Session Themes & Presentation Types

The following are the proposed Session Themes for the 2018 Academic Chairpersons Conference. You will submit a suggested Theme for your proposal. Compelling proposals that fall outside these designated topics are welcome, and Themes may be altered to meet the needs of the conference.

The proposal submission form also allows you to suggest a Presentation Type for your talk. Please note that exact presentation types and lengths may be altered to accommodate the conference schedule.

Session Themes


Issues and Trends in Higher Education

Exploring new and pressing developments in higher education including subjects like campus culture, diversity, new technologies, new interdisciplinary opportunities, impacts of the growth in distance education, economic stresses on the field, changing roles and demands, etc.

Working with Faculty and Administration

Managing internal relationships with those you manage and who manage you, handling difficult people, maneuvering the university bureaucracy, working with adjuncts to tenured professors, negotiating for resources, etc.

Operating the Department

Exploring the practical roles and goals of the department head, including subjects like assessment, budgeting, fundraising and grant writing, faculty searches and interviewing, faculty performance and review, strategic planning, curricular development and quality, navigating accreditation, legal issues, retention, external partnerships, etc.

Leadership and Management

Covering general leadership-focused presentations including subjects like work-life balance, career trajectory, managing stress, defining mission and values, effectively pursuing both scholarly and administrative duties, civic engagement, conflict management, building consensus, effective meeting leadership, delegating, etc.

Special Focus: Assessment

The 2018 conference will feature a special theme for assessment-related topics, such as using student learning assessment to improve programs and meet accreditation expectations, including using course-embedded assessments for programmatic outcomes, guiding faculty to take ownership of assessment processes, making accreditation expectations useful for the program, utilizing technology to collect and analyze data, addressing student learning in strategic planning, etc.

· strategic planning

· accrediting bodies

· curriculum and program quality

· assessing program processes and outcomes

· aligning with institutional mission

· strategic downsizing

· management for enrollment swings

· using assessment data to guide planning

· redefining the department

· curriculum and program quality

· faculty searches & interviewing

· faculty payment & workloads

· dealing with adjuncts

· motivating & mentoring faculty

· promoting interdisciplinary curricula

· faculty recruitment and retention

· student retention and graduation

· legal issues

· creative budgeting, fundraising

· positioning the department to maintain resources

· supporting research interests/funding efforts

· grant writing

· handling technology needs of faculty vs. students

· assessment of online courses

· management of enrollment of distance learning courses

· academic dishonesty

· balancing scholarly work with administrative duties

· stress or time management

· civic engagement

· trends in faculty appointments

· evaluating teaching performance

· facilitating program reviews

· writing performance appraisals

· post-tenure review

· promotion and tenure

· due process

· managing conflict

· building consensus

· effective meetings

· delegating

· developing partnerships

· leading change

· taking advantage of diversity

Presentation Types

Presentation Type

Session Length


Interactive Workshop

105 minutes

A single or group presentation that is interactive and provides a solution-based approach. Participants may be involved in a variety of ways such as taking part in small-group activities, role playing, case studies, simulations, problem solving or other hands-on instructional activities.

Best Practice Presentation

45 minutes

An individual presentation. The presenter gives a 30-35 minute talk on a specific best practice or approach to a leadership issue. The talk should include a description of the problem, how the presenter approached it, and the results achieved. Then the audience is provided with 10-15 minutes of Q&A.

Brown Bag Lunch Discussion

30 minutes

A presenter facilitates a discussion centered on a key topic. The roundtable discussions will take place during the Brown Bag Luncheon on Thursday or Friday during the conference. Participants will grab their lunch and take it to the room with the discussion topic of their choice. This is a great opportunity for chairs who would like to have a conversation about a specific topic, but may not have enough information to warrant a presentation.

Vendor Presentation

45 minutes

Vendors are invited to submit a proposal to present their products and services. It is highly encouraged that vendors co-present with administrators from an institution that utilizes their products or services. Vendors who are chosen to present must purchase either the workshop spot or a booth. Vendors who purchase a booth or sponsorship are not guaranteed a presentation session. For more information about vendor presentations, visit the Exhibitor webpage.