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Association Names Participants in Inaugural Department Chair Leadership Institute

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities has announced its selection of 36 higher education professionals for the inaugural cohort of its Department Chair Leadership Institute (DCLI).

Created in response to member feedback, the institute is a program designed to address the unique needs of department chairs at state colleges and universities. DCLI provides professional development to help department chairs cultivate critical skills to overcome common challenges.

The first DCLI cohort, meeting Jan. 10-11 in Washington, D.C., will participate in three 75-minute virtual sessions in February and March. The comprehensive curriculum, which was crafted to fill a vital professional development gap, covers how to lead a department based on an institution’s mission and strategic plan; navigate difficult conversations; grow and sustain a future-focused department; and maintain relevance as higher education changes.

Dr. Richard HelldoblerDr. Richard Helldobler“A study by the University Council of Educational Administration’s Center for the Study of Academic Leadership indicated that 67% of department chairs reported no training was received for their position, and yet chairs are the most critical front-line managers for academic and institutional effectiveness,” said DCLI executive sponsor and lead faculty member, Dr. Richard Helldobler, president of William Paterson University (NJ) and former AASCU board member. “AASCU is taking this issue head on with the development of this new program to help department chairs understand roles and responsibilities, finances, and navigating the complexities of university leadership. I am excited to be part of this new venture at AASCU.”

The 2024 institute will consist of two cohorts. The second cohort meets in August with subsequent virtual sessions in September and October. AASCU Consulting offers the Department Chair curriculum onsite for members who prefer to bring the program to their campus.

“We’re excited to add DCLI to our suite of leadership development programs and grateful for the support from our valued partners at Academic Search who made this possible,” said Dr. José A. Cabrales, AASCU’s Executive in Charge. “Our members asked, and we answered the call to further solidify our dedication to preparing the next generation of campus leaders for the rigors of serving institutions with an equity mindset and delivering the value students deserve.”

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