The Joys and Challenges of Leading from the Middle

2016 Workshop for Department and Division Chairs - Portland, OR 6/13/2016 6/13/2016 6/13/20166/15/20166/15/20166/15/2016 Doubletree by Hilton Portland

About the Workshops

​​​​April 7–9, 2016 · Brown Hotel · Louisville, KY
May 10–12, 2016 · Westin Portland Harborview · Portland, ME
May 24–26, 2016 · Crowne Plaza Minneapolis Downtown · Minneapolis, MN
June 13–15, 2016 · Doubletree by Hilton Portland · Portland, OR

Most chairs come into their positions with little or no training to manage the chair’s responsibilities, cultivate a wide view of campus challenges, or understand the leadership role that they have been asked to accept. The 2016 Workshops for Department and Division Chairs will focus on strategies and practical approaches to developing leadership skills and institution-wide vision—for themselves and faculty peers with whom they will work upon returning to campus.

Department and division chairs serve as the bridge between the members of their department or division and senior administrators. Effective chairs learn the value of developing an institution-wide perspective, communicating clearly, and collaborating with their peers to promote greater institutional effectiveness. They must develop the ability to think strategically, plan actively for the future, and cooperate with other academic and administrative departments on campus, including admissions, advancement, finance, and student affairs. At the same time, most chairs are heavily invested in their faculty responsibilities of teaching, advising, service, and maintaining scholarly activity. How can chairs balance the competing priorities of their roles as faculty member, department advocate, and institutional planner and also become campus leaders?

CIC acknowledges with appreciation the continuing support of Academic Search, Inc. and the American Academic Leadership Institute.

Who Should Participate?

The workshops are designed to serve both experienced and new chairs of departments or divisions at nonprofit, independent colleges and universities. Campuses are encouraged to send several department or division chairs to the workshop so that they can support one another in instituting improvements upon their return to campus. Institutions may wish to send chairs to workshops in different locations to gain the perspectives of several speakers on the same topic and learn from multiple approaches to workshop topics. A single representative from an institution also would find the workshop helpful. Deans and associate deans who work closely with chairs would find the program beneficial and are welcome to participate. Opportunities will be offered at breakfast and lunch for representatives of institutions of similar size and structure to share experiences and effective practices. Registration is limited to chairs and other academic administrators at private, nonprofit liberal arts-based colleges and universities. Each workshop can accommodate 100 participants.


Workshop Leaders



  • Natasha Baker
    Natasha Baker
    Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP
  • Mark J. Braun
    Mark J. Braun
    Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Michael B. Brown
    Michael B. Brown
    North Carolina Wesleyan College
  • Johnnella E. Butler
    Johnnella E. Butler
    Spelman College
  • Leanne M. Neilson
    Leanne M. Neilson
    California Lutheran University
  • Caroline J. Simon
    Caroline J. Simon
    Whitworth University
  • Marilyn Sutton-Haywood
    Marilyn Sutton-Haywood
    Pfeiffer University




RegistrationRegistration1<p>​Lunch on your own<br></p>
Preventive Law I: Adhering to Institutional Procedures and Policies—Hiring PracticesPreventive Law I: Adhering to Institutional Procedures and Policies—Hiring Practices11Natasha Baker<p>​An attorney with experience in relevant cases will discuss hiring practices from the viewpoint of the department or division chair’s role. Discussion will focus on the importance of following effective procedures and institutional policies in drafting the position description, appointing the search committee, managing candidate files, checking references, and interviewing candidates on the phone and in person.</p>
Preventive Law II: Adhering to Institutional Procedures and Policies—Faculty Performance EvaluationPreventive Law II: Adhering to Institutional Procedures and Policies—Faculty Performance Evaluation13Natasha Baker<p>​An attorney will lead a discussion of the chair’s role in faculty performance evaluation for reappointment, tenure, and promotion. Topics for discussion include the importance of adhering to effective procedures and institutional policies when documenting professional performance, the role of student evaluations of instruction, peer review of teaching, the evaluation of scholarly activities, and contributions to the work of the department or division.<span style="display:inline-block;"></span></p>
Dealing with Difficult Faculty ConversationsDealing with Difficult Faculty Conversations15Leanne M. Neilson<p>​Department and division chairs can prevent many issues from mushrooming into major problems through early intervention. Sometimes chairs delay difficult conversations with colleagues because they lack expertise to encourage change or to deliver bad news tactfully. How can the department or division chair understand better why a faculty member is less effective than expected? What strategies can motivate and support faculty members to become more productive? What skills and strategies might chairs develop to facilitate difficult conversations? Participants will explore how to have a frank conversation with a colleague and have an opportunity to practice proven techniques.<span style="display:inline-block;"></span></p>
Assessing the Day’s Work—Questions and CommentsAssessing the Day’s Work—Questions and Comments16
Dinner on Your OwnDinner on Your Own17
Breakfast Roundtable Discussion GroupsBreakfast Roundtable Discussion Groups18
Building and Maintaining a Collegial DepartmentBuilding and Maintaining a Collegial Department19Marilyn Sutton-Haywood<p>​What are the strategies that experienced chairs employ to build and maintain a collegial atmosphere within a department or division? What lessons have they learned about working with their colleagues, students, and staff members toward departmental goals? How can chairs encourage diversity of points of view and respect for all department or division members? Participants will explore these questions with an experienced administrator.</p>
Welcome and Workshop OverviewWelcome and Workshop Overview2
Becoming a Leader on CampusBecoming a Leader on Campus21Johnnella E. Butler<p>​Department and division chairs occupy a pivotal role in the administrative structure of a college or university. The job often has been described as “leading from the middle.” How does the chair learn to lead? What are the potential challenges in the role of leader? How can the chair influence faculty colleagues within and beyond the department or division? Department or division chairs must develop a wider vision and understanding of campus-wide initiatives in which they might assume a leadership role. What campus resources do chairs tap to develop an institutional perspective? How can campus governance be a vehicle for this development? How can a chair find a mentor? What opportunities might be available when the chair is no longer the department or division leader? Participants will learn how to identify opportunities for leadership at the chair level.</p>
Serving as Department or Division Chair: Beyond the Job DescriptionServing as Department or Division Chair: Beyond the Job Description3Caroline J. Simon<p>​Few chairs planned to serve as administrators, managers, or chairs when they were in graduate school or starting their academic careers. Most job descriptions for department chairs are simply lists of activities for which the chair is responsible, suggesting that chairs are task-oriented managers who schedule courses, handle student complaints, order equipment, prepare reports and evaluations, and take care of other departmental business. Chairs also must assume responsibility for departmental leadership, representing the department to the campus and community, serving as departmental advocate, and mentoring junior faculty members. How do chairs manage these responsibilities along with their teaching and scholarly duties? What are models for the chair role? What tasks and projects might be successfully delegated to colleagues? What does the dean or CAO expect from chairs? Participants will discuss their institutional roles using interactive exercises and small group discussions.</p>
The Department or Division BudgetThe Department or Division Budget5Mark J. Braun<p>​The department or division operating budget is often viewed as a simple set of line-item allocations. Chairs will learn what a budget is (and isn’t), the different types of budgets, how their unit budgets fit into the larger institutional picture, effective practices for budget management, how to support colleague chairs in the budget process, and how to make an effective case for additional funding for the department or division.</p>
Dine-around DinnersDine-around Dinners7<p>​To get to know colleagues from other campuses and exchange ideas over dinner in area restaurants, participants are encouraged to sign up at the CIC Registration Desk to join a “dine-around dinner” group on the evening of the first day of the Workshop. Participants are responsible for their own meal expenses. Please sign up by 3:00 p.m. so that CIC can make transportation arrangements if needed. Groups will meet in the hotel lobby at 6:00 p.m.</p>
Breakfast Roundtable Discussion GroupsBreakfast Roundtable Discussion Groups8
Using Data EffectivelyUsing Data Effectively9Michael B. Brown<p>​Good data can inform decisions about revisions to existing academic programs, help determine new curricular directions, and suggest strategies for attracting students to the major. How can departmental or divisional-level data—including data from assessment of learning outcomes, program reviews, campus satisfaction surveys, enrollment trends, and national surveys such as the National Survey of Student Engagement—be used to strengthen departments and divisions? Chairs will learn how to use data for revisions to the curriculum, to conduct program reviews, and to attract students to their programs.<span style="display:inline-block;"></span></p>




Hotel and Travel


Doubletree by Hilton Portland

1000 NE Multnomah Street
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 281-6111

 Hotel Information

Reservation deadline: Friday, May 13, 2016
Room Rate: $139 Single; $149 Double or Premium King

Conveniently located in the heart of Portland’s metro area, the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland is close to public transportation and within walking distance of top Portland attractions such as the Oregon Convention Center, Moda Center (formerly known as the Rose Garden Arena), and the Portland Memorial Coliseum. Recognizing the importance of preservation and conservation, DoubleTree by Hilton Portland is one of Portland’s first sustainable hotels and is located near the Lloyd District, one of the nation’s most thriving collaborations of businesses, residents, and organizations committed to sustainability.
For reservations, please call the hotel at (503) 281-6111 or (800) 996-0510 and state that you are with the Council of Independent Colleges Workshop for Department and Division Chairs. Reservations made after May 13th cannot be guaranteed at the group rate and will be accommodated on a space-available basis.


Driving Directions

From Portland International Airport (PDX):
Take I-205 South and follow to exit 21B for I-84/US-30 West toward Portland. Merge onto I-84/US-30 West. Take exit 1 toward Lloyd Center. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Lloyd Center and merge onto NE 13th Avenue. Turn left onto NE Multnomah Street. DoubleTree by Hilton Portland will be on the left.
From I-5 South – Washington:
Take exit 302A toward Moda Center/City Center. Keep left at the fork and follow signs for Rose Quarter. Continue straight onto North Vancouver Avenue. Continue onto NE Wheeler Avenue. Turn left onto NE Multnomah Street. DoubleTree by Hilton Portland will be on the right.
From I-5 North - Salem Area:
Take exit 302A for Weidler Street. Merge right onto NE Weidler Street. Turn right onto NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Turn left onto NE Multnomah Street. DoubleTree by Hilton Portland will be on the right.

Airport Transportation

Portland International Airport (PDX) is approximately 11 miles from the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland. Taxi service from the airport is approximately $35. Additional transportation options from PDX can be found online.

Hotel Parking

Hotel self-parking is $20 per night Sunday through Thursday and $10 per night Friday and Saturday. Valet Parking is $25 per night Sunday through Thursday and $15 per night Friday and Saturday.