April 4-5, 2024
Drury Plaza Hotel Nashville Franklin
1874 West McEwan Drive, Franklin, TN 37067


Apr. 4 – Day One Schedule


11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Event Check-in, Boxed Lunches, and Networking

12:15 – 12:30 p.m.

Welcome, Overview, and Introduction of External Keynote Speaker

12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Keynote-Led, Interactive Workshop

  • Dr. Jeanne Hey, Principal, Hey University

2:30-3:00 p.m.

Break and Networking

3:00-3:30 p.m.
Large Group Systemwide Workshop: Legislative Considerations for UT Department Heads

  • Carey Whitworth, Vice President, Governmental Relations and Advocacy, UT System

3:30 – 4:15 p.m.
Large Group Systemwide Workshop: Legal Considerations for UT Department Heads

  • Esther Henry, Associate General Counsel, UT System
  • Rachel K. Powel, Deputy General Counsel, UT System

4:30 – 5:15 p.m.

Large Group Systemwide Workshop: Best Practices for Department Heads in Conducting Faculty Evaluation for Tenure and Promotion 

  • Linda Martin, Interim Chancellor, UT Southern

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Optional informal “kick-back” reception in the main lobby of the Drury Plaza for attendees.


Dinner on Your Own


Apr. 5 – Day Two Schedule


7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Check-in, Breakfast, and Networking

8:30 – 9:15 a.m.

Break-out Session 1 (Sessions for New & Experienced Chairs) – facilitator-led

  • Session A: The Complex Role of Leading an Academic Department – participants will identify and discuss (a) the challenges of moving from peer to supervisor, (b) numerous competing priorities in the position, and (b) the various stakeholder groups to which department heads are accountable.
    • Michelle Deardorff, Department Head, Department of Political Science and Public Service, UT Chattanooga
    • Room: Carter (11th Floor, green)
  • Session B: Reinvigorating the Role for Seasoned Chairs – experienced department heads will identify and discuss ways of reenergizing themselves through new initiatives, professional development, and possible departmental improvements to boost engagement for themselves and department faculty, staff, and students.
    • Christopher Stripling, Department Head, Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, UTIA
    • Room: Lotz (11th Floor, orange)
  • Session C: Leveraging the Role of Chair into the Next Leadership Opportunity – for chairs ready to take the next step, this session will guide participants in a discussion of how to identify and engage in relevant leadership opportunities, mentorship, and preparing for their next role for positions like dean or other roles in upper administration.
    • Matthew Mench, Dean, Tickle College of Engineering, UT Knoxville
    • Room: Leipers A (pink)

9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Break-out Session 2 (Effective Communication) – facilitator-led

  • Session A: Addressing Conflict within the Department – many UT department heads experience challenges related to departmental conflicts, whether with direct reports, faculty-faculty disagreements, or misaligned views about leadership and direction of the department. Participants in this session will share experiences and strategies for addressing these challenges head-on.
    • Justin Martin, Chair, Department of Behavioral Sciences, UT Martin
    • Room: Carter (11th Floor, green)
  • Session B: Improving Communication with University Leadership – UT department heads report a desire for more transparent and direct communication with university leadership. In this session, heads and university leaders will strategize improvements and opportunities in this area.
    • Matt Matthews, Vice Provost, UT Chattanooga
    • Room: Lotz (11th Floor, orange)
  • Session C: Effectively Communicating Expectations Between and During Faculty Performance Evaluations – In this session, participants will explore effective strategies for communicating expectations of faculty between and during performance reviews to remove ambiguities, improve performance, and develop shared goals for success.
    • Neale Chumbler, Executive Associate Dean, Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs, UTHSC
    • Room: Leipers A (pink)

10:30 – 11:15 a.m.

Break-out Session 3 (Time/Resource/Priority Management) – facilitator-led

  • Session A: The Basics of Budgeting for Academic Leaders –Participants will hear from university leaders and representatives from budget and finance on key policies, best practices, common pitfalls and mistakes, and other relevant information related to managing a departmental budget.
    • Facilitator: Rebecca Shortridge, Chair and Department Head, Department of Accounting, UT Chattanooga
    • Co-facilitator: Michael Jones, Associate Dean, Gary W. Rollins College of Business, UT Chattanooga
    • Room: Carter (11th Floor, green)
  • Session B: Balancing Competing Priorities with Limited Resources – Participants will discuss strategies for addressing competing priorities, effective resource negotiation, and the ever-present challenge of doing more with less.
    • Mary Radford, Chair, Department of Nursing, UT Martin
    • Room: Lotz (11th Floor, orange)
  • Session C: The Essentials of Strategic Planning for Academic Leaders – Participants will meet with expert facilitators who can assist academic unit leaders in developing an effective department strategy that aligns with university plans that will help drive departmental success.
    • Facilitator: Frank Butler, Professor of Management and Director of Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, Gary W. Rollins College of Business, UT Chattanooga
    • Co-facilitator: Cheryl Fogler, Planning Coordinator, UT System
    • Room: Leipers A (pink)
  • Session D: Special Considerations for Department Chairs: Alternative Scheduling, Students Success, and Special/Cohort Populations – This session will look at different delivery systems that have proven helpful to faculty and students while still following SACS-COC guidelines. Participants will consider hybrid classes, Saturday classes, classes that do not have 37.5 hours of seat time, and half-semester classes with different opportunities to stop and start during a semester. Participants will also examine processes and procedures to implement this kind of initiative.
    • Judy Cheatham, Provost, UT Southern
    • Room: Leipers B (black)

11:15 – 11:30 a.m.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Boxed Lunches, Debrief, Evaluations, and Adjourn