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Department chairs hold workshop for innovative collaboration

WAICU’s mission is “working together for educational opportunity.” Teaching and learning is our focus. A recent example of this mission at work was the WAICU Department Chair Workshop, held May 22 at Concordia University Wisconsin.

WAICU organizes regular meetings for over 30 groups of senior college officials, one of which is the Chief Academic Officers (CAO) Group. The idea for the WAICU Department Chair Workshop stemmed from a discussion at a CAO Group meeting. The group agreed that department chairs at WAICU institutions – even from varying academic fields – could benefit from a joint professional development opportunity. The idea came to fruition, and more than 80 department chairs participated in the workshop.

One of the main objectives of the workshop was networking. Dr. Wendy Weaver, dean for academic affairs at Mount Mary University, said that networking not only provides an opportunity for inter-institutional partnerships, but also provides comraderie and multiple perspectives on common issues that department chairs encounter.

A panel of chief academic officers shared insights on leadership styles, developing a strategic focus on the duties of the department chair, and key priorities for advancing the institution’s mission through the academic department.

Department chairs also engaged in discussions about building a department that works effectively both internally and with other departments and external constituencies.

The feedback from participants in the WAICU Department Chair Workshop was overwhelmingly postitive, and WAICU plans to continue this successful initiative.