Training Specifically Made for Department Chairs

Training & Resources Designed Specifically for Department Chairs

The chair of an academic unit is one of the most important positions on campus and yet, chairs often receive little training for the role.

Our trainings and resources are built with these challenges in mind. We recognize that chairs have tremendous responsibility for decision-making on campus and have the greatest impact on faculty engagement and retention, both of which require effective leadership. Additionally, we understand that leading a department in a dual role as faculty and leader can be challenging.

Our offerings aim to help chairs identify an approach to leadership that is effective and dynamic while also being authentic to who you are. We have resources to help you:

Understand your responsibilities and strengths as department chair.

Develop trust to deepen relationships across your department.

Support faculty and staff to build a high-performing unit.

Lead your department into the future.

Experience and Expertise Institutions Trust


Department Chairs Have Been Trained by Academic Impressions


Institutions Chose Acadeimic Impressions Exclusively for Chair Development

Choose from cohort-based learning programs or self-paced options that target specific needs.

Self-Awareness as a Superpower- a Certificate Program for Department Chairs

Included in Membership

Weekly learning delivered directly to you—in bite-sized lessons.

Great for Teams or Individuals

Time Commitment:
Average of 3 Hours a Week for 4 weeks

Earn an Academic Impressions Digital Badge

Consume our department chair self-awareness curriculum over the course of 4 weeks. Each week you’ll have an average of 3 hours of work that can be completed on-demand. The course will also feature two live sessions where we will come together to apply your learnings with your peers.

  • Get a weekly email with on-demand videos and activities that can be completed on your lunch break over the course of the week.
  • Attend two live sessions to apply your learning and engage in dialogue with peers from around the country. These sessions will be recorded and available on-demand for those who can’t attend live.
  • Earn a certificate of completion.

Register now! Our next cohort begins on July 8, 2024.

Certificate Program Curriculum

Week #1: Develop Your Leadership Superpower: A Focus on Self-Awareness – You’ll begin the course by exploring four common archetypes of self-awareness, and you’ll use this framework to reflect on how you approach your own self-awareness—as well as ways you can deepen your practice of self-awareness.

Week #2: Understand Your Leadership Style: The Five Paths to Leadership℠ Self-Assessment| LIVE SESSION – This week’s emphasis is on understanding your leadership strengths and gaps via Academic Impressions’ Five Paths to Leadership℠ Self-Assessment. Its purpose is to help you to understand how your natural leadership style shows up in both normal and stressful situations, and how you can adapt your leadership approach to different situations and people as needed, thus enhancing your leadership effectiveness.

Week #3: Embrace Your Leadership: The Balancing Acts of Academic Leadership – Leadership requires you to constantly evaluate and decide between a series of trade-offs. How you choose your position is largely dependent on your natural leadership style and how well you understand the impact of your leadership on others. This week, you’ll be introduced to the “balancing act” or “seesaw” as a framing device that will help you to navigate these inherent trade-offs.

Week #4: Define and Refine Your Leadership Style: Revisiting Self-Awareness| LIVE SESSION – In this final week, we’ll touch on a variety of tools and techniques you can use to ensure your staff feel seen and valued and keep them growing and thriving.

Short-Form Trainings

Included in Membership

Understanding Your Responsibilities and Strengths as Department Chair

Doing yoga in front a laptop


Actualize Your Purpose: A Workshop Series on Improving Your Well-Being

Part 1: September 17, 2024
Part 2: April 9, 2024 | December 3, 2024

Learn More ⟶



Your First Year as Department Chair: Building Trust, Communication, and Community

Learn More ⟶

Manager diagram with use of blocks


Your First Semester as External Chair: A Roadmap for Success

Learn More ⟶

Leadership puzzle concept


4 Essential Leadership Competencies Department Chairs Need to Lead in the New Normal

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Developing Trust to Deepen Relationships Across Your Department

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Using Mediation Skills to Resolve Conflicts Between Faculty or Staff: A Training for Department Chairs

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Communicating Boundaries with Empathy: A Training for Department Chairs

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How to Maintain Trust in Teams During Transitions

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Influencing Without Authority

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Supporting Faculty and Staff to Build a High-Performing Unit

Manager diagram with use of blocks


The Department Chair as Talent Manager: A Discussion Series

April 29, 2024 | May 9, 2024

Learn More ⟶

Zen stone garden


The Balancing Act of Succession Planning in the Academy: A Discussion for Faculty Affairs & Academic Leaders

Learn More ⟶

Notebooks with leadership ideas


Leading in Today's Academy: Growing and Supporting Academic Staff: An Imperative for Today’s Academic Leaders

Learn More ⟶

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Communicating Effectively in High-Anxiety Times: A Workshop for Department Chairs

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Leading Your Department Into the Future

Building blocks


Managing Change as a Department Chair: 5 Traps to Avoid

Learn More ⟶

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Foundations in Budgeting for Department Chairs

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Fundraising for Department Chairs

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Change and Continuity Planning Post-COVID: A Process for Leading with Greater Intention

Learn More ⟶

We can partner with you to narrow the curriculum and provide facilitation questions for each area. Reach out to your Account Manager for details.

Get These Trainings and More with Membership

Save up to $1,500 on Membership
Join before June 30, 2024

What is Membership with Academic Impressions?

Membership with Academic Impressions is the most comprehensive online professional development subscription specifically designed for staff and faculty in higher education. Our resources support leaders, staff, and faculty at all levels with trainings on leadership development, personal development, and job-specific skills.

Join hundreds of member institutions and use this year to make professional development a regular occurrence instead of a once-a-year annual meeting.

What Does Membership Include?

Access to a continuously expanding library of live online trainings, designed to be practical, discussion-based, and highly experiential

Unlimited anytime, anywhere access to on-demand trainings and resources that you can engage with on your own time from the convenience of your workspace

New trainings every week, designed to respond to the latest needs of the higher ed community

$250 discount on multi-week cohort-based bootcamps and in-person conferences

Custom Workshops: Tailored Topics for Your Division or Institution

Discounted with Membership

Academic Impressions works with dozens of institutions to customize training based on the unique needs of each campus. We have helped many institutions to create workshops aimed at offering department chairs more support. Common topics to support chairs included:

  • Delegation and time-management strategies
  • Strengths-based leadership development
  • Stress management and individual well-being
  • Influencing up, down, and sideways
  • Inclusive communication

We can supplement existing programs or provide a full end-to-end solution and create a stand-alone program. If you’re looking for a turnkey solution, all you need to do is provide the time for the workshop, and we’ll carefully plan logistics.

View a Sample Custom Workshop Agenda for Chairs

Flagship Programs

Discounted with Membership

Re-connect to learning, and re-connect to peers around the country. Cornerstones of our programs include:

  • Intimate, workshop-style events with personalized attention
  • Needs-driven and thoughtfully planned programs with practical outcomes
  • Action plans and next steps to use upon returning to campus
  • Carefully vetted instructors that are also practitioners in the field
  • A learner-centric focus designed for interaction and collaboration
  • The small-scale opportunity to truly connect with colleagues in the same position at other institutions.
People sitting


Essential Leadership Skills for Department Chairs

June 10 - 11, 2024 | Chicago, IL

Explore how you can enable the engagement, collaboration, and success of your faculty and staff.

Learn More ⟶

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Innovative Strategies for Developing New Academic Programs

June 10 - 12, 2024 | Denver, CO

Master the art and science of program development and ensure that your institution's growth is both purposeful and sustainable.

Learn More ⟶

Path concept built out of blocks


Managing Difficult Faculty & Staff: A Bootcamp for Leaders

July 9 - 30, 2024

Grow your skillset in managing the difficult people who can make leadership so hard.

Learn More ⟶

Paper airplanes

Naviagte Complexity tile


Leading Teams Through Complexity and Change

July 25 - 26, 2024 | Denver, CO

Don’t shy away from complexity—lean into it to best support your team. 

Learn More ⟶


Discounted with Membership

Department chairs and individuals in related academic leadership positions serve vital and critically important roles at universities but are often caught in the “middle management” conundrum, caught in the snare of trying to manage the often-conflicting interests of the administration, faculty, and students.

Coaching for individuals and group coaching both help leaders navigate some of their most complex challenges including:

  • Frequent leadership transitions: over a four-year span, the chance that a Department Chair will be working with a team composed of the same president, provost, and dean is only 7%.
  • Recruiting, retaining, and motivating faculty and staff while learning how to manage remote and hybrid work environments.
  • Seemingly overwhelming day-to-day responsibilities amplified by the pandemic, racial issues, financial exigencies, and extreme fatigue and burnout.

While these challenges can result in loss of enthusiasm, lack of trust, and low morale, they also create opportunities for growth. Individual leadership coaching or group coaching meets leaders where they are, matching leaders with the right coach and setting teams or departments up for success as they prepare to navigate tomorrow’s challenges.

Case Study

For one university, we crafted a plan for Department Chairs to refocus their efforts around two common goals:

  1. Leverage the leadership of each Chair to support and enable the success of their faculty during a difficult & strained time.
  2. To use their unique positions of influence to re-center the institutional mission among their units.

Based on these goals, we designed a custom coaching and training engagement. In the course of the engagement, the Department Chairs learned strategies and skills to:

  • Overcome planning fatigue
  • Determine who to trust and about what
  • Maintain enthusiasm and morale
  • Create long-term clarity for themselves and their units, even amid shifting strategic priorities and goals at the institutional level
  • Move from ‘waiting out’ the current team of leaders and instead, maintain focus on student success and the long-term health of their department
  • Convert feelings of loss and anxiety to cautious optimism and excitement

Take the next step in your role as a Chair and book a call with our Director of Coaching today!



Meghan Paladino
Director of Institutional Partnerships,
Academic Impressions