Positive Academic Leadership

Positive Academic Leadership

June 14, 2018 | New Orleans, LA


Take your academic leadership to the next level by learning to focus on opportunities rather than problems.

Learn how to lead your academic department effectively in the face of every-day challenges. Facilitated by Jeffrey Buller, author of Positive Academic Leadership: How to Stop Putting Out Fires and Start Making a Difference, this training will help you:

  • Gain a fresh perspective on your leadership role
  • Update the language you use within your department
  • Adopt a systems approach to your leadership style
  • Understand when and how to use negative feedback

You will leave this one-day workshop better prepared to make a long-term difference rather than spending your time putting out one fire after another. Throughout the event we will use real-life scenarios to help you practice achieving a positive outcome from even the most negative situation.

Bring a Team and Save: Applicable to Anyone in Academic Leadership

This leadership institute is designed for academic leaders of all kinds. The depth and breadth of training in this workshop is also suitable for those who are contemplating making a move from their current position to a higher administrative position.

When you register two team members a third can attend for 50% off!


  • Facilitated by Jeffrey L. Buller, Former Dean of the Honors College at Florida Atlantic University
  • Appropriate for Academic Leaders including Deans, Chairs, and those contemplating a move to an administrative position.


  • Full-day intensive workshop with time to practice using real-life scenarios.
  • Learn how to achieve more positive outcomes even in the face of negative situations.


  • Thursday, June 14, 2018
  • 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


  • The Hyatt Regency New Orleans
  • We have a room block and will host the workshop at this hotel.


Academic administrators are constantly faced with day-to-day challenges that get in the way of accomplishing strategic work. This training will give you a method for leading your department effectively in the face of these challenges.

Attend Two Academic Leadership Events in New Orleans and Save 10%

We are hosting our Leading and Influencing as a Department Chair conference in the same location immediately before this event and would love for you to join us for both programs. Save 10% when you add both events to your cart.



Included with your registration is access to all of the sessions below. In addition, breakfast, lunch, and refreshments throughout the event are included in your registration fee.

Welcome and Introductions
We will use this opening session to get to know each other and understand what we are each hoping to improve upon during this workshop.

Changing Your Perspective
The expression positive academic leadership leaves many people with a misconception that this means thinking positively and having a good attitude. In this session, we will discuss what positive academic leadership really is and how you can learn to change your perspective in order to achieve more productive results. You will learn:

  • What positive academic leadership really means
  • How your results can be positive even when you have concerns about the outcome
  • What the Erich Brenn Syndrome is and how you can avoid it
  • How the organizational culture of higher education calls for a unique leadership style
  • How learned optimism can help you see hidden possibilities
  • What the Bridge of Spies Philosophy is and how it relates to positive academic leadership
  • Why Pink Bat Thinking can help to change your perspective

Changing Your Language
After looking at how changing your perspective can help you see more positive possibilities we will focus on how changing your language can help you communicate those possibilities to your colleagues. A surprising number of leadership problems arise because academic leaders ineffectively communicate their decisions to colleagues. During this session, you will learn:

  • What mood contagion is and how it spreads through a unit
  • Why changing your language can change your world
  • How to fill the emotional tanks of others with the right words
  • How you can tailor your language to your audience
  • Why language is more than just the words you use
  • How electronic communications can hurt the clarity of language
  • How to talk about what you want rather than what you want to avoid

Changing Your Style
Departments, colleges, and universities are all systems and adopting a systems approach can help to advance our positive academic leadership. In this session, you will explore how being aware of the nature of the system in which you work can help you change your style for improved results. You will learn:

  • What a system is and why systems theory can be useful to you
  • Strategies for implementing respect, rewards, and recognition
  • How four important concepts (Mihaly Cziksentmihaly’s Flow, Lev Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, Kevin Carroll’s Red Rubber Ball, and Jim Collins’ The Hedgehog Concept) work together to create a more positive academic system
  • Why understanding the ratios of progress to setbacks, catalysts to inhibitors, and nourishers to toxins can help you promote positive, lasting change

Negative Academic Leadership
In our final workshop session, we will review how and when negativity and pessimism are destructive and when they can be desirable. We will also draw together key points from throughout the workshop so that you can leave with an action plan for adapting positive academic leadership to your institution. You will learn:

  • The difference between negative negativity and positive negativity
  • How the concept of learned pessimism can be as useful as learned optimism
  • Why the George Costanza Style of Leadership is self-destructive
  • How positive academic leadership can transform a department in a short period of time
  • How you can serve as a coach, counselor, and conductor through positive academic leadership

Closing Remarks/Takeaways/Q/A
This final session will be used to reconnect as a group, complete evaluations, and answer any remaining questions.

Jeffrey Buller

Jeffrey L. Buller

Dean of the Honors College
Florida Atlantic University

Jeffrey L. Buller is widely recognized as one of the most effective promoters of academic leadership development in higher education today. He previously served for more than thirty years in administrative positions at Loras College, Georgia Southern University, and Mary Baldwin College.  On July 1, 2016, he transitioned, after ten successful years as a dean at Florida Atlantic University, to becoming FAU’s first executive director of a newly created Center for Leadership and Professional Development.

Dr. Buller is a prolific author, his titles include: The Essential Department Chair: A Comprehensive Desk ReferenceAcademic Leadership Day by Day: Small Steps That Lead to Great SuccessThe Essential College Professor: A Practical Guide to an Academic CareerThe Essential Academic Dean or Provost: A Comprehensive Desk ReferenceBest Practices in Faculty Evaluation: A Practical Guide for Academic LeadersPositive Academic Leadership: How to Stop Putting Out Fires and Start Making a DifferenceBuilding Academic Leadership Capacity: A Guide to Best PracticesA Toolkit for Department Chairs, and A Toolkit for College Professors. From 2003 to 2005, he served as the principal English-language lecturer at the International Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, Germany. More recently, he has been active as a consultant to the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia, where he is assisting with the creation of a kingdom-wide Academic Leadership Center. Along with Robert E. Cipriano, Dr. Buller is a senior partner in ATLAS: Academic Training, Leadership, & Assessment Services, through which he has presented numerous training workshops on change leadership in higher education all over the world.

Questions About the Event?

Tunde Brimah
Director of Program Development
Academic Impressions

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June 14, 2018
New Orleans, LA

Conference Hotel

Hyatt Regency New Orleans
601 Loyola Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70113

Room Rate: $179, plus applicable tax.

Room Block Dates: the nights of June 13, 2018

Rate Available Until: May 21, 2018.

Reserve Your Room: Click the button below or call 504.561.1234 to make your reservation. Please indicate you with the Academic Impressions group to receive the group rate.

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