancing your leadership effectiveness.

It is also important to realize that you cannot develop as a leader without getting feedback. When you receive feedback, you get a clear picture of your impact as a leader, and whether your impact aligns with your intent. Through this program, you’ll have the opportunity to invite a small number of colleagues to share feedback with you regarding your strengths, as well as the areas you may wish to develop further. This feedback is submitted through Academic Impressions and is completely anonymous. Your results will be shared with you privately, and one of your instructors will provide you with a personalized one-on-one session to help you to interpret and act on the feedback.



Session 3: Engage Meaningfully with Faculty and Staff
Tuesday, February 6, 2024 | 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET
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. What’s worse is that the high levels of leadership transition happening at all levels of the organization can add fuel to the fire if faculty and staff feel overlooked or ignored through those transitions. As a department Chair, you have a high level of influence to engage and re-engage your faculty and staff in a way that helps to inspire them to do their best work and stay committed to the organization—even amid rapid change. In this session, we will explore how to be intentional in your relationship building with your faculty and staff.



Session 4: Understand Your Approach to Conflict
Thursday, February 15, 2024 | 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET
Understanding how to effectively navigate conflict is a vital skill for Chairs, but it can also be one of the most difficult and complicated ones to get right. In this session, you’ll complete the Style Matters: The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory, which identifies five distinct approaches to conflict and reveals your comfort level with each. Through discussion with your peers, we’ll also explore when and how to adapt your conflict style to optimize your response to the situation at hand.



Session 5: Address Conflict to Resolve Conflict
Thursday, February 22, 2024 | 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET
You’ve likely encountered challenging faculty and staff who exhibit unprofessional, unproductive, and even destructive behavior. When they decline in productivity, stop attending meetings, or publicly criticize their junior colleagues, you will need to step up and address the issues. Yet doing so can feel uncomfortable. The best way to gain confidence in your ability to resolve conflict is through practice. In this session, we’ll review several case studies and use them to practice communication techniques that can aid you in managing conflict across your department. If you struggle to find the balance between holding people accountable and giving them grace, this session is for you.



Session 6: Revisit Your Leadership Effectiveness
Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET
Leadership is not one-size-fits-all. It is contextual and situational, and ultimately the most successful approach is that which is authentic to the leader. Our final session highlights this and brings us back to a focus on personal effectiveness. We’ll begin by exploring your unique relationship with time management and help you to customize an approach to improve your efficiency. You’ll also reflect on what you’ve learned during the program and integrate your takeaways into a personal definition of leadership, which can guide your work moving forward. This final session is all about defining and celebrating the leader you are—and the leader you want to be.