Personalized Programs, Proven Results

One department at a time across academic disciplines, our programs are resulting in more collaborative, highly-functioning faculty and staff teams. Success stories shared by our clients drive us to continue expanding ALP offerings across the region in our mission to enhance department leadership skills and create respect-based learning environments.

“The Academic Leadership Program is essential for any new leaders with no previous leadership training. Dennis Morris helped me to build respectful, trusting relationships and effective communication within my department, and to lead with my principles. He taught me the importance of encouragement, support, and appreciation of the accomplishments of my colleagues. I am also practicing what I learned about how to approach problem solving by involving and actively listening to all stakeholders, understanding and analyzing their concerns, and effectively constructing arguments to reach solutions. Working with other new chairs in the program promoted shared learning.”

Professor and Chair, Anthropology Department

“I’m grateful for the Academic Leadership Program because leadership training is not usually part of the process of earning a PhD or working as a faculty member. I entered my leadership position thinking how I could encourage people to make contributions based on their strengths, but the Academic Leadership Program broadened how I think about leading and motivating people. With the training I have received, I now work to press and inspire faculty and staff to move beyond their strengths, challenge them and grow as individuals. The program provided me with new insights into leadership and strategies to bring meaningful change to the organization I’ve been asked to lead. Each week we discussed the real-time challenges we faced on the job. Learning about the issues faced by other chairs and working together to develop strategies built trust among our group members and provided me with insights into my personal leadership skills. I learned a great deal about my job, my peers, and about myself. As a facilitator Dennis succeeds in building a team among a diverse group of Chairs from varied disciplines. He’s an excellent facilitator who encourages contributions from individuals with different experiences, qualities, perspectives, and skill sets. Thoughtful and perceptive, Dennis knows how to bring out the best in participants and involve everyone in the learning process. He has the rare ability to bring to bear his experiences in the corporate world on the challenges faced by academic administrators. It’s very unusual to work with an Executive Coach and facilitator who has knowledge of both of these worlds. Working with Dennis as an Executive Coach was invaluable in helping me to understand and fulfill the responsibilities of my new leadership position.”

Interim Faculty Director

“I participated in the Academic Leadership Program. What Dennis helped me solve was in essence a process, a process of interacting with faculty and staff. One example that helped me invaluably was how to deal with a difficult person. Dennis was very good at keeping things open and helping us understand how to start a difficult discussion with empathy and a positive perspective of the other person. I learned how to communicate with assertive empathy and discovered how that approach effectively diffuses tension while helping everyone involved. The module on leading the change enriched my understanding of mapping out and defining principles that are important to me and showed me how to maintain those principles at the forefront when negotiating resources. Changing a culture and addressing course sequences that carry lots of inertia are particularly difficult. This program helped me to gain the confidence to lead change and chart a course of action that is beneficial for the students and the department. The group modules were was helpful and gave me and the other Chairs an opportunity to exchange ideas and share the pain of what we were all experiencing as leaders. As a result of the program I am more actively involved in carving out time to get to know my colleagues and to develop and build trusting relationships.”

Professor and Chair of Physics and Astronomy

“I am a huge fan of the Academic Leadership Program! This program helped me on a variety of levels as an administrator. From a leadership standpoint the program’s specific techniques helped me to better deal with crisis situations as they emerge. As professors, we are focused on teaching and research and aren’t trained in interpersonal relations and this program expanded my vision of decision making where people are part of the process. This made it more enjoyable and it has given me a sense of accomplishment to impart long term change.”

Associate Professor and Interim Chair Women and Gender Studies

“The Chair Leadership Project was immediately applicable because it was in context to what we were facing in our departments. The part that I found particularly helpful was the modules about coping with change. Leading change was especially relevant since my colleagues are required to think about their future and the future of the Department in new ways. Dennis Morris was able to orient our thinking and allow us to reflect on how to flow with change and to lead change efficiently. The one-to-one executive coaching sessions which were very helpful gave me the opportunity to discuss issues in confidence, dissect different approaches to resolve difficult issues, and try out new strategies to lead tough conversations. I discovered new ways to talk to people who do not necessarily have a positive approach to change. Dennis Morris is a very good listener and has a keen sense of what is needed and can offer insights and make situations relevant very quickly.”

Professor and Chair of Mathematical Sciences

“Management and leadership roles with faculty are a different dynamic as compared to business personnel management. Dennis Morris provided tools to help with difficult and complicated faculty related issues. He instilled a high level of trust in the group, allowing us to learn from another’s experiences. He has experience consulting with academics which is missing in other management training groups. He did a very good job bringing his experience with academics to both our group learning and our one-to-one Executive Coaching with him. The academic specific case studies discussed in the group modules were invaluable and stimulated thoughtful and productive discussions. Dennis provided us with effective tools to use in an academic environment and make progress resolving problems.”

Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences

“Dennis Morris is a very good facilitator and teacher. The program provided meaningful, applicable and relevant information. The program format allowed the cohort to talk communally about our leadership problems and get to know and trust each other.
The topics of empathy and coping with change were important to me. I learned how to look beyond the obvious and it encouraged me to get to know the story of the person I am dealing without casting judgment. The modules provided information that allowed peers to dissect problems in depth I found Dennis to be very encouraging while not lecturing. The program was extremely useful for the fundamentals of administration as they apply across the board. He helped us look at how to deal with and package change within an organization. The program modules coupled with the specific techniques helped us all to see that people must be willing and positive about receiving change and not as an administrative directive. It’s all relational if the unit gets better, all get better!”

Interim Chair, Black American Studies

“The Chair Leadership Project was pragmatic and not based on lofty ideals that don’t relate to real academic leadership issues. The program had a direct and positive impact on leading my department. The group modules were effective because Dennis Morris is great at facilitating and creating trust and openness. Dennis is empathetic and open and this allowed for a safe learning environment.”

Professor and Chair, Music History and Literature