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Department Chairs

Bridge Builders

"The complex role of department chair requires a skilled individual who can both serve and coordinate multiple constituencies. Institutional reliance upon department chairs as primary change agents and managers will continue to increase as institutions respond to external pressures for productivity and fact, the very reputation of the institution depends on the success of its department chairs in bridging institutional and departmental needs." (Hect et al 1999, p.15). We specialize in helping leaders manage transition and change to bridge institutional and departmental needs!

Empty Street

We're looking for conscientious mavericks

We’re looking for small groups of department chairs within your college or university who are willing to work together on change and transition management in the context of the “Five Common Hindrances to Navigating Disruption in Higher Education.”


Here's a few reasons why:

Navigating today’s environment is a complicated, context-specific endeavor that is not scalable or repeatable, requiring new paradigms, skills and strategies to help each institution and its people pivot.

  • Department chairs play a significant role in the future of their institution and its students

  • New department chairs experience major transitions of their own (Hect,et al 1999)

  • Department chairs encounter all Five Common Hindrances to Navigating Disruption in Higher Education (Buchanan 2022)

    • Underestimating the tumultuous impact of change on the institution’s capacity

    • Overabundance of disparate initiatives that compete for the same limited bandwidth

    • Inconsistent institutional agreement about shared governance and academic freedom

    • Ineffective stakeholder engagement and communication with stakeholder groups

    • Underestimating the level of courage necessary to achieve goals.

  • Desired outcomes don’t happen unless ideas are converted into a clear, concrete, relevant, and practical plan that is implemented in a tangible and sustainable way that achieves the intended results in a timely and effective fashion. (Buchanan 2024)

  • “Not all academic leaders or faculty members may be accustomed to the minutiae of practical day-to-day change management, but the complexity of modern organizations and the nature, pace, and scope of change demand such focus.” (Buchanan 2022)

  • Managing change was cited as “one of the toughest challenges I face as an administrator” by 72 percent of higher education administrators in a survey conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education and Watermark (Anft 2022)

  • Change management is not scalable or repeatable.

Real-time, customized support (virtually) is available for up to five institutional colleagues at a time to help teams of chairs on a limited budget navigate change within your unique department, school and institution.

Resources for Department Chairs 

Change/Transition Support





Anft, Michael. 2022. Stepping Up to Innovate: College Administrators Assess Higher Ed’s Ability to Change Itself. Washington, DC: The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Buchanan, Donna M. 2024. “Managing Change: Part 2: Successful Planning.” The Department Chair 34 (4): 9–12.

Buchanan, Donna M. 2022. “Managing Change: Five Common Hindrances to Navigating Disruption in Higher Education.” The Department Chair 33 (1): 23–25.


Hect, Irene W.D.,, Mary Lou Higgerson, Walter H . Gmelch, Allan Tucker. “Roles and Responsibilities of Department Chairs.” The Department Chair as Academic Leader (Phoenix, AZ: ACE Oryx Press, 1999). Chapter 2.

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