November 7, 2019

SEC Launches Development Initiative for Academic Department-Level Leaders

Dr. Latha Ramchand (Missouri) [L], Dr. Donna Strum (Mississippi), and Dr. G.T. Lineberry (Kentucky) serve as subject-matter experts in the SEC Academic Speakers Bureau.
Dr. Latha Ramchand (Missouri) [L], Dr. Donna Strum (Mississippi), and Dr. G.T. Lineberry (Kentucky) serve as subject-matter experts in the SEC Academic Speakers Bureau.

By: SEC Staff
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Department-level academic administrators at Southeastern Conference universities will have another avenue to hone their skills via the SEC Speakers Bureau for Departmental Leadership Development (SEC Academic Speakers Bureau), the Conference announced on Thursday. Upon launch, more than 60 subject-matter experts with years of leadership experience from the SEC’s 14 member universities will be available to provide hands-on guidance across the league.

The bureau, which will complement the longstanding SEC Academic Leadership Development Program (SEC ALDP), will be led by the same individuals who oversee the SEC ALDP. However, while the goal of the SEC ALDP is to identify, prepare and advance academic leaders at any level, the SEC Academic Speakers Bureau focuses primarily on department chairs and department heads.

“We believe the future of higher education rests in the hands of today’s developing leaders, and we are pleased to help provide tools and resources to prepare them for that future with this highly collaborative program,” said Dr. Torie A. Johnson, SEC Associate Commissioner for Academic Relations. “We anticipate the SEC Academic Speakers Bureau will benefit not only our administrators and universities, but all of academia.”

Key topical areas within the bureau include the following, and experts are grouped accordingly. The bureau visits will be supported by the SEC Provosts, who also identified the more senior leaders.

  • Communicating and Consensus Building
  • Dealing with Difficult Behaviors
  • Developing a Mentoring Culture
  • Leading from the Middle
  • Navigating Legal Issues
  • Personal Development
  • Promoting and Supporting Diversity and Inclusion for Academic Excellence
  • Supporting the Faculty Career Continuum and Success
  • Understanding Decision-Making and Strategic Planning
  • Using Funds Wisely

After an SEC university has identified an area of interest for a department, planners may select from the bureau an intra-conference expert to facilitate sessions in that area. For example, if an institution is seeking to equip its department chairs to cultivate a climate of diversity, equity and inclusion, it could invite one (or more) of the experts to its campus to lead a workshop, “train-a-trainer,” etc.

“Discussions surrounding the need for department-level leadership development were occurring amongst both the SEC Provosts and the SEC ALDP planners,” said Dr. Johnson. “They identified the transition to department chair or department head as critical to the future of academic leadership, and this effort aims to address that stage of leadership.”

The SEC Academic Speakers Bureau is one of several SEC academic endeavors designed to support the teaching, research, service and economic development focus of the SEC’s 14 member universities.