Themes and Session Types

Please see below for information on the Presentation Themes (Tracks) and Presentation Types (lengths/styles) that will be offered. If you have an outstanding idea for a presentation, please contact John Murray at For more information, review the information found on the Submit a Proposal page and the New Prairie Press information page.

Presentation Themes

Presentations will be categorized into five broad themes to provide strong direction for the conference, while maintaining the diversity of presentations which attendees have found so beneficial in the past.

Enrollment/Budget Management Exploring how the COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted enrollments and caused significant impacts on, already challenged, budgets.
Evaluation and Assessment This track includes interactive presentations and discussion focused around the following topics: developing a culture of accountability; documenting curricular and instructional effectiveness; issues of accreditation; collaboration with institutional assessment expectations; data management technology; the art of assessment practices; data analysis and presentation; assessing distance learning; and strategic planning.
Issues and Trends in Higher Education Exploring new and pressing developments in higher education including subjects like campus culture, diversity, new technologies, new interdisciplinary opportunities, impacts of the growth in distance education, economic stresses on the field, changing roles and demands, etc.
Leadership and Management Covering general leadership-focused presentations including subjects like work-life balance, career trajectory, managing stress, defining mission and values, effectively pursuing both scholarly and administrative duties, civic engagement, conflict management, building consensus, effective meeting leadership, delegating, etc.
Operating the Department Exploring the practical roles and goals of the department head, including subjects like fundraising and grant writing, faculty searches and interviewing, faculty performance and review, strategic planning, curricular development and quality, navigating accreditation, legal issues, retention, external partnerships, etc.
Working with Faculty and Administration Managing internal relationships with those you manage and who manage you, handling difficult people, maneuvering the university bureaucracy, working with adjuncts to tenured professors, negotiating for resources, etc.

Those submitting proposals will have the opportunity to choose which theme best fits their presentation. Note that your presentation may fit into multiple categories, or perhaps none, which you are welcome to note on your proposal. The review committee can help place your presentation in the best theme. Find more presentation ideas, as well as the proposal submission form, on the conference’s New Prairie Press website.

Presentation Types

The Academic Chairpersons Conference is comprised primarily of concurrent sessions, presentations given by those with experience and best practices to offer their peers fellow academic leaders. Three presentation types are given. These allow presenters to operate in the environment that best fits their style and substance, and attendees the opportunity to get the most out of the conference.

Interactive Workshops 105 minutes An individual or group presentation that is interactive and focuses on a solution-based approach. Participants may be involved in a variety of ways, such as taking part in small-group activities, role playing, case studies, simulations, problem solving or other hands-on instructional activities.
Practice Presentations
50 minutes Typically an individual presentation that includes a 30-35-minute talk on a specific best practice or approach to a leadership issue, followed by 15-20 minutes of Q&A and/or activity interspersed as appropriate to the topic. The talk should include a description of the problem, how the presenter approached it, and the results achieved.
Brown Bag Lunch Discussions 30 minutes A presenter facilitates a discussion centered on a key topic, rather than giving a formal presentation. The round table discussions will take place during the Brown Bag lunch session on Thursday or Friday during the conference. Participants will be encouraged to grab their lunch and join the virtual discussion. This is a great opportunity for chairs who would like to have a conversation about a specific topic, share ideas, and explore solutions without a more structured, full presentation.

Those submitting proposals will have the opportunity to choose which session type best fits their presentation. The review committee may suggest an alternative session type for your presentation based on your content and the number of submissions received. Find full submission instructions and the submission form on the New Prairie Press website.

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