Pre-Meeting Workshops

WEDNESDAY, January 24, 2:00–5:00 PM

More Cowbell!
Melody, Harmony, or Just Plain Disruption in the Work of Mid-Level Campus Leadership

If there is one clarion call for colleges and universities, it is the need to change. The imperative to disrupt what we do, to challenge our approach, and to stretch for innovation seems to have permeated every sector of higher education. Even if the will to do so exists, the energy to sustain meaningful change can be a challenge for any campus. Leaders who guide these efforts can often find themselves in the awkward position of learning alongside colleagues while simultaneously needing to cheerlead for a direction, any direction, to sustain momentum. Whether it be curricular, pedagogical, or administrative change, the role of leadership often means clanging the cowbell. But how, as campus leaders, do we make sure the clanging (of our enthusiasm) doesn’t get a little too loud, a little too often, or a little too close? How do we find the fine line between leading, rather than annoying, the colleagues we value?

This workshop will explore three areas of campus innovation and associated case studies to examine the role of leadership in major campus change initiatives. Leadership for general education reform will be examined through the premise of developing “wicked students” to solve “wicked problems.” Leadership for institutional assessment will be explored through the lens of assessing student agency. And leadership for implementing a distinctive, common learning experience for all students will be discussed. Workshop presenters will draw upon empirical research from such diverse fields as the learning sciences, change management, and sociology/organizational theory in addition to their own personal experiences to provide robust yet pragmatic approaches to campus change. Workshop presenters will guide participants to consider how lessons learned in these areas might apply to participants’ own goals and ideas for change. Participants will collaborate to develop strategies for engaging colleagues with just enough cowbell to keep the conversation going and sustain momentum.

Workshop Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Develop strategies for involving campus constituencies in change initiatives
  • Gain tools for evaluating progress and reflecting on missteps
  • Gather resources for (re)focusing conversations and listening to the naysayers

Kate McConnell, Senior Director for Research and Assessment, Office of Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment, AAC&U; Ashley Finley, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Dominican Experience, Dominican University of California; and Paul Hanstedt, Professor of English, Roanoke College


Rapid Curricular Reform: Strategies for Inclusive Change—Without the Wait

That major curricular revisions demand years of patient work is an article of faith and source of frustration for both faculty and administrators. Five or more years is not an unusual timetable for general education reform, even if the objectives are narrow in scope. In extreme cases, by the time implementation is complete, the next round of revision is ready to begin.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The faculty of Ripon College and Drew University each completed and implemented major changes to general education in less than a year, demonstrating that significant curricular reform can occur rapidly, successfully, and inclusively.

Ripon designed and adopted a completely new core curriculum in the fall semester of 2015, and implemented for the entering class the following fall. Drew revised the entire first year program in four months of intensive work during 2015-2016, also implementing the next fall. In both cases, faculty and administrative leadership employed similar tactics to engage key constituents, inspire enthusiasm for the effort, maintain momentum, and support quick implementation.

The workshop facilitators will share effective strategies employed to improve the pace of curricular reform while honoring faculty governance and ensuring broad stakeholder involvement. Participants will be invited to apply what is being learned to their home institutions and to receive peer feedback, working with others at similar institutions to explore which of these strategies might work on their campuses, discuss how to apply these approaches to their distinct campus context, and consider impediments to rapid change. The goal is for participants to leave with a draft plan, tailored to their own institutions, that will help accelerate the pace of the important curricular reforms with which they are engaged.

Ed Wingenbach, Vice President and Dean of Faculty, and Mark Kainz, Director of the Catalyst Curriculum and Professor of Biology—both of Ripon College; and Debra Liebowitz, Provost, Drew University


Advancing Diversity Through Strategic Micro-, Meso-, and Macro-Level Leadership

Advancing diversity involves working at multiple levels, from individual faculty to departments to the entire institution, and bridging levels always raises complexities. This workshop presents strategies represented as cases from three distinct institutions to address the dynamic relationship between university-wide leadership efforts (macro), interactions and initiatives at the school/college or department level (meso), and efforts by individual instructors and activists to create change in their own classrooms or more broadly at their institutions.

Each case highlight catalysts for, considerations regarding, and approaches to advancing diversity, in relation to the mandates, challenges, and possibilities in our respective contexts. While catalysts for change can emerge from any of the levels, lasting change entails careful thought about ways to strategically expand impact by crossing into the other levels of the system.

We present a framework participants can begin to use as a starting point to review their own institutional contexts and/or identify both cross-context and institution-specific approaches to advancing diversity.

Kathy Takayama, Director, Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning through Research, Northeastern University; Matt Kaplan, Executive Director, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, University of Michigan; Alison Cook-Sather, Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education, Bryn Mawr College, and Director, Teaching and Learning Institute, Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges

Workshop PPT

Workshop Handout

This workshop is presented by the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network


ACAD Workshop
“Through the Looking Glass”:  Leadership Lessons on Negotiating Race and Identity in the 21st-Century Academy

What happens when you turn on the television news and racist groups are planning a march on your campus? As a person of color serving in academic leadership, what can you do when efforts to threaten, demean, or degrade people who look like you are an assault against your whole community and it goes unchallenged? What is your role as academic leader in the face of domestic terrorism? Borrowing the metaphorical expression “through the looking glass,” which means, “on the strange side, in the twilight zone, or in a strange parallel world,” people of color in academic leadership find themselves in an analogous position when their campus is threatened with acts of racism, bigotry and hatred. How are they “expected” to lead?

This interactive session presents case studies on negotiating race in the academy. Workshop participants will explore institutional challenges such as backlash and impact of not responding. Moreover, participants will grapple with the reality of negotiating one’s race or identity and the “expectation” having an ability to balance the “self” separately from the “leader” in these nuanced, complex situations. The workshop offers solution-focused perspectives leading authentically from a diverse panel of academic deans.

Lawrence T. Potter, Jr., Dean and Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of La Verne; Kendrick Brown, Dean and Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Redlands; and Hideko Sera, Associate Dean, School of Education, University of Redlands


ACAD/CCAS Workshop
Learning to Thrive “In-Between”:  Succeeding as an Assistant/Associate Dean

Assistant/Associate Deans are often caught “in-between”: in-between the faculty and the Dean, in-between different departments and/or faculty, in-between Academic Affairs and other offices at the institution, and even in-between career steps.  This “in-betweenness” creates challenges (mistrust, lack of power, confusion), but it also opens opportunities to build bridges that can lead to institutional transformation and professional growth.

In this interactive session, participants will consider many elements of associate deaning—such as entering administrative work, (re)building trust with faculty colleagues, launching and leading academic initiatives, working across the entire institution, supervising staff, prioritizing a seemingly-endless workload, managing “up”, communicating with grace, and preparing for one’s next professional step.  Using case studies and shared insights, the group will explore the challenges of this work and develop practical strategies that can apply to a variety of institutional settings.  This is a valuable development and networking opportunity for both new and not-as-new Assistant/Associate Deans.

James M. Sloat, Associate Provost and Associate Dean of Faculty, Colby College; Marcia France, Associate Provost, Washington and Lee University; Michael Houf, Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences, Texas A&M University, Kingsville; and Maryse Jayasuriya, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas at El Paso