Workshop explores changes in higher education leadership

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More than 30 RIT program chairs, department heads and center directors recently joined an assortment of peers from across the nation to explore ideas to help them keep pace with the changing times.

The group took part in “Leading Your Department Into the Future,” a workshop presented by the American Council on Education and co-sponsored by RIT, the University of Rochester and Syracuse University. Jeremy Haefner, RIT provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Ralph Kuncl, UR provost and executive vice president, co-organized the event, which took place June 9-11 on the UR campus.

The leadership program focused on practical issues and skill development. Highly respected presenters and facilitators from all over the country joined Haefner and Kuncl as instructors for the event.

The program covered a variety of valuable topics beneficial to those who are leading educational institutions. Interactive sessions were held on topics such as national trends in higher education, the department chair’s essential roles and impact on the institution, leading change and taking risks, strategic planning, negotiating conflicting interests, faculty recruitment strategies, developing excellence and diversity, dealing with challenging people and conflict management.

“This inaugural venture with ACE provided a first-of-its-kind forum for our region’s leading private institutions to collaborate in a meaningful way,” explains Haefner. “Participants found ample opportunity to engage each other through the workshop’s interactive format, and the initial feedback has provided a high level of praise for the value of this experience.”

A total of about 70 participants took part in the event including faculty and administrators from Washington state, Texas, Georgia, New Hampshire and Guadalajara, Mexico.

The American Council on Education is a significant resource for those seeking leadership opportunities in higher education. Visit for more information about the organization’s programs.