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Department Heads Forum

The Department Heads Forum is a meeting of all department heads, school directors, and representatives from department-free colleges. The DH Forums provide a space for ongoing conversation and networking, mutual mentoring and support, sharing of ideas and methods, discussion of pressing issues and concerns, and collaboration on common initiatives. 

2022-2023 Co-Facilitators:  Greg Peterson (EECS) and Tina Shepardson (Religious Studies)

All sessions are held in-person from 11:30-1:00 and include lunch.  



Thursday, September 15th  |  Workload Equity | Location: SU 362 B/C

Setting and evaluating the workload of different faculty for research, teaching, and service represents one of the more challenging issues that department heads face. This session will explore practices for achieving service workload equity for faculty at different ranks and stages of their career. 

Wednesday, October 5th | Future of Work | SU (Executive Dining Room)

Technological changes coupled with the disruptions of the COVID pandemic have triggered broad change throughout the economy to workers, supervisors, and the nature of work. These changes have impacted faculty and staff as well, presenting new challenges and opportunities. In this session, we will discuss what we imagine the future of campus work looking like in our various units given all this change and share strategies for addressing changing expectations and needs.

Tuesday, November 15th |  The APPR of the Future: Brainstorming | SU 362 B/C

Annual reviews represent a critical form of feedback for faculty performance, but they also are labor intensive. This discussion will elicit department head feedback on challenges and pain points for annual reviews as well as helping identify opportunities for improvement and better efficiency. This feedback will help shape updates to the APPR annual review process and infrastructure.

Friday, December 9th  | What would you fix, and how would you fix it? | SU 270 

Every department head sees processes and procedures that can seem frustrating, senseless, or maddening. This session seeks to move beyond the catharsis of sharing our angst with such issues by identifying suggestions for practical improvements. Come share your best ideas for how we can improve our processes to make the lives of faculty, staff, and department heads easier!



Wednesday, January 18th | Cross-College and Cross-Department Collaborations:  A Strategic Discussion and Brainstorming Session with Chancellor Plowman and Provost Zomchick | Executive Dining Room

This session hosts a dialogue between department heads and senior campus leadership on practical ways to foster collaborations across departmental and collegiate boundaries. Many of the most challenging research and educational opportunities demand interdisciplinary responses, but organizational boundaries, tenure processes, budgetary policies, and other structural constraints can make these collaborations more challenging. The discussion will help to elicit these issues as well as identifying potential solutions.

Friday, February 24th | DH Evaluation Process | SU 362 B/C

Serving as a department head is very challenging, with numerous constituencies to serve.  Understanding the expectations for how a DH is performing, with constructive feedback, can allow growth, improved performance, and higher impact. This discussion considers how evaluations of department heads can be improved to provide better feedback. Feedback from this session will be shared with college deans for their consideration.

Friday, March 24th | The APPR of the Future:  Prototype Feedback |  Executive Dining Room

The current APPR system is being updated. Following our Fall discussion about the APPR, this session gives a sneak preview into the new system, interfaces, and workflows, and asks DHs to provide formative feedback.

Tuesday, April 11th | Communication Best Practices | SU 262 B/C

The modality changes of the past few years have changed our communications landscape in ways that few of us have mastered. This meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of different communication tools for different types of messages and audiences, in addition to thinking about how to shape the content of our messages to maximize their impact.

Thursday, May 11th | What have we Learned? | SU 362 B/C

This discussion comes at the end of the first academic year using the new budget model, and it seeks to elicit feedback on what has worked well, what challenges have arisen, and what opportunities can be considered for improving operations. 



DH Reads

Join department heads from across campus in a reading group focused on organizational leadership. The Provost’s Office will purchase books for anyone who wants to participate, and the group will select a date to meet to discuss the book.

DH Listserv

This is a private listserv that allows department heads to discuss issues of interest to the group and connect with others for fellowship and support. Listserv membership is limited to department heads. All department heads are automatically added to this listserv.