Preparing Academic Leaders September 25

Best Practices in Preparing Academic Leaders

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It’s increasingly common for colleges and universities to offer programs designed to help chairs, deans, and other academic leaders become more effective. Sometimes falling under a center for teaching and learning, at other times existing as an independent office for leadership and professional development, these programs reflect the recognition that college administrators often come to their jobs woefully underprepared for their responsibilities. How can institutions know whether their academic leadership initiatives are worth the resources they require? Here are five practices commonly followed by successful leadership training programs. 





Enrollment Management June 16

Five Recommendations to Advance Careers in Enrollment and Retention Management

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Whether you are an entry-level admission officer or an assistant or associate enrollment manager, you will, at some point in your career, desire to move to the next professional level, either at your current school or at another college or university. These five recommendations may help you make a successful transition.


Excellence in Online Leadership June 7

Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership

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Online learning has “gone from a wild frontier to a more established professional [undertaking],” says Jay Halfond of Boston University, Senior Fellow of the UPCEA Center for Online Leadership and Strategy and Chair of the National Task Force on the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership. As the field of online education has matured, the need has arisen for standards and benchmarks that challenge university leaders to hold themselves accountable to practices that demonstrate commitment to online education and its place in the university.


Department Chairs Managing Up May 29

Considerations for Successfully “Managing Up”

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A great deal has been written about department chairs in higher education who deal with a myriad of issues related to the faculty for whom they have leadership responsibility. Such an emphasis is appropriate when one considers that virtually everything our institutions deliver in teaching, scholarship, and service results from the expertise and effort of the faculty. Thus, the development of leadership skills of department chairs has become a major focus; however, the literature puts significantly less focus on helping chairs “manage” the next layer up—the dean.


Multicampus Institutions May 26

Academic Leadership at Multicampus Institutions

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Although all academic leaders face certain administrative challenges, those who work in a multicampus setting have unique opportunities and problems. The sometimes-difficult balancing act of preserving a single identity throughout the entire institution while also allowing each campus to develop its own distinct personality raises issues that administrators at single-campus institutions never have to address. The ability to make everyone feel included in a community that may be spread over hundreds of miles can be critical to an administrator’s success. And the need to appreciate each program and location for its unique value becomes an important responsibility of the academic leader. Having served on both a hub campus and a spoke campus at different institutions, I have learned the hard way just how destructive to morale a mistake in this area can be. The following guidelines are, therefore, lessons drawn from my own experience.


Introvert Leadership May 22

The ‘Quiet’ Dean: Rethinking the ‘Extrovert Ideal’ of Leadership

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I am sitting quietly in my dean’s office, a serene place I first occupied in 1986, reflecting on a book by Susan Cain, one that I think you all should read, titled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I would much rather communicate to you from my peaceful digs by way of a memo than set forth my ideas in a sparkling speech at a conference. Perhaps, like you—or perhaps not—I am an introvert and quick to admit it. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert (and so many academic leaders now embody the “extrovert ideal” of our contemporary culture), you will find Cain’s book informative, thoughtful, and (even) practical.


5 newbie mistakes May 15

Five Newbie Mistakes Made by Academic Leaders

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The first six months (or even year) of a position is often called an academic leader’s honeymoon period. People are more likely to overlook an administrator’s mistakes and to cut the person a little bit of slack about taking the institution or program in a new direction. That’s a good thing, because new academic leaders frequently get in their own way by committing five mistakes due to inexperience—at times bringing their honeymoon period to a sudden, inglorious close. Although these five newbie mistakes are most common among academic leaders who are brought in from the outside, a few of them are also committed by those who are new to their jobs within the same institution.