2023 Workshop for Department and Division Chairs - Des Moines, IA 3/23/2023 3/23/2023 3/23/20233/25/20233/25/20233/25/2023 Hilton Des Moines Downtown

About the Workshops

Welcome to the 2023 Workshops for Department and Division Chairs! Department and division chairs are the bridges between department or division members and senior college administrators. Faculty members who take on the chair role need support to understand how to use the position to achieve both departmental and institutional goals. These four workshops provide opportunities for chairs to learn how to be more effective while serving in this critical position. The 2023 Workshops for Department and Division Chairs will focus on effective strategies to develop leadership skills and an 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. Effective chairs learn the value of developing an institution-wide perspective, communicating clearly, and collaborating with peers to promote greater institutional effectiveness. They must develop the ability to think strategically; plan actively for the future; and cooperate with both academic and administrative departments, including admissions, advancement, finance, and student affairs. At the same time, most chairs remain 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 perspectives useful to their roles and will meet colleagues who face comparable challenges at institutions similar to theirs.

This program is made possible by the generous support of Academic Search.

Who Should Participate?

The workshops are designed for incoming, new, and experienced chairs of departments or divisions at CIC member institutions. Deans who work directly with chairs are also welcome. Campuses are encouraged to send multiple department or division chairs to a workshop so that they can support one another in implementing new strategies. To ensure strong engagement, each workshop is limited to 100 participants.




  • Chad Berry
    Chad Berry
    Berea College
  • John W. Miller, Jr.
    John W. Miller, Jr.
    St. Norbert College
  • Tracy S. Parkinson
    Tracy S. Parkinson
    Mars Hill University
  • J. Andrew Prall
    J. Andrew Prall
    Aurora University
  • Kathleen A. Rinehart
    Kathleen A. Rinehart
    Conflict Consultants Network
  • Aimee Sapp
    Aimee Sapp
    William Woods University
  • Anita Jones Thomas
    Anita Jones Thomas
    St. Catherine University

Preliminary Schedule

March 23

Noon–1:00 p.m.


(Lunch on your own)

1:00–1:30 p.m.

Welcome and Workshop Overview

1:30–2:45 p.m.

Serving as Department or Division Chair: Beyond the Job Description

(Separate sections for newer chairs and experienced chairs/deans)

3:05–4:35 p.m.

The Department or Division Budget (Newer chairs)

Using Data Effectively (Experienced chairs/deans)

5:00 p.m.


March 24

8:00–8:50 a.m.

Breakfast Roundtable Discussions

9:00–10:30 a.m.

Using Data Effectively (Newer chairs)

The Department or Division Budget (Experienced chairs/deans)

10:50 a.m.–12:05 p.m.

Preventive Law I: Adhering to Institutional Procedures and Policies—Hiring Practices

12:15–1:15 p.m.


1:30–2:45 p.m.

Preventive Law II: Adhering to Institutional Procedures and Policies—Faculty Performance Evaluation

3:05–4:50 p.m.

Dealing with Difficult Faculty Conversations

4:50–5:00 p.m.

Assessing the Day’s Work—Questions and Comments


Dinner on Your Own

March 25

8:00–8:50 a.m.

Breakfast Roundtable Discussions

9:00–10:15 a.m.

Building and Maintaining an Inclusive Department

10:35–11:45 a.m.

Becoming a Leader on Campus

(Separate sections for newer chairs and experienced chairs/deans)

11:45 a.m.–Noon



Workshop Adjourns

Workshop Topics


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 students’ 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 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 in small group discussions. Each workshop will offer separate sections for new and experienced chairs and deans.


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. Each workshop will offer separate sections for new and experienced chairs and deans.


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. Each workshop will offer separate sections for new and experienced chairs and deans.


An attorney with experience in relevant cases will discuss hiring practices from the viewpoint of the department or division chair 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.


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.


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.


What are the strategies that experienced chairs employ to build and maintain an inclusive 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 diverse points of view and respect for all department or division members?


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 can 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. Each workshop will offer separate sections for new and experienced chairs and deans.

Hotel and Travel


Hilton Des Moines Downtown

435 Park Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
(515) 241-1456

 Hotel Information

Reservation deadline: Friday, March 3, 2023
Room Rate: $159 single/double
Reservations can be made online. Reservations made after Friday, February 24, cannot be guaranteed at the group rate and will be accommodated on a space-available basis.

Welcome to Hilton Des Moines Downtown, a bright and modern hotel in step with the tech-centric area. Part of the Des Moines Skywalk system, the hotel is connected to the Iowa Events Center, and offers quick access to local dining and Des Moines attractions which include Hy-Vee Hall, the Science Center of Iowa, and Des Moines Civic Center.


Airport Transportation

The Des Moines International Airport (DSM) is approximately five miles from the Hilton Des Moines Downtown. The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport. Please call (515) 241-1456 when arriving at baggage claim to arrange for transport to the hotel.

Uber and Lyft operate throughout the Greater Des Moines region and can get you to your destination. Each rideshare service picks up passengers on the south side of the terminal outside of the baggage claim exit and drops off at the airport entrance.

Hotel Parking

Hotel self-parking is available at $25 per day with in/out privileges.

Registration Information

Online registration for the Des Moines, IA Workshop for Department and Division Chairs is now closed.

Please contact Leslie Rogers-Brown to inquire if space is still available at lrogers-brown@cic.edu.

Registration Fees

CIC Member RateNonmember Rate
First Registrant$620$800
Additional Registrants$520$715

Dress Guidelines

Business casual clothing is appropriate throughout the workshop.

Cancellation Policy

Refunds will be made in full (less a $50 processing fee) for cancellations received more than ten business days prior to the workshop for which participants have registered. Refund requests received between five and ten business days of the start of the workshop incur a charge equal to 25 percent of the total registration fee. Requests received fewer than five business days prior to the start of the workshop are ineligible for a refund. Please send cancellation requests, in writing, to the attention of Leslie Rogers-Brown, CIC conference manager, by fax to (202) 466-7238 or by email to lrogers-brown@cic.edu. Registrations are transferable within an institution.




Health and Safety

CIC is committed to the health and safety of workshop participants. Please review the current CIC Health and Safety Guidelines and Requirements before registering for a workshop.