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Northwestern University

Department Chairs and Directors

We recognize how important it is to ensure that all department chairs and directors of programs, centers, and institutes are equipped for success in their leadership roles. We are committed to providing formal training and ongoing informal opportunities for academic leaders to connect with each other in a peer-supported learning environment. Read about a few of our ongoing initiatives below. If you have questions about participating in any of these programs, please contact Celina Flowers, Director, Faculty (

Department Executive Officers  - The annual 3-day Department Executive Officers (DEO) seminar is run through the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), the academic consortium of the Big Ten Conference members. This unique leadership development program brings together department heads and chairs for training and workshops on topics such as leadership styles, group decision-making, and staff management.

New Chairs and Directors Welcome Program - This annual program is geared towards new department chairs and program or center directors. Case studies and interactive discussions are presented on topics such as handling conflict, developing staff, managing up, and driving change. The program also features panel discussions with experienced department chairs and with school deans.

New Leaders Monthly Meetups - This is an informal series of monthly meetings to allow new department chairs and center and unit directors the opportunity to build networks with one another and share best practices.  Speakers with expertise around specific topics such as time management or difficult conversations may be occasionally featured.

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