Pre-Conference Workshops

The 37th Academic Chairpersons Conference will offer optional pre-conference workshops during the day on Feb. 5th, 2020. When you register for one of the pre-conference workshops, your registration fee will guarantee that you will make the most your experience in Savannah.

If you are a presenter or organization with an idea for pre-conference workshop, please contact John Murray at


(2020 information coming soon!)



Full-Day Pre-Conference Workshops

Headshots of Dr. Frank and Dr. Wheeler

New Chair Alliance
Dr. Katherine Frank and Dr. Dan Wheeler
Feb. 6, 2019, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

The New Chair Alliance is the conference’s special programming for newly appointed chairpersons. Those who will soon transition into a chair position or who have been a chair for two years or less will find this workshop particularly valuable. Topics covered include transitioning to new roles and responsibilities, annual planning, everyday management, strategic planning for the future, personal development, and finding satisfaction in being a chair and making a difference. Participants will gain practical tips and tools to improve effectiveness, become familiar with essential resources, learn how to identify an administrative mentor, as well as connect and network with others at a similar career stage. Limit 45 Participants.

Registration includes:


Portrait of Dr. Kent Crookston

Succeeding with Problem Faculty: A 6-Step Guide
Dr. Kent Crookston
Feb. 6, 2019, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Crookston’s research in academic leadership includes a national survey in which 3,000 department chairs and deans identified “dealing with problem faculty” as the issue with which they most wanted help; it was their stand-alone top concern. Problem colleagues in any organization include bullies, jerks, passive-aggressives, poor performers and those who are psychologically distressed. Crookston draws from best-selling business and leadership literature and shares six proven steps for effectively dealing with a challenging colleague.  Participants leave this workshop with sound practical guidance on how to act when things go wrong, but more importantly how to ensure that things go right. Limit 35 Participants.

Registration includes:

AITU New Department Chair Workshop (Open to AITU Members Only)
Dr. Christophe Pierre, Dr. Maria Vaz, Dr. Bruce Bursten, Dr. Anne Houtman, and Dr. Chris Licata
Feb. 6, 2019, 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The purpose of this one-day workshop is to introduce new as well as aspiring department chairs in AITU schools to important topics in managing and leading an academic department. The first half of this workshop will be an introduction to the culture of an AITU school, how your role will change, distinguishing between management and leadership, revenue generation, and taking care of you. The afternoon portion of the workshop will be devoted to case studies, difficult conversations, and general discussion.  Limit 30 participants.

Registration includes:

Half-Day Pre-Conference Workshops

Portrait of Dr. Frederick Burrack and Mr. Chris Urban

Informed Leadership Through Assessment Workshop
Dr. Frederick Burrack and Mr. Chris Urban

Part 1: Empowering Faculty:  Developing a Culture of Assessment
Feb. 6, 2019,  9 a.m.-12 p.m.

The first half of this workshop is focused on the responsibility of academic leaders assist faculty in recognizing the importance of effective and useful student learning assessment, as well as to develop a culture in which assessment becomes a valued departmental process. Participants will leave this workshop recognizing the value of leadership for student learning assessment; how to align course-based, program-focused, and institutional assessment; and strategies to empower and engage faculty across the program to support continual improvement. Limit 45 Participants.

Part 2: Beyond the Basics: Making Assessment Useful
Feb. 6, 2019,  1-4 p.m.

In the second half of this workshop, program leaders will learn techniques to guide faculty in defining program expectations that encompass course-based outcomes; identify assessments appropriate for an assessment plan; develop advanced assessment processes that align with institutional and accreditation expectations; and reimagine strategic goals through automated data collection, interactive visualization, and enriched analysis. Participants will leave this workshop with strategies to guide faculty in defining learning outcomes, aligning course and program learning expectations, designing meaningful assessments, and using assessment data to inform program decisions. Limit 45 Participants.

Registration includes:

Portrait of Dr. Walt GmelchStrategic Leadership, Decision Making and Team Building
Dr. Walt Gmelch
Feb. 6, 2019, 1-4 p.m.

Chairs typically begin their positions without leadership training, without a clear understanding of the time demands, without knowing the conflict inherent in the position, and without an awareness of the stress and demands on their academic careers and personal lives.  This workshop will focus on strategies department chairs can use become strategic leaders, explore academic and personal trade-offs, build department teamwork, make critical decisions, and leave a legacy. Limit 35 Participants.

Registration includes:



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