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New Academic Leaders Academy (NALA)

Fridays, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm (in-person; lunch provided)

Program Leaders

  • Diane Kelly, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
  • Anne Smith, Professor, Management and Entrepreneurship and Judy & King Rogers Professor in Business

Description and Audience

This year-long, cohort-based program is primarily aimed at new department heads and school directors and is also open to new associate deans and other faculty who are serving in primarily full-time positions as academic administrators, including those in department-free colleges. This program will be most beneficial to those in their first or second year of service, and especially to leaders from outside of UTK.

Participants will gain leadership and management skills, including how to navigate challenging issues and address conflict, how to support faculty and staff development and growth, how to structure and promote the work of others, and how to stay organized and focused. Participants will strengthen their network of support and contacts across campus and become oriented to campus systems, processes, services, and people to aid them in their administrative work.

Application Process:  Nominations are solicited from college deans at the start of each academic year and nominees are sent an invitation to join the cohort.

This session is about making the most out of your first months in your leadership position. We will discuss how to identify the most significant and pressing issues in your unit and how to set an agenda or plan to tackle these issues; we also will discuss how to begin to build a positive, future-oriented culture in your unit. A panel of department heads will provide best practices learned during their early years in leadership.

This session will cover procedures, practices, and challenges related to faculty annual performance and planning reviews and different models for how reviews can be conducted. Best practices will also be discussed, including issues related to equity, fairness, and workload distributions. Discussion covers both tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty. A panel of department heads will discuss their experiences and approaches to conducting annual reviews.

This session will review the promotion and tenure policies and procedures for faculty. Best practices for supporting faculty on their quests for promotion and tenure including faculty mentoring will be discussed.  Discussion covers both tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty. A panel of department heads and senior faculty will join the session to share their practices and advice.

This session will cover hiring practices related to both tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty, including procedures for conducting searches and requesting appointments. This session will also present best practices for attracting and recruiting more diverse faculty and conducting fair and equitable searches.  A panel of department heads and representatives from STRIDE will join the group to discuss best practices and training requirements.

Academic departments can be complex organizations with many different personalities, work styles, communication abilities and styles, and histories. Conflict is inevitable and can be healthy.  However, people often lack the skills to engage in healthy and productive conflict, which often leads to long-term organizational dysfunction.  In this session, we will discuss different types of conflict and problematic behaviors and review ways to approach conflict and address dysfunctional relationships.

This session will be led by the UTK Office Ombuds Services and participants will be asked to complete the Conflict Dynamics Profile before the session. Participants will receive an invitation to complete the assessment at a time closer to this session. Please complete the assessment by November 28th to ensure that you participate in this session with individualized results in hand. During the session you will be provided with a group debrief. Participants may voluntarily schedule a meeting with the ombuds for further individual debrief to review and discuss assessment results.

Often new leaders have very little experience supervising staff.  This session will overview services and resources provided by UTK HR, including those designed to help leaders with employee relations and those designed to help employees (and leaders) grow and develop.  Faculty and staff interactions will also be discussed. This session will be led by representatives from UTK HR.

This session will provide an overview of the staff evaluation process and review best practices with respect to conducting staff performance reviews. The DEI component of staff evaluations will also be discussed. Strategies for addressing staff performance issues as they arise will also be discussed. This session will be led by representatives from UTK HR.

Student issues emerge throughout the semester and can take up significant time. In this session, we will identify some of these student issues – from undergraduate to doctoral students – and provide resources and ways to manage in a productive fashion. A panel of campus experts will discuss some of the more common issues and productive ways to address these issues.

Department Heads have the latitude to undertake entrepreneurial activities and fundraising for their units. In this session, we will discuss ideas to lift your unit’s financial strength and visibility, and address several ways to grow your department’s reach and revenue.  A panel of department heads who have been successful in these areas will share their experiences, including the steps taken to get new initiatives off the ground and how they addressed obstacles.

In this session, we will discuss Clifton Strengths and how understanding your strengths can be beneficial to you as you move forward in your leadership journey (you will be asked to complete the Clifton Strengths assessment prior to this session). We will also celebrate your accomplishments and discuss what you learned, how it helped you navigate your first year of leadership, what you wish you’d known more about, what you would have approached differently, and ways to get the most out of the summer.