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The Chronicle’s Strategic-Leadership Program for Department Chairs

October 2-20, 2023

October Chairs Web Header

The Chronicle’s Strategic-Leadership Program for Department Chairs

Seminar recordings from this program are now available for purchase. See individual seminar details below.

As a bridge between administration and faculty, department chairs have one of the toughest jobs on campus. We’ve partnered with experienced academic leaders at Dever Justice LLC and leading research experts at Ithaka S+R to design a program that will help guide new and experienced chairs through the challenges and transformative opportunities of their role.

This comprehensive virtual leadership series for department chairs will kick off with strategy workshops to identify shared challenges. The second week consists of six seminars focusing on topics including national trends in higher education; the higher education business model; departmental culture; enrollment and retention; and conflict mitigation. The series will round out with implementation workshops to review the concrete knowledge gained from the preceding weeks’ programming and apply it to an individual development plan to put new skills into practice.

Program Packages

All-Access Products

All-Access Package

For Current and Incoming Department Chairs

This package includes:
  • Week 1: Two-hour Strategic Assessment Workshop, facilitated by Dever Justice LLC
  • Week 2: Six virtual 75-minute live seminars
  • Week 3: Two-hour Implementation Workshop, facilitated by Dever Justice LLC
  • The Chronicle’s Guide to Departmental Leadership, a comprehensive manual of critical data, advice, and analysis
  • Building a Faculty That Flourishes, a Chronicle report
  • A Toolbox for Department Chairs, a Chronicle article collection
  • The Chronicle’s Trends Report
  • Individual Development Plan
$1,795
Seminar Bundle Products

Seminar Bundle

For Aspiring Chairs and Other Faculty

This package includes:
  • Access to six virtual 75-minute live seminars, plus post-event recordings
  • The Chronicle’s Trends Report
  • A Toolbox for Administrators, a Chronicle article collection
$395

Program Leaders

Carolyn Dever
Founder and Principal
Dever Justice LLC
George Justice
Founder and Principal
Dever Justice LLC
Martin Kurzweil
Vice President, Educational Transformation
Ithaka S+R
Liz McMillen
Executive Editor, Chronicle Intelligence
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Testimonials
Thank you for your ingenuity in creating [these] training sessions for Department Chairs. I applied for them because they appeared to offer something others did not. Your sessions were not simply how to do the 'mundane' things of being Chair, but more open and inviting on navigating the challenges of being chairs, which I feel most of us need.
Gertrude Tinker Sachs, Georgia State University
This training and the resources are critically needed for new chairs especially - to help us not make early mistakes that add difficulty to the role. Wish I knew of this training before my first year in this role. The knowledge is invaluable!
Merlyn Griffiths, University of North Carolina
Just had a meeting with my department and by the end of the meeting they initiated the very goal and action plan I wanted them to. I felt like a Department Chair Ninja!
Marianne Miserandino, Arcadia University

Agenda

Workshop
Strategy Workshop
Multiple time and date options
This two-hour session, facilitated by Dever Justice LLC, will help department chairs think strategically about how to succeed in their role, learn from and collaborate with their peers, and lay the groundwork for developing innovative solutions for the pressing challenges and competing demands of the role.

Who should attend: Department chairs

Monday, October 2 | Implementation workshop times follow suit on Monday, October 16
  • Group 1: 12 p.m. ET
  • Group 2: 3 p.m. ET

Tuesday, October 3 | Implementation workshop times follow suit on Tuesday, October 17
  • Group 3: 9 a.m. ET
  • Group 5: 3 p.m. ET

Wednesday, October 4 | Implementation workshop times follow suit on Wednesday, October 18
  • Group 6: 12 p.m. ET
  • Group 7: 3 p.m. ET

Thursday, October 5 | Implementation workshop times follow suit on Thursday, October 19
  • Group 8: 9 a.m. ET
Friday, October 6 | Implementation workshop times follow suit on Friday, October 20
  • Group 10: 12 p.m. ET
Seminar
Managing Conflict
11:00 AM, October 10, 2023
When asked about their top one or two challenges, department chairs consistently mention managing conflict. Whether it’s working with difficult colleagues or managing the incompatible worldviews of faculty and deans, chairs are often required to advance sensitive conversations with diplomacy and tact. What are the most effective strategies for handling those situations when they arise? And how can chairs reduce the stress they experience from challenging encounters?
Addrain Conyers
Addrain Conyers
Panelist
Associate Professor and Chair of Criminal Justice; Co-Director of the Social Justice Minor, Marist College
Kate Temoney
Kate Temoney
Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion, Montclair State University
Liz McMillen
Moderator
Executive Editor, Chronicle Intelligence
Seminar
Understanding the Higher Ed Business Model
02:00 PM, October 10, 2023
What is a discount rate? Where does most of a college’s revenue come from? What is its greatest expense? For many faculty members, the financial realities of their campus – and the sustainability of its operations -- are not often on their radar. Arguably, they should be. And for chairs, understanding the mounting financial pressures facing campuses, whether falling enrollment, decreased public funding, and constraints on tuition increases, is increasingly important. As colleges explore different strategies to achieve a sustainable future, it’s essential for chairs to have the essential financial knowledge of how their institutions operate.


In this session, you will learn:
  • The financial fundamentals of different kinds of institutions
  • How external pressures are reshaping colleges’ finances
  • The most common financial strategies colleges pursue and how they affect academic departments
Robert Kelchen
Robert Kelchen
Panelist
Professor and Department Head, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Liz McMillen
Moderator
Executive Editor, Chronicle Intelligence
Seminar
The Chair’s Role in Enrollment, Retention, and Student Success
11:00 AM, October 11, 2023
In the face of declining enrollment and increased expectations around completion from policymakers and the public, colleges and universities have increasingly tasked department chairs with recruiting new students and working toward the retention of students who were already at their institutions. Chairs have always scheduled classes and managed faculty: What else was there to do? A lot, it turns out. This 75-minute seminar will explore how and why department chairs should recruit students and put in place systems that support them to remain enrolled and on track, and to complete their degrees.


In this session, you will learn:
  • Strategies to lead departments to student-friendly curriculum and scheduling
  • Ways to create a departmental culture and shared practices supporting student success among faculty, staff, and the students themselves
  • Opportunities to leverage campus resources to help departments take care of their communities of students, staff, and faculty
Dawn Medley
Dawn Medley
Panelist
Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Retention, Stony Brook University
Martin Kurzweil
Moderator
Vice President, Educational Transformation
Seminar
National Trends in Higher Education
02:00 PM, October 11, 2023
Even before the pandemic hit, higher education was in the midst of significant changes to its demographics, finances, and competitive context. Covid-19 has accelerated some of those trends and altered others. Staying informed about this shifting environment is critical to understanding your institution’s strategy, and to making strategic decisions for your department.

Join us for this 75-minute session to discuss key trends in higher education and its economic and policy context, moderated by a current department chair.


In this session, you will learn:
  • How to address and adapt to a shifting enrollment and budgetary landscape.
  • Strategies for equitably serving the emerging majority of students who are older, working, have earned credits elsewhere, or are from minority or lower-income backgrounds.
  • What the boom in non-degree credentials means for department chairs.
  • How a chair can engage with new developments in curriculum design, teaching and learning, and student supports.
Martin Kurzweil
Panelist
Vice President, Educational Transformation
Manya Whitaker
Moderator
Executive Vice President, Chief of Staff, and Associate Professor of Education at Colorado College
Seminar
Creating a Culture of Belonging in your Department
11:00 AM, October 12, 2023
Department chairs play a pivotal role in the creation of diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures in their units. In this 75-minute session, explore best culture-building practices that apply to the full range of a chair’s stakeholders: faculty, students, and staff. How can a chair create meaningful change that’s also sustainable? How can a chair create positive relationships with colleagues? In what ways can a chair be an agent of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their department?
Stephanie White
Stephanie White
Panelist
Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Liz McMillen
Moderator
Executive Editor, Chronicle Intelligence
Seminar
Ask Me Anything: A Conversation with a Chair and a Dean
02:00 PM, October 12, 2023
Have you ever wondered what your department looks like from the dean’s perspective? Or why your dean does the things she does? Could you benefit from other chairs’ experiences on your most challenging issues? Please bring your questions to “Ask Me Anything,” a conversation with a chair and a dean intended to be a no-holds-barred exchange of views and perspectives on the most challenging job on campus.

This Ask Me Anything session is open to all Strategic-Leadership Program participants, and is separate from the special session for new chairs.
Julia JZ Headshot
Julia Jordan-Zachery
Panelist
Chair, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, Wake Forest University
Fauchet Headshot
Philippe Fauchet
Panelist
Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Dean of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University
Martin Kurzweil
Moderator
Vice President, Educational Transformation
Workshop
Implementation Workshop
Multiple time and date options
Department chairs will reconvene after the seminars to apply concrete knowledge and strategies from the first two weeks to a case narrative exercise that will focus on an individual challenge and examine how each attendee can work through imagined obstacles and create go-forward plans for achievable outcomes.

Who should attend: Department chairs

Monday, October 16:
  • Group 1: 12 p.m. ET
  • Group 2: 3 p.m. ET
Tuesday, October 17:
  • Group 3: 9 a.m. ET
  • Group 5: 3 p.m. ET
Wednesday, October 18:
  • Group 6: 12 p.m. ET
  • Group 7: 3 p.m. ET
Thursday, October 19:
  • Group 8: 9 a.m. ET
Friday, October 20:
  • Group 10: 12 p.m. ET