Walter H. Gmelch is the former dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco (2004-2013) and currently serves as professor of leadership studies. Gmelch has also served as dean of the College of Education at Iowa State University and interim dean of the College of Education, professor, and chair of the educational leadership and counseling psychology department at Washington State University. Currently, Gmelch also serves as director of the UCEA Center for the Study of Academic Leadership.
Gmelch earned a Ph.D. in the Educational Executive Program from the University of California (Santa Barbara), a master’s in business administration from the University of California (Berkeley) and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.
As educator, management consultant, university administrator and former business executive, Gmelch has conducted research and written extensively on the topics of leadership, team development, conflict and stress and time management. He has published over 200 articles, 27 books and monographs and numerous scholarly papers in national and international journals. Gmelch is author of three books on leadership with Val Miskin (Chairing an Academic Department, 2004; Leadership Skills for Department Chairs, 2011; and Productivity Teams: Beyond Quality Circles) and two on management and stress (Coping with Faculty Stress and Beyond Stress to Effective Management). With Irene W.D. Hecht and Mary Lou Higgerson, he co-authored The Department Chair as Academic Leader, 1999. Recently, he has co-authored four additional books on the deanship: College Deans: Leading From Within, 2002; The Dean’s Balancing Act, 2002; The Changing Nature of the Deanship, 2001; Seasons of a Dean’s Life, 2011; and an edited book for department chairs with John Schuh – The Life Cycle of a Department Chair, 2004. His new book with Jeff Buller, Building Academic Leadership Capacity: A Guide to Best Practices will be published in January 2015.
Today, Gmelch is one of the leading researchers in the study of academic leaders in higher education, serving on the editorial board of several journals including The Department Chair, International Journal of Leadership and Change, Academic Leadership and the Center for Academic Leadership Newsletter. He has directed two national studies of 1,600 university department chairs in the U.S., one study of 1,580 Australian department heads, another investigation of 1,000 community college chairs and an international study of 2,000 academic deans in Australia and America.
Gmelch has received numerous honors including a Kellogg National Fellowship, The University Council for Educational Administration Distinguished Professor Award, The Faculty Excellence Award for Research and the Education Press Award of America. In addition, he served in the Danforth Leadership program, has been an advisor and faculty to the Salzburg Seminar on Higher Education and has been an Australian Research Fellow.