Academic Leaders Workshop

Thursday, December 3, 2020
12:00pm-4:00pm Central/New Orleans Time
Event will be held virtually

Effective leadership in college and universities is critical to meeting the needs of students and faculty (Birnbaum, 1992; Rowley & Sherman, 2003). University leaders are often chosen and promoted based on their success in research rather than their managerial experience or knowledge (Yielder & Codling, 2004). However, universities have become much more business-oriented, and while this orientation is controversial, administrative skills and leadership approaches are often learned on the job (Gayle, Tewarie, & White, 2003). There is also surprisingly little research on university leadership. Faculty whose knowledge base is steeped in higher education have the potential and specialized knowledge base to effectively lead programs, research centers, departments, colleges, and universities. However, many faculty, while possessing specialized knowledge about higher education often have little administrative experience and lack knowledge about specific administrative functions and leadership approaches. This position is particularly true for women and people of color who are severely underrepresented in academic leadership positions (Yen, Quinn, Carrigan, Litzler, & Riskin, 2007). These positions are often quite challenging, particularly those positions, such as department chair, which can serve as gateway positions to further leadership positions, while at the same time continuing some faculty expectations of research (Gmelch & Burns, 1993). 

This workshop addresses these challenges by engaging those who aspire to move, are moving into, or have moved into leadership positions, including program chairs, center directors, department chairs, dean’s office positions, or higher level positions in discussions around leadership, management, continuing a scholarly agenda, balancing work and family life, conflict resolution, and working with difficult people.

This event is sponsored by

Learning/Program Outcomes

This workshop will
  1. Provide attendees the tools and resources to decide if they wish to pursue leadership positions in higher education (i.e., chair, center director, associate dean, dean, etc.)
  2. Assist those who are already in leadership positions with how to manage those roles effectively
  3. Provide advice, discussion and time for reflection on topics including continuing a scholarly agenda, managing work and family, conflict resolution, and leadership and management for those who hold or aspire to hold leadership positions

Who should attend:

This workshop is intended for faculty who are considering moving into leadership positions at the program, department, college, or university level. The goal is to provide workshop attendees with tools and resources to successfully navigate leadership positions including program coordinators, center directors, department chairs, dean, and other administrative pursuits.
This is the second time offering dedicated workshop time, beyond conference sessions, to support faculty moving into academic leadership positions. We note that a workshop dedicated to academic leadership is significant because of the unique challenges facing these positions, as well as the scant research or programming available to faculty who aspire to these positions, are moving into them, or have moved into leadership positions.
The audience for this workshop is individuals considering academic leadership, including program coordination, department chair, center directors, dean’s office positions, or other university leadership positions. This workshop is particularly aimed at those who are considering or who are new in these positions. Many faculty are considered for leadership positions as they grow in their experience, yet many faculty have little administrative experience or managerial skills. Higher education faculty have a unique vantage point given our scholarly knowledge of the field, and although there are independent, third-party workshops, such as the ACE workshop for department chairs, these workshops, from personal experience, assume participants have little to no knowledge of higher education and how it differs from other not-for-profit organizations or from for-profit organizations. There is currently no other similar workshop offered through ASHE.


Welcome and Introductions (12:00-12:20pm Central/New Orleans Time)
Lisa Wolf-Wendel, Professor & Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, University of Kansas 
Academic Leadership Workshop Chair
Session 1: Panel Discussion- Rewards and Challenges of Leadership Roles (12:20-1:30pm Central/New Orleans Time)
In this session, participants will have a general discussion about the journey from faculty positions to leadership roles in programs, departments, centers, as well as Dean’s office roles and university administrative roles.


  • J. Luke Woods, Associate Vice President for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion and Distinguished Professor of Education at San Diego State University
  • Ana Martinez-Aleman, Professor; Associate Dean, Faculty & Academic Affairs, Boston College
  • Christopher Morphew, Dean, School of Education, Johns Hopkins University
  • Victor Saenz, Department Chair & Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy
    Fellow, Sid W. Richardson Regents Chair in Community College Leadership, University of Texas at Austin 

Session 2: Workshop Activity- Administrative Career Trajectories (1:30-2:00pm Central/New Orleans Time)
Since there are many potential administrative entry points and multiple trajectories, this session engages participants in considering their own personal trajectories. Participants will create personal goal statements and envision multiple pathways for achieving their goals.


  • Bridget Turner Kelly, Associate Professor, University of Maryland, College Park

Session 3: Roundtable Discussions (2:00-3:20pm Central/New Orleans Time)
Rotating breakout groups, each with a moderator. Possible topics include: maintaining a scholarly agenda, managing the transition to administration, work/family life balance, managing conflicts, working with difficult people.

  • Kevin Kinser, Department Head, Education Policy Studies, Professor of Education (Higher Education), Penn State
  • Bridget Turner Kelly, Associate Professor, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Mary Howard Hamilton, Department Chair, Educational Leadership, Distinguished Research Professor, Indiana State University
  • Ana Martinez-Aleman, Professor; Associate Dean, Faculty & Academic Affairs, Boston College
  • Vicki L. Baker, Professor, Albion College
  • Jennifer Ng, Interim Vice Provost, Diversity and Equity, Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Kansas

Session 4: Workshop Activity- The Inside Scoop (3:30pm-4:00pm Central/New Orleans Time(
In a roundtable-style, we plan to have each table discussion focused on a specific leadership role, including program coordination, center director, department chair, associate dean/dean, and university administration with moderators who currently hold such a role at their university. Participants can choose the roundtable most applicable to their current or aspirational role. Participants will be given three opportunities to move to other tables.


  • Department Chairs
    • Kevin Kinser, Department Head, Education Policy Studies, Professor of Education (Higher Education), Penn State
    • Bridget Turner Kelly, Associate Professor, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Dean/Associate Dean
    • Ana Martinez-Aleman, Professor; Associate Dean, Faculty & Academic Affairs, Boston College
    • Lisa Wolf-Wendel, Professor & Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, University of Kansas 
  • University-level Leadership
    • Vicki L. Baker, Professor, Albion College
    • Jennifer Ng, Interim Vice Provost, Diversity and Equity, Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Kansas

Event Chair

Lisa Wolf-Wendel
University of Kansas

Please feel free to reach out to the event chair with questions about the content of the event. Questions about registration or event logistics can be directed to the ASHE Office at (702) 895-2737 or


  • The workshop fee of $30 for ASHE members and $50 for non-members.
  • For current ASHE Member also interested in attending the Mid-Career Faculty Workshop, you may register for both events at a discounted rate of $50.
  • ​While participants can pay the fee, we suggest program directors, coordinators, and/or department chairs sponsor participants through their department. If you need additional documentation for this, please contact ASHE Executive Director Dr. Jason P. Guilbeau at
  • Registration Close and Payment Deadline: December 1, Noon Pacific
  • During registration, participants will agree to the ASHE Virtual Events Code of Conduct, provide information about accommodation requests (see for more information), and answer a few event-related questions.
  • All ASHE Professional Development events encourage participants to engage throughout the event in various ways. To provide an environment that is conducive to learning and engagement and to provide a safe space (to the extent possible), Professional Development events are not recorded.