Department Chair Workshops


The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs continues its workshop series to help department chairs more effectively lead and respond to challenges they confront in their departments and/or units.   We look forward to another year of robust and engaging conversations about departmental life at UB.

Over this academic year, our office will be sponsoring a series of monthly lunch meetings to discuss various issues related to academic leadership.  We will address issues related to effective communication, budgets and resources, mentoring and work/life balance, faculty and student diversity, recruitment and hiring, tenure and promotion to name a few.

Chairs' Workshops are:

  • held monthly as 2 hour lunch-time seminars, food and refreshments provided
  • targeted for the second half of each month during the fall and spring semester
  • intended to be interactive and responsive; your feedback and requests drive the conversation and future planning


Please note that seating is limited and you are encouraged to register early to ensure your participation.  Please contact our office at 645-3594 or email Patti Napoli ( for your reservation.

September 18, 2018: The Chair’s Role in Tenure and Promotion

We will review this data as well as the processes involved in preparing dossiers for tenure and promotion.  Case studies will be used to explore how chairs evaluate the performance of a faculty member. Topics will include:

·         Overview of the process and timing

·         Effective dossier preparation

·         Leading departmental reviews

·         Making difficult decisions

·         Concerns regarding promotion to full professor

·         Preparing the Chair’s letter


October 16, 2018: Effective Communication and Managing Conflict

Conducting difficult conversations is an inevitable feature of department leadership.  In this session, participants will be introduced to an inventory of conflict styles and explore strategies for effective communication and conflict resolution.  An interactive group exercise will be conducted to help demonstrate processes for promoting trust and managing conflict. 


·         Effective communication strategies

·         Building trust and rapport

·         Evaluating conflict

·         Resolving conflict

·         Negotiating


November 13, 2018: Chair as Diversity Leader: The Role of the Chair in Enhancing Equity and Inclusion

The COACHE survey offers insight into a range of issues related to diversity.  We will review this data and following this review, we will lead a discussion designed to help chairs in identifying, and removing, inequitable barriers to the advancement and inclusion of women and minorities in academic departments.  Topics will include:

·         Learn how to enhance equity and inclusion in departments

·         Understand the concerns raised by underrepresented minority faculty

·         Identify and understand the negative impact of implicit bias

·         Explore best practices in hiring, mentoring, professional development and creating leave policies that reduce bias


December 11, 2018: Personnel Policies, Compliance and Challenges

We will review relevant policies and explore the challenges associated with leading a department.  James L. Jarvis, Jr., Associate Counsel, SUNY Office of General Counsel and Katherine L. Frier, Assistant Director, Employee Relations will review some of the common legal and contractual issues they are addressing in their respective offices as they pertain to academics.  Brice Bible, Vice President and Chief Information Office will discuss cyber security issues. Topics to be covered will include:

·         Recent developments regarding tenure, reappointment and non-renewal

·         Title IX, harassment

·         Professional obligation and the disciplinary process. 

·         Employment contracts

·         Faculty leave policies

·         Flexible workload

·         Cyber security


February 12, 2019: Understanding Budgets and Managing Your Resources

This session conducted by UB Human Relations staff will unpack the university budget process, untangle the various funding sources, discuss effective budget management strategies, and explore fundraising and alumni engagement.

·         Overview of UB budget

·         Overview of multiple accounts and financial sources

·         Chair’s role in managing budget and fundraising


March 12, 2019: Enhancing Teaching and Promoting Student Success

What is the role of teaching at a research university, how can teaching be enhanced in such universities, what are the best practices related to innovative teaching, and what can department chairs do to promote a culture of teaching excellence in their departments?  Through a combination of PPT presentation, video, and group discussion, a panel of experts from UB’s Center for Educational Innovation will explore these and other issues related to the scholarship of teaching. Topics will include:

·         Teaching as scholarship: National trends and the emphasis on teaching at UB

·         The role of the chair in promoting teaching excellence

·         Mentoring teaching for tenure and promotion

·         Tools and online resources for best practices


April 16, 2019: Enhancing Research Productivity in your Department

This workshop, conducted in conjunction with the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, will explore strategies for department chairs to enhance the research productivity within the department or unit.

·         Chair/head as role model

·         Funding opportunities

·         Grant writing resources


May 7, 2019: Understanding your Climate: Facilitating a High Functioning Department

This session will review the departmental climate data and explore opportunities and challenges to enhancing department performance.  Additionally, participants will review UB data pertaining to faculty mentoring and explore methods to get the most out of faculty mentoring practices.

·         Best practices in faculty mentoring

·         Implementing and assessing faculty mentoring

·         Engaging the faculty in mentoring

·         Explore aspects of highly functioning department