Expanding leadership development across UNH

executive team members

President's Leadership Academy 2020

The Office of Engagement and Faculty Development recently expanded its leadership development programs to ensure UNH faculty would not only have the tools they need to advance their careers, but collectively to position the university to become a top 25 public research university. This year the office rolled out two new programs and reenergized two others to support faculty at multiple career levels as they face complex challenges as leaders related to financial, policy, and personnel topics. 

New this year, President’s Leadership Academy launched in October 2019 with a focus on leadership and team building, fiscal management, human resource management, and diversity and inclusive excellence.  The six-session curriculum invited executive levels leaders (deans, provosts, and vice presidents) either new to UNH or with a few years of experience at UNH to advance their skills and knowledge with peers from across the university.

“The development of the President’s Leadership Academy was prompted by UNH president (James Dean) and provost (Wayne Jones) who value leadership and the importance of building a leadership team for success, combined with the recent turnover in key executive positions due to promotion, retirement, or opportunity elsewhere,” Couse said. “They recognized the need for executive onboarding, cohort building, and UNH-focused skill building.”

For leaders serving as dean, associate dean, and department chair, the All Chairs and Academic Leaders program began last semester to offer a series of information sessions and workshops to help keep key front line leaders informed about what’s happening both on campus and in academia. Some of the topics covered for this year include the UNH response to COVID-19, emergency response and preparedness, personnel file management, and meeting the escalating demands for mental health, Couse said. The topics were chosen from a poll by the provost’s office.

Shari Robinson, Director, Psychological and Counseling Services
All Chairs and Academic Leaders, April 2020

“Most academics don’t have formal training in leadership. All Chairs and Academic Leaders serves as a communication tool to keep chairs and other key academic front line leaders informed and productive,” she said.

Faculty leaders will be invited by the provost’s office to join the next All Chairs and Academic Leaders before the kickoff in early September.

Two popular programs continue to be offered– Advancing Academic Leaders and Hot Topics in Academic Leadership. Current and aspiring academic leaders are invited to participate in AAL and Hot Topics.  Both popular leadership programs began as part of UNH Advance initiatives, in collaboration with the Office of Engagement and Faculty Development. The programs transitioned to the Office of Engagement and Faculty Development in 2018, where the curriculum was re-energized.

Advancing Academic Leaders is a four-session interactive program aimed to support the continuous growth of leaders, highlighting the knowledge, skills, and approaches faculty need to successfully guide and enhance others in an academic shared governance setting. Stephanie Brown, clinical professor of biomedical science, characterized the value of the program in this way, “Advancing Academic Leaders gave me the tools to approach complex problem solving with confidence and the networking necessary to gather different perspectives. I left the series a stronger, more multi-factorial leader who understood more about the university, my colleagues and myself.”

Next year’s sessions will take place monthly from October 2020 through January 2021, and focus on personal leadership; leading in the academy; strategic leadership; and creating and maintaining an inclusive climate.

advancing academic leaders class photo

Advancing Academic Leaders

All academic leaders face issues that are hot buttons, not unique to the concerns that grapple faculty at UNH. These include free speech, academic freedom, and diversity and inclusion, to name a few. The Hot Topics speaker series focuses on fostering diversity, providing perspectives from speakers from other campuses. In January, Asabe Poloma, Ph.D., associate dean for international students at Brown University and director of Mellon Mayes Undergraduate Fellowship, gave a talk entitled, “Holding the Whole of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence at UNH in 2020 and Beyond.”

“Dr. Paloma's talk offered cohort participants an expansive vista for thinking about the different spans of diversity attention that require pro-active leaders' more than tokenized consideration.  Her insights on neuro-diversity especially resonated with participants, challenging all of us to expand our thinking about the impact of seemingly less visible markers of difference in higher education,” according to Professor Reginal Wilburn,  Co-Chair of Hot Topics in Academic Leadership and Advancing Academic Leaders.

Faculty are encouraged to share ideas for hot topics here or contact us with interest in any of the leadership programs.