Resilient Leadership

2021 Workshop for Department and Division Chairs 6/7/2021 6/7/2021 6/7/20216/8/20216/8/20216/8/2021

About the Workshops

April 9–10, 2021 Workshop
May 17–18, 2021 Workshop
June 7–8, 2021 Workshop

NOTE: All workshops have reached capacity, and registration is now closed.

Welcome to the 2021 Workshops for Department and Division Chairs! These three Workshops provide opportunities for chairs to learn how to be more effective while serving in this critical position. Department and division chairs are the bridges between the members of their department or division and senior college administrators. Faculty members who take on the chair role need to understand how to use the position to achieve both departmental and institutional goals. During these challenging times, practical approaches to common problems that chairs face are more valuable than ever. The 2021 Workshops for Department and Division Chairs will focus on effective strategies to develop leadership skills and institution-wide vision in the context of uncertainty and change.

Most chairs begin their positions with little or no training in the chair’s responsibilities and with incomplete knowledge of campus challenges and the leadership role that they have accepted. 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 academic and administrative departments, 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 scholarship. How can chairs become campus leaders while they balance the competing priorities of their roles as faculty members, departmental advocates, and institutional planners? Participants will gain skills and perspective useful to their chair work, and will meet colleagues with comparable challenges at institutions similar to their own.

Who Should Participate?

The workshops are designed for new and incoming chairs of departments or divisions at CIC member institutions. More experienced chairs also are welcome. Campuses are encouraged to send up to three department or division chairs to the workshop so that they can support one another in implementing improvements. To ensure strong engagement in the online format, each workshop is limited to 50 participants.


Technology Needs

Participants will need internet access via a computer or laptop. PowerPoint slides and handouts will be distributed electronically in PDF format. Videos for the legal sessions will require a video player on your computer. Please download or update the zoom client on your computer prior to the first meeting.




  • Jeffrey H. Barker
    Jeffrey H. Barker
    Converse College
  • Mark J. Braun
    Mark J. Braun
    Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Tresmaine Grimes
    Tresmaine Grimes
    Pace University
  • J. Andrew Prall
    J. Andrew Prall
    St. Edward’s University
  • Kathleen A. Rinehart
    Kathleen A. Rinehart
    Conflict Consultants Network
  • Tarshia L. Stanley
    Tarshia L. Stanley
    St. Catherine University


​At each workshop, presenters will include experienced department or division chairs, chief academic officers and deans who are knowledgeable about the work of chairs, an attorney who has experience with the legal issues that department and division chairs at independent colleges and universities face, a CIC staff member, and a CIC senior advisor.



Question and Answer PeriodQuestion and Answer Period23
Preventive Law II: Adhering to Institutional Procedures and Policies—Faculty Performance EvaluationPreventive Law II: Adhering to Institutional Procedures and Policies—Faculty Performance Evaluation23Kathleen A. Rinehart<p>​An attorney will explain 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.</p>
Preventive Law I: Adhering to Institutional Procedures and Policies—Hiring PracticesPreventive Law I: Adhering to Institutional Procedures and Policies—Hiring Practices22Kathleen A. Rinehart<p>An experienced higher education attorney will outline good hiring practices from the viewpoint of the department or division chair role. This session 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 by videoconference and in person.<br></p>
Dealing with Difficult Faculty ConversationsDealing with Difficult Faculty Conversations25Jeffrey H. Barker<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 will have an opportunity to practice proven techniques.</p>
The Department or Division BudgetThe Department or Division Budget30Mark J. Braun<p>The department or division operating budget is often viewed as a simple set of line-item allocations. Chairs will learn about the components of budgets, 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 the case for additional funding for the department or division.<br></p>
Building and Maintaining a Collegial DepartmentBuilding and Maintaining a Collegial Department36Tarshia L. Stanley<p>​What are the strategies that experienced chairs employ to build strong, productive relationships within a department or division? How can the chair influence faculty colleagues within and beyond the department or division? What lessons have they learned about working with their colleagues, students, and staff members toward departmental goals? How can chairs encourage diverse points of view and respect for all department or division members? Participants will explore these questions with an experienced administrator.</p>
Using Data EffectivelyUsing Data Effectively28J. Andrew Prall<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 learning-outcomes assessment, program reviews, campus satisfaction surveys, enrollment trends, and national surveys such as the National Survey of Student Engagement—be used to strengthen programs? Chairs will learn how to use data for revisions to the curriculum, to conduct program reviews, and to attract students.</p>
Dealing with Difficult Faculty Conversations Report OutDealing with Difficult Faculty Conversations Report Out27
Welcome and Workshop OverviewWelcome and Workshop Overview19
Wrap up and Share AssignmentWrap up and Share Assignment26
Serving as Department or Division Chair: Beyond the Job DescriptionServing as Department or Division Chair: Beyond the Job Description20Tresmaine R. Grimes<p>​Few chairs planned to serve as administrators or managers 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—and sometimes senior—faculty members. How do chairs manage these responsibilities along with their teaching and scholarly duties? What does the dean or chief academic officer expect from chairs? Department or division chairs also must develop a wider vision and understanding of campus-wide initiatives in which they might assume a leadership role. What campus resources can chairs tap to develop an institutional perspective? Participants will learn how to identify opportunities for leadership at the chair level.</p>



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Registration Information

NOTE: All workshops have reached capacity, and registration is now closed.

CIC’s 2021 Workshops for Department and Division Chairs will be held online in a two-day format. Each day’s sessions begin at 11:00 a.m. and conclude by 3:15 p.m. ET.

Note that only individuals from CIC member institutions may register for the Workshops, and there is a limit of three participants per institution.

Credit cards and checks made payable to “Council of Independent Colleges” are accepted payment methods. Email confirmation will be sent to you upon receipt of payment. Any questions may be emailed to If you do not receive confirmation within five days, please inquire.

Registration Fees

CIC Member Rate
Each Registrant$350

Note that the Workshops are open only to faculty and administrators at CIC member institutions.

Cancellation Policy

Refunds will be made in full (less a $50 processing fee) for cancellations received at least three business days prior to the workshop for which participants have registered.

Cancellation requests should be directed in writing to Leslie Rogers-Brown, conference manager, at

Please note: Registrations are transferable within an institution.