2021 Annual Meeting

ACAD 77th Annual Meeting


Charting the Course in a Rapidly Changing Landscape


The current pandemic is a dramatic instance of what is already a “new normal” of rapid, significant, and sometimes unexpected change in higher education. External forces--be they demographic trends, changing expectations for higher education, a rapidly evolving student population, or COVID-19--can derail academic leaders’ plans to advance their institutions and the profession itself. The ACAD program includes presentations and other sessions that explore how academic leaders can respond to and anticipate a dynamic environment in ways that advance their institutions into the future. Our sessions are known for their emphasis on practice and the use of interactive methods of presentation. Participants will find the ACAD sessions to be useful, challenging, and enriching.

ACAD 10th Annual Deans’ Institute, Wednesday, January 20 11:00am - 3:30pm Eastern

The Deans’ Institute, sponsored by the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD), provides an opportunity for academic administrators to develop their leadership abilities in a supportive environment. It is designed especially for deans, provosts, associate deans and associate provosts, and other academic leaders above the rank of department head.

The featured opening plenary speaker for the day is Matt Reed, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Brookdale Community College,whose talk Where Do We Go From Here? Lessons from 2020 will reflect on lessons learned—positive and negative—with suggestions on how to move forward . The closing plenary will feature a panel discussion on Making a difference: How Academic Leaders Can Lead Their Institutions Toward Racial Justice. The Institute will also include a series of roundtable discussion opportunities on over 12 different topics/themes.

The goals of the 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
  • Creating networking opportunities

A full Institute program can be found by visiting the ACAD website at www.acad.org.

ACAD Keynote Event

Friday, January 22, 2:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern

Adapt or Fail: Transformational Leadership in Rapidly Evolving Environments
Dan Monroe, retired Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Executive Director and CEO, Peabody Essex Museum

Rapidly evolving operating environments present entirely new institutional and personal challenges and opportunities. Deeply embedded behaviors, especially the fear of losing something an organization or individual already possesses, create serious impediments to adapting quickly to new conditions. Institutional leadership strategies that have yielded success in ’normal’ times often become prescriptions for decline or failure in rapidly changing environments. Major disruptive environmental changes, like those generated by Covid-19, not only present immediate, profound, and new challenges to institutions and their leaders but also amplify longstanding underlying issues and problems. In such situations, transformational leadership is often required to fundamentally recalibrate institutional goals, priorities, values, and practices. Transformational leadership is, by definition, an exception to the rule.

This talk will focus on strategies and principles leaders may employ to help transform their institutions and adapt them to new operating conditions, challenges, and opportunities.

ACAD Pre-Meeting Workshop

Wednesday, January 20 1:00pm-4:00pm Eastern

  • A Parallax View of the Future of Shared Governance
  • Assistant/Associate Deans: Facilitators of Rapid Change

ACAD Sessions

Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22

ACAD sponsored sessions are open to all attendees and include the following:

  • Will you be ready to lead? The importance of professional leadership development during changing times
  • Achieving Equity Through Intentional Design of Academic Programs
  • Trauma-Informed Conflict Management in the Remote Work Environment
  • The Academic Leader's Toolkit: Linking Strategic Planning and Assessment to Successfully Navigate Change
  • Equity and Inclusion in Online Learning Spaces: Moving from "Tech-Focus" to AntiRacist Practice
  • Becoming Stronger on the Other Side of Adversity: Leading Transformational Change During Times of Crisis
  • Leadership in a Space of Discomfort: Reckoning with Race, Gender &; Sexuality in the Age of COVID
  • Crisis management for different institutional environments: Lessons for new administrators

A full program with a list of all ACAD sessions can be found on the ACAD website at: www.acad.org