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Know Your Vision and Let Your Vision be Known

Department heads set the vision for their department.  However, this vision will be most effective after consulting constituents.  These include students, faculty, administration and the industry in which departmental students find employment and with whom faculty conduct research and development.

Becoming a Strategic Leader

Being a department head can certainly be daunting and all-consuming. It is often the case that new department heads feel ill prepared and that they lack the skills and knowledge to become an effective leader.  Department heads must realize that commitment, determination and leadership training will enable them to be truly successful in this critical university role.

This page on Leadership provides many tools department heads will need to be successful at not only developing a vision for the department, but also developing a 5-year strategic plan, that when implemented, will ultimately reflect the vision for the department and result in the success that both head and department desire.

Before beginning to explore the contents of this page, take a few moments and consider the view from 30,000 feet:

  1. Consider the following questions and take time to write down answers
    1. What is the department's special niche among other premiere competitors?
    2. What are the unique strengths of each of the faculty and staff that when harnessed will bring significant impact to the department?
    3. How can the department be improved to rise to the next level of excellence, while meeting the needs of its constituents?
    4. What strategic choices will move the department towards its vision?
    5. What benchmarks should a department head establish to gauge the department’s progress?
  2. Be sure to engage the dean as a source of advice and a partner in this planning effort as well as its implementation.
  3. Based on the department's 5-year strategic plan, develop an annual operating plan and record the department's progress in achieving the benchmarks at the end of each academic year.

Industry Advisory Board (IAB)

Establishing an industry advisory board can prove critical to the success of your department, not only in establishing a sound vision and strategic plan, but also benefit your program in the accreditation process.

Typically an IAB will be comprised of anywhere between 12 and 16 members, representing local and regional employers of your students.  These members should be well-established in their respective positions and bring enthusiasm and professional vision to help advance your program.  While members who are in upper-management positions can bring wonderful advice and wisdom to the table, it can be equally advantageous to the IAB to have members that are closer to students just entering the workforce.

A well-written Charter is recommended to help govern and maintain a well-working and effective IAB.