Essential Leadership Skills for Deans

This event has ended.

Essential Leadership Skills for Deans

This event has ended.

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


Leading as an academic Dean demands a specific and often diverse skillset that requires you to inspire those above, across, and below you in the organizational structure. If that’s not complex enough, you’re doing this work in the context of frequent leadership transitions, evolving student needs, increasing competitive pressures, scarce resources, and the highest levels of burnout seen in decades. It quickly becomes clear that being a leader in today’s current higher education environment can test even the most seasoned of leaders.

Join us for this highly interactive in-person conference to learn new strategies and approaches for how to address some of the most common challenges you’re currently facing as a Dean. Special focus will be given to how to create a unit culture that makes for a great place to work, and with the help of our expert speaker panel and a network of other deans, you will have the time, space, and support to discuss how to:

  • Flex and adapt your leadership approach, communication, and decision-making to meet others where they are.
  • Build relational capital with others by focusing on win-win outcomes, especially during times of conflict.
  • Design effective meetings that allow for all voices to be heard.
  • Implement proven techniques that encourage your team to work collaboratively to achieve desired outcomes.

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

Who should attend?

Since this program focuses on leadership effectiveness and not just on 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 your influence across your college or institution, this conference is for you.



Your registration fee includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, breakfast, lunch, and access to the networking reception on Monday, breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.

DAY ONE: Monday, October 2, 2023

8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. MT (local time in Denver, CO)


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



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



Understanding Your Leadership Approach: Five Paths to Leadership℠ Self-Assessment
9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Self-awareness is at the heart of effective leadership. This session guides you through a leadership assessment called “The Five Paths to Leadership℠ Self-Assessment ,” which allows you to understand your strengths and natural tendencies when it comes to your leadership. The assessment can be helpful in deepening self-awareness as well as in helping you to adapt your style to meet the needs of others, including faculty, chairs and provosts.


Morning Break
10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.



Using the “Five Paths” to Create Effective Collaboration and Meetings
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Top-down leadership doesn’t work in the academy. Leaders must have a collaborative stance to be effective, but collaboration isn’t simply bringing people together and hoping that good things happen. In this session, we’ll explore the specific principles and strategies that effective leaders follow to ensure that all voices are heard and the work moves forward.



12:00 – 1:00 p.m.



Building Your Relational Capital: A Focus on Behavioral Game Theory
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Behavioral game theory applies the psychology of how and why people make strategic decisions when interacting with others, including group settings. Knowing the mental models that people use to navigate conflict and cooperation is critical in relationships. As a Dean, behavioral game theory can help you to anticipate what others will do and reveal important insights into relationship dynamics. In turn, it can also help you to communicate and make decisions that are both strategic and focused on long-term relationship building. In this session, we’ll explore some basic principles of behavioral game theory and discuss how you can use them in your everyday leadership practice.



Afternoon Break
2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.



Navigating Conflict: Getting to Win-Win Outcomes
2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Resolving conflict within your unit can be tricky. Your unit’s leadership team, faculty, and staff often have competing interests. The issues may feel personal and high-stakes for all involved. It’s not always clear how to move forward in a way that allows all parties to feel heard and respected. Building upon the previous session, we’ll explore how behavioral game theory can help you to navigate such conflicts by focusing on win-win outcomes that help to build relationships over the long-term.



Q&A and Day One Wrap-up
4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Here, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions related to the topics covered on Day One.



Networking Reception
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
This informal reception is your chance to decompress, have some refreshments on us, and expand your network of connections. Our programs are intentionally designed for smaller groups, so this is a great time to catch-up with attendees and speakers whom you may not have connected with yet.


DAY TWO: October 3, 2023

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. MT (local time in Denver, CO)


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



Recap of Day One’s Lessons Learned
9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
We’ll begin day two with a quick reflection and recap of the key takeaways from the first day.



Building High-Performing Teams
9:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Deans often struggle to build high-performing teams—not because they don’t have the requisite talent, but because they don’t focus enough on the team’s group dynamics and process—how they’ll work together. In this session, we’ll examine seven practices used by high-performing teams to help the team work collaboratively while also achieving desired outcomes. We’ll show you how to ensure that everyone’s voice is included in the conversation without letting negative voices dominate or derail, how to make effective decisions, how to support creative and innovative thinking, and more.

Note: A 15-minute break will be built into this section.



12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.



Empowering Your Department Chairs: What They Want You to Know
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Your charge as Dean is to build a productive and happy work culture. But you can’t do that alone. Your department chairs play a vital role in realizing this goal, so it’s important that you empower them to do this work effectively. And it’s also important you create the conditions that allow them to be successful. In this session, we’ll highlight some of the common feedback and insights we’ve learned from working with thousands of department chairs. If you’re interested in learning what department chairs want, and you need to feel supported and empowered, this session is for you.



Afternoon Break
2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.



Bringing It All Together
2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
As we bring the two-day program to a close, we’ll recap key insights gained during the conference, and you’ll identify specific actions you can apply to your everyday leadership choices when you return to campus.



Evaluation & Closing Remarks
3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Can’t attend the conference? Buy the binder.



Denver, CO | October 2 – 3, 2023

The training will be conducted in person at Academic Impressions’ Denver-based office at:
5299 DTC Blvd, Suite 1400, Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Nearby hotel suggestions:

Denver Marriott Tech Center – 4-star hotel
4900 S Syracuse St, Denver, CO 80237
Distance from office: 0.9-1.2 miles, depending on route

A room rate of $179/night is available until September 8, 2023 if you use this link to book your room.



Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center – 3-star hotel
8300 E Crescent Pkwy, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Distance from office: 0.5 miles if driving, 0.3 miles if walking

Newly renovated! A room rate of $119/night is available until September 8, 2023 if you use this link to book your room. 



Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center – 4-star hotel
7800 E Tufts Ave, Denver, CO 80237
Distance from office: 1.1 miles


Save on In-Person Conference Registrations

Attend any three in-person conferences for $5,000 for Members ($5,500 for Non-Members) – or $1,667 dollars per registration for Members ($1,833 for Non-Members) – with a Conference 3-Pack. There’s no one way to use your 3-Pack!

  • Send 3 people to the same conference
  • Send 3 individuals to different conferences
  • Experience 3 different conferences yourself

Learn More


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