2024 Academic Leaders Workshop

Thursday, January 18, 2024
12:00pm to 4:00pm Central/Minneapolis 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 faculty members 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.

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 third 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.

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


Welcome, Land Acknowledgement, & Introductions

Lisa Wolf-Wendel

Topic #1: Managing Budgets & Enrollments

Christopher Morphew
Dean of Johns Hopkins University

Kevin Kinser
Department chair ELPS, Penn State University

Topic #2: Responding to External Political Threats

Susan Gardner
Dean, Oregon State University

Jennifer Ng
Professor, University of Kansas

Managing People and Fostering Entrepreneurialism

Joy Gayles
ELPHD Department Head, North Carolina State University

Eboni Zamani-Gallaher
Renée and Richard Goldman Interim Dean, University of Pittsburgh

Conclusion: Next Steps

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 Staff at (202) 660-4106 or office@ashe.ws.


  • The workshop fee of $35 for ASHE members and $55 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 $55.
  • 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 jason@ashe.ws.
  • Registration Close and Payment Deadline: January 15, Noon Central/Minneapolis Time. Note: A late registration fee of $10 will be added beginning January 9th at noon Central.
  • Learn more about accessibility for this event at ashe.ws/accessibility2023
  • During registration, participants will agree to the ASHE Events Code of Conduct, provide information about accommodation requests, 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.