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stepping stones

Faculty Programs
LIFT™ programs for faculty are tailored to the needs of faculty, deans, administration and their institution. These programs address the deeper issues underlying the challenges in higher education today and provide the concepts and skills that can help faculty and their academy move more elegantly and practically into the future they envision.

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Cross-Department Cultural
Change Program (CDCCP)

Creating inclusive, vibrant, and cutting-edge learning/research communities requires cultural change and the concepts and skills to match.

Leadership and Communication
This seminar, a popular LIFT™ program provides an in-depth and practical approach for implementing important communication skills that are central to one’s success in laboratory, research, classroom and industry settings.

Strategic Planning
LIFT offers a visioning and strategic planning process that can be used by any unit within an institution ranging from university-wide to divisions, colleges, departments and research groups.

Chair School
This program goes beyond typical chair leadership training, providing concepts and skills that address the deeper levels of leadership and explore the inner landscape of the leader. This porgram, in a variety of formats, helps the chair learn what they didn't teach you in "chair school."

Partners in Leadership
Private and confidential sessions for provosts, deans, chairs, and faculty.

Understanding People
Understanding people is a foundational skill for leadership.  If your institution wants a briefer version of our full curriculum while also enhancing leadership training, we suggest this two-seminar combination:  WORLDS and the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI).  In being more understanding, faculty can enhance their efforts in research, teaching and service.

Cross-Department Cultural Change Program (CDCCP)
The Cross-Department Cultural Change Program (CDCCP) helps departments enrich communication, enhance collaboration and improve faculty recruitment and retention.  The Program also encourages more effective peer mentoring and collegiality, fosters positive and inclusive environments and thus assists departments in creating a vibrant and fulfilling intellectual community.  The CDCCP supports department chairs and their faculty in addressing and improving the quality of life for each faculty member in the department. 

A key element of the CDCCP is that this cultural change work is done typically in the community of 5 departments.  Each department chair picks two faculty, so that there are fifteen faculty working together over a year to improve their departments’ culture.   

The Program includes both the exploration of cultural change concepts and the acquisition of related individual and leadership skills.  We’ve found that just thinking our way into an improved department usually doesn’t work very well.  Thus, faculty value the development of their leadership and interpersonal skill set in order to improve the odds that all the time they invest actually results in change. These concepts and skills are utilized in creating and implementing specific initiatives to improve the climate for everyone in the department.

The Program’s Cultural Change Curriculum is versatile and tailored to the needs, goals and culture of the involved departments. Two important features of the program our work together include incorporating strategies and tactics in response to the developing needs of the group and providing in-depth coaching regarding implementation. (top)

Chair School
In working with hundreds of chairs around the country, we often hear that no matter how well prepared someone thinks they are to become the chair, they are always surprised by what they experience in their new role.  Many faculty are promoted to chair because of their outstanding work and contributions to their field and their department.  In other cases, faculty are chosen because there is “no one else” who will do the job.  In between are departments where faculty take turns serving as chair. 

Regardless of how one ends up in “the chair,” the skills required to lead well a department are not necessarily the same skills that got them there.  And after 20 years of working with chairs, we’ve heard even the best chairs say that they were initially surprised by the amount of conflict and the number of interpersonal challenges existing in their department.

The good news is that there is a defined group of concepts and skills that chairs can learn and/or refine that will help them feel successful in their chair role and that also will result in a department feeling grateful for their service.  Easy?  No.  Do these concepts and skills once learned make a difference? Clearly.

This program, ideally offered in its yearlong format and tailored to each institution, provides chairs, new and old, an opportunity to gain the concepts and skills “they never taught you in chair school.”

Our Chair School typically offers two tracks:

The Foundation Track offers a deeper, tilling-the-soil approach to leadership development.

  • These programs focus on the internal life of the leader.  When the internal life of leaders is not healthy, they are unable to promote or support cultural change and significant leadership development cannot occur.   When the internal life is healthy, the leader can exercise the courage it takes to implement visionary change. Rather than a superficial skills-only approach, these programs till the soil of the chair so that the skills, when planted, will take effective root.
  • By focusing on the leader, the one using leadership technologies, we enhance the leader’s ability to acquire and implement proven skills and strategies while at the same time improve the climate in which we navigate our professional and organizational lives.

The Administrative Track focuses on the more traditionally understood responsibilities and functions of the chair.

  • These track includes programs that focus on managing a department, developing and managing a budget, faculty development and recruitment, policy and personnel, legal issues, etc.
  •  As the year unfolds, sessions will be adjusted according to chair requests and current events
At first, it is not unusual for institutions to shy away from programs that are longer than a two-hour or half-day Friday afternoon workshop.  After decades of providing this kind of opportunity, we know that once faculty experience the value of Chair School, they volunteer to spend more time than they originally agreed to do. 
  • These sessions (a year of training) equal the number of hours in a typical workweek in higher education.  In the long run, chairs will spend no more time executing their chair responsibilities than they already do and most likely will spend less.  Even if chairs spend the same amount of time, implementing the Chair School concepts and skills will result in more of their time spent in leadership excellence rather than in leadership rehab.
  • Our experience is that chairs readily opt for regular three-hour sessions once they experience the deeper material.
  • The topics, sequence and format are determined by the needs and goals of each university, college and department. (top)

Partners in Leadership
Some organizations call this service executive coaching.  That phrase doesn’t always capture the deeper issues and nuances one faces as an academic leader nor does it reflect the nature of our ongoing partnerships with academic leaders. Thus, we prefer to describe this reflective association as Partners in Leadership.  In working with dozens of universities around the country, we at LIFT value our relationships with faculty at all levels of the academy.  We know that these trusted collaborations not only enhance our shared projects, but they also provide for leaders an opportunity to reflect and contemplate – a key activity for leading with vision in this fast-paced world.

If you appreciate the opportunity to think out loud with a safe philosophical partner, if you like conversational candor with someone not tied to your institution and thus free of “organizational think,” and if you like thinking strategically, with imagination and creativity, then this LIFT service will be useful for you and other leaders in your institution. (top)

Strategic Planning

Understanding People

Leadership and Communication