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October 18 - 20, 2018 | Washington, D.C.


Join a cohort of fellow chairs to participate in this practical leadership training.

Gain the skills you need to lead the strategic vision of your academic department as well as lead and inspire your faculty colleagues. During this practically-focused training, you will learn tools and tactics to help you be successful in both duties as a department chair, including:

  • Handling the most difficult complaints that you face
  • Developing a vision and setting goals within your academic department
  • Motivating and mentoring your faculty
  • Setting performance expectations for faculty
  • Dealing with difficult faculty colleagues
  • Managing crises that occur on your watch

Learn from Experts with Over Fifty Years of Experience

This interactive conference walks through a number of scenarios drawn from actual events that our facilitators have faced. By the end of this event you will have the skills and knowledge you need to confidently navigate challenges that you are likely to encounter.

“Lots of good, solid, and accurate information presented by facilitators who are experts in their fields and seemed genuinely interested in guiding and empowering the attendees.”

- Rosita Sands, Chair, Columbia College Chicago

Pre-Conference Workshop: Understanding the Department Chair’s Many Balancing Acts

Every department chair has many roles and responsibilities. To be effective, you must tailor your approach to the many problems, tasks, and issues that you face. This workshop will help you identify your most comfortable leadership tendencies and grow to embrace multiple leadership modes and skills.

Post-Conference Workshop: Positive Academic Leadership

In this workshop facilitated by Jeffrey Buller, author of Selling Un Trois Casual Dress Deux Positive Academic Leadership: How to Stop Putting Out Fires and Start Making a Difference, you’ll learn how to lead more effectively, no matter the challenges you face. You’ll learn how to gain a fresh perspective and update the language you use. We will look at leading within the academic system and explore the role of negativity within leadership. You will leave better prepared to make a real difference in the long term, rather than spending your time putting out one fire after another.

Who Will Benefit

This leadership institute is designed with particular attention to those who are looking to develop the expertise to become an exceptional department leader. The depth and breadth of this program is also suitable for those who are contemplating making a move from department chair to a higher administrative position, including program directors, division chiefs, center directors, etc. If you have questions about this program’s fit for you, please reach out to the program manager, Ashley Brand at



Day 1: Thursday, October 18, 2018


Pre-Conference Workshop: Understanding the Department Chair's Many Balancing Acts


Registration and Continental Breakfast for Pre-Conference Workshop Attendees (included in workshop registration fee)
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.



Pre-Conference Workshop: Understanding the Department Chair’s Many Balancing Acts

9:00 - 12:00 p.m.

Embrace your role as a leader! This workshop delves into what it means to be a leader and aims to explore a series of questions that a department chair must answer for themselves, including:

  • Am I a boss or a colleague?
  • Am I faculty or administration?
  • Do I focus on the day-to-day or the long-term?
  • Which decisions are mine and which should go to a department vote?
  • Should I have an “open door” or “by appointment” policy?
  • Where does work end and my life begin?
  • How do I balance the daily tasks with strategic and visionary planning?
  • Where do I focus my attention: The “squeaky wheels” or the “silent types”?

The reality is that a successful chair must tailor his or her approach to the many problems, tasks, and issues at hand. The workshop helps you to identify your most comfortable leadership tendencies and then to grow that comfort zone to embrace multiple leadership modes and skills. You will leave with a series of action items aimed at customizing your approach to your unique set of opportunities and challenges.



Lunch for Pre-Conference Workshop Attendees (included in workshop registration fee)
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.



Main Conference Registration
12:30 - 1:00 p.m.



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



Setting the Stage for Effective Leadership
Selling Deux Dress Un Trois Casual 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

How can you as department chair begin to address disputes between departmental colleagues, student complaints, budget cuts, potential program closures, angry parents, and rank and tenure challenges? Do you have the necessary skills to lead your department, manage the issues that arise each day, and communicate your individual and departmental needs to senior leadership?

Day one 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:

  • Effectively identifying issues
  • Productive framing of communications with stakeholders
  • Managing unanticipated and longstanding conflicts
  • Leveraging your leadership qualities to manage productively



Afternoon Break
3:30 - 3:45 p.m.



Vision and Goal-Setting in the Academic Department
3:45 - 5:00 p.m.

One of the skills essential to departmental leadership is the ability to work with others—both inside and outside of the department—to create a vision for the future and to energize others to focus their efforts to make that vision a reality. The key to success will be your ability to simultaneously manage up and manage down, ensuring that the department’s vision aligns with the dean’s vision for the college and with the overall strategic direction of the university. In this session, we will discuss creating a shared vision for the future, goal-setting at the department level, and aligning the department’s vision with other institutional priorities. We will review different types of department meetings and how to ensure that you are maximizing the potential of your face-to-face interactions with your faculty.



Networking Reception (included in conference registration fee)
5:00 - 6:00 p.m.


Day 2: Friday, October 19, 2018


Leading the Academic Department


Continental Breakfast (included in conference registration fee)
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.



Vision and Goal-Setting in the Academic Department (continued)
9:00 - 10:00 a.m.



Morning Break
10:00 - 10:15 a.m.



Dealing with Difficult Colleagues
10:15 - 12:00 p.m.

Although most faculty are conscientious, supportive, and hardworking, occasionally the chair must deal with a colleague whose behavior or substandard performance, whether in the classroom, in governance or service capacities, or in scholarship, presents problems for the department. This portion of the conference will provide tools for the department chair to identify the nature of the performance problem, and to determine whether the faculty member can change the problematic behavior. We will also discuss strategies to follow if the faculty member resists attempts to improve his or her performance.



Lunch (included in conference registration fee)
12:00 - 1:15 p.m.



Setting Performance Expectations
1:15 - 3:00 p.m.

What kind of behavior do we expect from our faculty colleagues? Is there consensus in the department about how a professional conducts himself or herself? This portion of the conference will demonstrate how to shape the discussion on performance standards, how to develop expectations for appropriate faculty and staff behavior, and what the chair can do to reinforce appropriate performance and respond to inappropriate performance. We will see why performance expectations should include norms of civility as well as threshold standards for re-appointment, retention, tenure, and promotion.



Afternoon Break
3:00 - 3:15 p.m.


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Mentoring and Motivating Others
3:15 - 4:45 p.m.
“Chairing the academic department is like herding cats!” We’ve all heard remarks such as this; the challenge of getting buy-in for departmental initiatives can be daunting. Our experts will discuss how to motivate others to work towards departmental goals (even when those goals may be in tension with individual professional goals), how to ensure voluntary compliance with external mandates, and how to inspire your colleagues to reach their own potentials. We will look at what research says about motivation and about how to harness these results to motivate your own faculty and staff. Finally, we will distinguish mentoring from sponsorship and discuss best practices for supporting your colleagues as a mentor or sponsor.


Day 3: Saturday, October 20, 2018


Tying It All Together


Continental Breakfast (included in conference registration fee)
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.



Tying It All Together
9:00 - 11:30 a.m. (Includes break)

Each participant will apply the previous sessions’ takeaways by creating a plan for action to address a significant challenge in his/her department. Participants will receive feedback from their peers and from the conference presenters.

Finally, participants will be encouraged to consider ways in which they can develop a personal leadership plan to guide them moving forward, as well as to continue their own professional development on their home campus.  



Wrap-Up, Takeaways, and Q&A
11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.



Post-Conference Workshop: Positive Academic Leadership


Lunch for Post-Conference Workshop Attendees
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.



Post-Conference Workshop: Positive Academic Leadership

1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Casual Selling Deux Trois Un Dress The expressionpositive 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 don’t feel positive yourself
  • 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
  • Casual Trois Selling Un Deux Dress Howlearned 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
The conference sessions will be hosted at:
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George Washington University
Elliot School of International Affairs
1957 E. St. NW
Washington, DC 20037

A block of rooms has been reserved at a nearby hotel - details are below.

State Plaza Hotel
2117 E St. NW
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Washington, D.C. 20037

Room Rate: $239, plus applicable tax.
Room Block Dates: October 17, 18, & 19, 2018
Rate Available Until: September 17, 2018

Please book online or call 202.861.8200 to make your room reservations and indicate you are with Academic Impressions to receive the group rate.



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 Reference, Academic Leadership Day by Day: Small Steps That Lead to Great Success, The Essential College Professor: A Practical Guide to an Academic Career, The Essential Academic Dean or Provost: A Comprehensive Desk Reference, Best Practices in Faculty Evaluation: A Practical Guide for Academic Leaders, Positive Academic Leadership: How to Stop Putting Out Fires and Start Making a Difference, Building Academic Leadership Capacity: A Guide to Best Practices, A 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.

Mary Coussons-Read

Professor of Psychology and Department Chair
University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Mary holds an appointment as a Professor of Community and Behavioral Health in the Colorado School of Public Health. In addition to her academic career, she has extensive experience in higher education leadership and administration.  She has served as Department Chair, Associate Dean, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Colorado Denver. Most recently she served as the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UCCS, and is currently the Chair of the Psychology Department there. She received her PhD in Psychology and Neurobiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed postdoctoral training in Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Coussons-Read has an extensive and award-winning record in teaching, research, and service, with a special emphasis on supporting female and underrepresented faculty in academia and providing opportunities in science and research to underrepresented students. Her research program continues to be funded by the National Institutes of Health and her primary focus is understanding the neural-immune consequences of stress during pregnancy and how these affect infant development. Coussons-Read is also a professional executive coach, focusing on conflict management and organizational communication. She is active in her profession and in the community, serving in leadership roles for the American Psychosomatic Society and the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society, and on the Board of Smart-Girl, Inc.. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries of Southern Colorado and recently retired as a Trustee for the Colorado Springs School.

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Jeanne A.K. Hey, Ph.D.

University of New England

Previously, Jeanne served as the Director of International Studies and Professor of Political Science at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bucknell University, she earned a PhD in political science from The Ohio State University. Her research and teaching expertise are in the areas of comparative foreign policy, small states, Latin American politics, European foreign policy and pedagogy in international studies. She has extensive international experience, having conducted research and taught university courses in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe. She has published four books and numerous articles on foreign policy, developing regions, and international studies pedagogy.

Dr. Hey is an alumna of the HERS Leadership Institute for women in academia, held at Wellesley College. She is also a past fellow in the Pew Faculty Fellowship in International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where she was trained in applying the case method of college teaching in global affairs. She has developed and facilitated workshops and presentations on a variety of issues in management and leadership, including for the Council on Colleges of Arts and Sciences. She serves on the Board of Trustees at Thornton Academy, in Saco, ME.

Kathleen A. Rinehart

General Counsel, Secretary of the Corporation
Saint Xavier University

In addition to her work at the University, Kathleen serves as a consultant, facilitator and conflict coach for colleges and university across the country, assisting them with the implementation of supervisory best practices and communication tools to effectively manage departmental and other campus conflict. She serves as Of Counsel at Franczek Radelet, P.C. in Chicago and as a principal in Conflict Consultants Network, LLC, with a focus on the design of dispute resolution systems for use in higher education.

Kathleen is a featured speaker on higher education and dispute resolution issues at numerous local, regional and national seminars. She served on NACUA’s Board of Directors (2005-2008). Prior to her legal career, Ms. Rinehart was an educator and Master Teacher at New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL., and served as the law clerk to Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (Ret.), Janine P. Geske.

Pre-Conference Workshop

$395 through September 28$495

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

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$1,495 through Sept 28$1,595

Take the time to develop yourself as a successful department chair and leader.

Post-Conference Workshop

$395 through Sept 28$495

Learn about your unique leadership style and how to apply it to the opportunities and challenges you face.

Can't Attend? Buy the
Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Full Conference Experience + Two Books

Maximize your learning experience with a ticket to the main conference, both workshops, and two books.

Questions About the Event?

Trois Selling Dress Deux Casual Un

Ashley Brand
Program Manager

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