ACAD Deans’ Institute

Wednesday, January 25, 8:45 am-4:30 pm

The registration for this event has closed. Please direct registration inquiries to ACAD at 202-884-7419 or

The Deans’ Institute, sponsored by the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD), is intended to provide an opportunity for ACAD members and other academic administrators to develop their leadership abilities in a supportive environment.

ACAD members have been vocal in their requests for professional development activities focused specifically on the work life of academic deans and also for additional opportunities to interact and learn from each other.

This institute is the result.  It is designed especially for deans, provosts, associate deans and provosts, and other academic leaders above the rank of department head.  Some of the information about the work of deans and academic administrators will be gathered from ACAD members and institute participants prior to the institute.

The goals of the day-long institute are:

  • Advancing the leadership abilities of deans and academic administrators
  • Sharing valuable information about the current state of the deanship
  • Providing updates on important developments in the world of higher education
  • Networking opportunities


Preliminary Program

8:45-9:00 am
Welcome and Introduction to the day

9:00-10:15 am
The changing roles and perennial challenges of deans—facilitated by David Burrows, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Lawrence University

This session will include information about the participants and their jobs, gathered ahead of time, as well as information on the national picture of what deans do.  This is the first of two “book-ends” grounding the program in the lives and concerns of the participants.

10:30-12:00 pm
Deans on call! From coping to leading—facilitated by Kathleen Murray, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Macalester College

This session will be based on scenarios/case studies—some on working with difficult faculty, some on mentoring and supporting the professional development of productive and effective colleagues, some on other issues identified as important by participants.  The format will be round table conversations followed by reporting out and general discussion.

12:00-1:15 pm
Networking lunch
 (included with registration)

An important aspect of lunch will be that dessert will be set out buffet style and participants will get up, select their dessert, and then move to a different table for dessert.  The point is to encourage more networking and conversation.  We will announce this as a plan early in the day, share the participant list ahead of time, and encourage participants to use lunch and dessert to network with colleagues, both old friends and new ones.

1:15-2:30 pm
Round tables—reports, recommendations, and new directions in higher education

This session will start with a brief presentation of some important reports and recommendations that may have implications on individual campuses.  Participants could then choose which to pursue in more depth in round table discussions.  Potential table topics include:

  • New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability—facilitated by David Parris, Executive Director, NLA
  • AGB statement on board responsibility for educational quality—facilitated by Susan Whealler Johnston, Executive Vice President, AGB
  • AAMC-HHMI—Scientific foundations for future physicians
  • PKAL—What works in facilitating interdisciplinary learning in science and mathematics—facilitated by Susan Elrod, Executive Director, PKAL
  • AAAS—Vision and change in undergraduate biology education
  • Two-year college discussion—facilitated by Thomas Meyer, Dean of Academic Affairs, Wolfson Campus, Miami Dade College
  • Others

2:45-4:15 pm
“Balance”—facilitated by Thomas Meyer, Dean of Academic Affairs, Wolfson Campus, Miami Dade College

Balancing personal and professional priorities, balancing work lives, maintaining stability in stressful situations.  This is the other “book-end,” tying the conversation to the individual needs and situations of participants. 

4:15-4:30 pm
Closing comments and next steps

Evaluation of the day will be part of the final group activity, in addition to asking for individual responses, we will also ask for group guidance on the usefulness of the day and the level of interest in additional professional development opportunities.