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The Leadership Academy has traditionally been an academic year-long academy to learn about the various resources on campus. This year, we’d like to use the time to workshop items, plans, reports, assessments, and strategic plans. As such, we’ll focus on the interactive work that will occur during the Leadership Academy – even if it’s an informal exchange of how things are done in other departments. Please see extended mission and description beginning on the next page.
Time: Optional lunch from 12 to 1 pm with content/workshop time from 1 to 3 pm in Central Classroom 103.
The MSU Denver Academic Affairs Leadership Academy (LA) empowers chairs to carry out the strategic mission of MSU Denver. That mission includes pillars of student access and achievement, academic innovation, community enrichment, enhancement of inclusive departmental cultures, and organizational agility. The LA also builds rapport amongst chairs to exchange best practices. This academy is intended for associate deans, department chairs, faculty fellows, and other faculty interested in leadership roles in academic affairs.
Session 1. Welcome to the Leadership Academy (LA) – Why are we here?
In this session, we will have an introduction to the Leadership Academy and frame the importance of the department chair in carrying out the strategic plan of the university. In addition, we will do a pre-LA assessment to measure gains over the academic year after completion of the LA.
Session 2. Creating Inclusive Departments
For our second session, we will work on creating an inclusive department. The leader does this by guiding searches, serving as a mentor, or creating a mentorship program for the department, and by onboarding new staff and/or faculty, including tenure-track, non-tenure-track, and affiliates. The leader sets the tone (and agenda) for department meetings, so inclusive processes and language are important in helping everyone feel that the meeting is a safe space.
Session 3. Navigating Faculty and Staff Needs
This session includes an evaluation of departmental guidelines. While these guidelines naturally differ between departments, some have more embracive guidelines than others. Faculty benefit from very clear guidelines. In other words, the clarity of the departmental guidelines removes ambiguity from a stressful process (earning tenure). Affiliate faculty and NTT faculty also benefit from these same guidelines and inclusive departmental practices. In addition to the guidelines, this session also investigates the disciplinary procedures that a chair needs to take when faculty need assistance in meeting their professional obligations.
Session 4. Student Retention at MSU Denver
Given the changes in leadership and organization in the last year at MSU Denver, the efforts around student retention may not be clear to faculty and chairs. In this session, we’ll spend some time learning about retention efforts at MSU Denver and what departments can do, especially looking at data, about improving the retention rates.
Session 5. Leadership and Communication
Leaders guide the culture of their groups. Given the turnover in higher education and the difficulty in recruiting new employees, retaining current faculty and staff remains a key responsibility for the department chair. In this session, we’ll reflect on our own identities as leaders and our individual leadership styles. We’ll consider the power of listening and asking questions as part of having crucial/difficult conversations with faculty, staff, and students.
Session 6. All About Advising and Assessment
This session has two topics that both strongly correlate to student retention. How students are advised matters in terms of their success in being prepared for challenging coursework and for feeling a sense of belonging. In addition, assessment can show faculty where students are hitting barriers to graduation. Assessment should ideally be the driver of new curricular additions, subtractions, and innovations. In this session, we’ll learn about the advising landscape and assessment process at MSU Denver, and we’ll learn how program level assessment can be a powerful inquiry-based tool for your department.
Session 7. How do classrooms work?
While experience in the classroom is a requirement for entering the chair role, there is no way that one faculty member can know all the myriad of ways that learning occurs in the classroom. Department chairs have the opportunity to create safe spaces for faculty to experiment with innovative (or innovative for them) teaching methods. Not all methods will work for all faculty, but creating a culture that supports and encourages different pedagogies will give faculty agency in trying what works for them and for their students.
Session 8. Strategic Action Planning
Having a strategic action plan doesn’t mean more work, it means deciding, as a department, what work is prioritized and what work can be ceased. In terms of workload, setting priorities and boundaries should help with equity. In this session, we’ll cover the basics of a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). We’ll learn how to use a SWOT to create a Strategic Action Plan, and we’ll discuss how objectives and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) could be used for faculty and staff to know if the plan’s goals have been met.
Session 9. Money Matters
No department has ever said they have too much money. In this session, we’ll learn about the resources for marketing your department and then spending that money. The adaptation of Workday, and other budgeting tools, offers a chance for chairs to be strategic and transparent about their spending. This session offers an overview of marketing and Workday.