Academic Leadership Development

Wayne State University (WSU) is committed to developing effective academic leaders who empower others by working with them collegially to achieve common goals, build a community of scholars, teachers, and practitioners, and sustain a high level of morale and engagement. To this end, the Office of the Provost has created leadership training programs to support the development of the leadership skills and capacity of WSU faculty, academic staff, and academic administrators.


Faculty and Academic Staff Leadership 

A small group working together during a breakout session.

Academic Leadership Academy

The Academic Leadership Academy (ALA) is a one-year program designed for full-time faculty and academic staff who have some knowledge and experience working toward the mission of WSU and in their areas of expertise, and are prepared to build their capacity to be more effective leaders at WSU, in their disciplines, and/or communities, in either formal and informal leadership roles. Program participants, known as ALA Fellows, will build on their emerging leadership skills by applying what they learn during the Academy to their current roles as well as to a leadership project of their choice.

SeminarAttendeesProgram components include:

  • A one-day leadership retreat in August to orient Fellows to the work of the Academy
  • Monthly in-person seminars (September through May)
  • Monthly meetings with project sponsors and ALA coaches
  • Digital peer mentoring sessions
  • A leadership project that aligns with the WSU Strategic Plan to improve some facet of WSU life and is designed to provide Fellows with the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills
  • A one-day retreat in August the following year, which includes presentations of completed leadership projects to peers, the incoming cohort of fellows, and university leaders, and
  • ALA Fellows will be invited to continue their leadership development after the one-year program by participating in future ALA seminars and offerings.

Chair Training

Department Chairs and Divisional Heads are responsible for developing and sustaining a climate and culture that empowers faculty, staff, and students to be successful. The Office of the Provost supports Chairs in this work by acting as a resource on university policies and collective bargaining agreements and offering professional development opportunities including leadership training and Chair Chats.

Chairs Summer Leadership Institute

The Chairs Summer Leadership Institute is a 2-day leadership development program for Department Chairs and Associate Chairs. It is designed to build knowledge and skill around effectively managing, leading, and coaching faculty, academic staff, and students. WSU experts will share strategies and tips to navigate promotion, tenure, and salary review processes; enhance faculty and academic staff recognition and career development; build healthy department cultures to which faculty and academic staff want to contribute; and take charge of one's own career including possible career trajectories. There will also be time for networking and sharing of ideas among Chairs/Associate Chairs. Please email Jake Wilson for resources and/or materials shared at the institute.

Chair Chats

Department chairs meeting during the chair chatJoin Associate Provost Boris Baltes, Assistant Provost Sara Kacin, and your Chair colleagues for Chair Chats! These informal sessions hosted by the Provost's Office will allow both new and experienced Department Chairs to network and share ideas and best practices with each other, and offer ideas for future career and leadership development programming. For some sessions, university representatives will be present to inform Chairs of new developments and to answer questions about university functions and units. 

During the 2020-21 academic year, Virtual Chair Chats will be held through Microsoft Teams on the third Wednesday of every month from 9 to 10 a.m. Please contact Jake Wilson if you need help accessing Chair Chats. 

2020-21 Chair Chat Schedule

  • Wednesday, Sept. 23
  • Wednesday, Oct. 21
  • Wednesday, Nov. 18
  • Wednesday, Dec. 16
  • Wednesday, Jan. 20
  • Wednesday, Feb. 17
  • Wednesday, March 17
  • Wednesday, April 21
  • Wednesday, May 19

EmpowerED to Lead Podcast Empowered to Lead Podcast Guest Kenya Swanson

EmpowerED to Lead is a podcast hosted by Sara Kacin, Assistant Provost for Faculty Development and Faculty Success and Director of the Office for Teaching & Learning at Wayne State University. In each episode, Kacin speaks with academic leaders at Wayne State to learn how they have developed their careers while empowering themselves and others.

Do you know an academic leader with a great story? Nominate them to be interviewed on EmpowerED to Lead.