The Leading an Academic Unit at Duke (LAUD) workshop series is designed for department chairs and other unit and program leaders across campus.

In each session, participants engage in dialogue with peers, experts and key leaders about issues relevant to academic leadership. Sessions feature best practices and strategies to improve programs, as well as discussion topics such as managing finances, leading during crises, fostering a sense of community, and promoting an inclusive and supportive working, research and learning environment.

Upcoming LAUD Workshops

The Role for Leaders in Advancing Open and Constructive Discourse on Campus About Complex Issues

March 27, 2024, 3 - 4 p.m.

As leaders, we have a crucial role to play in ensuring that our campus remains a place that supports open and rigorous engagement with difficult topics. Discussions can be difficult and fraught, especially with polarizing topics such as the Middle East, which interface with personal and national identity, politics (domestic and international) and many other related issues. These topics are multifaceted, emotionally charged, and have a personal impact on members of our academic community in deep ways. The challenge for us as leaders, and as stewards of our academic units' educational mission, is to foster a culture that enhances understanding and builds skills leading to shared learning and respectful dialogue.

In this workshop, you will hear from faculty leaders and campus colleagues who regularly navigate charged situations and balance how to move their units toward a space of constructive engagement. Panelists will also share effective practices and helpful resources to support academic leaders.

Previous LAUD Workshops

Conversation with Academic Chairs and Leaders

October 12, 2022

The Office for Faculty Advancement held a discussion group as part of the ongoing LAUD series for chairs and other academic leaders. Fellow academic leaders were able to learn from one another, share tips for navigating challenges, and discuss strategies on how to take advantage of the resources and expertise available at Duke.

Leading Culture Change in Your Unit

November 28, 2022

The academic landscape continues to evolve, and leaders are regularly asked to implement changes in the daily policies and practices of their schools and departments. While navigating these new circumstances, leaders must also consider the impact that these changes will have on the experiences of the faculty, staff and students in their units. Some leaders may feel unprepared or challenged to make informed decisions in these evolving areas. In this workshop, leaders came together to discuss key issues with their colleagues and peers. They also learned strategies and approaches from other units on campus to inform their own work and support their ability to lead meaningful and sustainable culture change.

Actualizing Racial Equity Throughout the Faculty Hiring Process  (View Recording)

April 29, 2022

In this workshop, Professor Roman Liera and Dr. Damani White-Lewis presented research on the role of typical faculty hiring criteria and practices that cement racial and ethnic inequalities in the professoriate. Suitable for administrators and faculty, this program guided attendees to see how common perceptions of fit and whiteness inhibit processes, policies, and norms that centralize racial equity. Attendees were also equipped with strategies to assess the hiring process in different stages to improve racial equity and decision-making.

Supporting Your BIPOC Faculty Colleagues: Guidance for Senior Faculty, Chairs and Deans (View Recording)

March 1, 2022

Dr. Modupe Akinola led chairs, senior faculty, and other academic leaders in a virtual discussion about recognizing, understanding, and supporting BIPOC faculty colleagues in managing and utilizing stress in the department and across the university. Questions raised and addressed include:

  • How do we understand stress for BIPOC faculty in our organizational environment? What is it, and how do we address and overcome it so more people can feel welcome and thrive in these environments where there is little diversity?
  • How might we change our own stress mindsets to better understand and support our BIPOC colleagues?
  • How do senior faculty, chairs, and deans go about developing social relationships with people who don’t look like us?

The session further helped participants in understanding where women and people of color are experiencing organizational life differently because of the unique stressors they face—and emphasizing interventions for lasting change in the academic department.

How to Lead a Thorough, Rigorous and Fair Promotion and Tenure Review Process

September 15, 2021

Provost Sally Kornbluth and current and past members of the campus APT Committee discussed the APT process and how to prepare dossiers in a thorough, rigorous and fair way. The workshop covered topics including the different stages of the tenure and promotion review process, components of the dossier and potential issues during the dossier construction and review. The workshop also discussed metrics, evaluation of digital and engaged scholarship, the impact of COVID-19 on research plans and progress, and biases that may potentially impact candidates’ dossiers and ways to mitigate them.

Mentorship - New Approaches for a New Professoriate

March 19, 2021

Traditional hierarchical mentorship approaches, while providing some support to faculty, often fail to meet the multifaceted needs of early career faculty. This workshop recapped issues discussed by Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) faculty mentees in a prior workshop, and discussed multiple mentorship models that may better serve an increasingly diverse professoriate. The workshop included a discussion of common challenges in mentorship relationships and identified leadership strategies for sponsoring and supporting BIPOC faculty. Acknowledging that mentorship must be one aspect of a broader plan to create an inclusive departmental climate, this workshop also featured actionable strategies for chairs and deans to create a meaningful and sustainable framework to meet the needs of early career BIPOC faculty members. While there was an emphasis on the distinctive challenges facing faculty of color, the tools shared were applicable to mentoring all faculty.

Fostering a Positive and Equitable Culture in Your Academic Unit

February 3, 2021

In this interactive workshop, a panel of university leaders and colleagues shared various strategies for creating an equitable and inclusive academic culture and for promoting a positive and supportive climate in our academic programs for students, staff and faculty. Participants learned practical tools and strategies for fostering a culture that aligns with our values of inclusion, equity and respect and for confronting challenges and conduct that undermine those values.

Faculty and Staff Dynamics: Responding to Staff Voices

January 22, 2021

This presentation raised awareness on managing and valuing academic staff members through dialogue, education and best practices while recognizing ongoing conversations at the unit, department and organizational level. This workshop fostered participation to include scenarios encountered by academic leadership, along with resources and measures that can be used to facilitate conversations and offer recommendations to promote an equitable, supportive and respectful environment for your academic staff.

Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on the Academic Progress of Underrepresented Faculty (View Recording)

November 20, 2020

Recent articles in Nature, the New York Times, and other venues have documented the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on the academic careers of women and faculty who are underrepresented in the academy. This new crisis adds to preexisting biases in hiring, funding, promotion, and tenure. Bias shows up in the metrics that are used to evaluate impact, define sub-disciplines, and determine research areas that are considered core. This in turn affects research funding, access to prominent publication venues, and even the language that is used to characterize research abilities, roles, and contributions. The bias particularly affects underrepresented minority and female faculty.

In this workshop, academic leaders from across the consortium had the opportunity to discuss and share strategies to mitigate bias as well as the challenges caused by COVID-19 on the professional advancement of their colleagues. This workshop featured a moderated 45-minute panel followed by 45 minutes of Q&A. Participants were introduced to:

  • Evidence of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on underrepresented faculty members.
  • Research on bias in the faculty tenure and promotion processes.
  • Practical tools to mitigate both bias and disproportionate impact in tenure and promotion processes at the departmental and institutional levels.

APT: How to Lead a Thorough, Rigorous and Fair Promotion and Tenure Review Process

November 5, 2020

Provost Sally Kornbluth, Divisional Dean of Humanities William Johnson and Senior Associate Dean in the Pratt School of Engineering George Truskey discussed the APT process. This workshop covered topics including the different stages of the tenure and promotion review process; components of the dossier such as how to prepare dossiers in a thorough, rigorous and fair way; and issues and questions that commonly come up during the dossier construction, evaluation and review. Additionally, this workshop discussed the impact of COVID-19 on research plans and progress and issues of equity and bias to be mindful of and ways to mitigate them.

Confronting Systemic Racism as an Academic Leader

October 8, 2020

Academic leaders have a critical role to play in addressing systemic racism and fostering an inclusive and equitable work environment. Through personal commitment, education, equitable policies, and targeted investments, leaders can enhance academic excellence by creating environments that reduce - rather than perpetuate - racial disparities.

In this interactive session Professor and Senior Associate Dean Ashleigh Shelby Rosette of the Fuqua School of Business led the discussion on strategies and skills that academic leaders can lean on to address systemic racism and inequities in their departments and programs, including:

  • Understanding systemic racism 
  • Engaging in conversations about race and racism
  • Minimizing barriers that foster anti-racist behavior

Systemic Racism and Its Impact on Creating a Diverse Faculty in Higher Education

September 25, 2020

This talk explored what systemic racism is and how it works in American society to normalize and render invisible the highly consequential workings of anti-black racism today. Participants focused on how systemic racism distorts the processes, experiences and core features of the academic community including: the academic pipeline, playing field, hiring, the ways of thinking, evaluating and mentoring deeply shaping our faculty composition and outcomes. How can we develop a process that generates diverse faculty? What role should a systemic analysis play in shaping diversity efforts in higher education?

Leading through a Crisis: Transforming a Challenge into an Opportunity for Significant Change

September 21, 2020

Leading during extremely challenging circumstances - such as the current climate where programs are facing unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19 and the on-going national reckoning with racism, particularly anti-Black racism, that has impacted higher education – presents challenges but also opportunities.  When major challenges occur they engender fear, but they can also shake loose some embedded assumptions and traditions and can thus provide an opportunity to overcome inertia and improve normal organizational practices and effect systemic change. Participants in this workshop learned how to acknowledge the challenge and overcome key obstacles to addressing it by building trust, fostering a focus on solving problems including an openness to radical change and promoting a culture of shared leadership where colleagues become partners and co-leaders.

Engaging With Students Around Race and Racism (View Recording)

August 28, 2020

Recent events will require conversations with undergraduate and graduate students about race and racism within your department, discipline, and institution. These conversations are likely to be challenging and tense. Do you have the knowledge and information you need to effectively initiate and lead these conversations? How can you engage productively with students who are angry, disappointed, and frustrated with the slow pace of progress? What language and tools can you use to demonstrate genuine commitment to change without raising unrealistic expectations? How can you empower students to focus on ambitious and achievable goals for your department? How can you serve as a bridge between students and faculty colleagues who are overwhelmed by or skeptical of student concerns? What curricular and programmatic steps can you take in the short and long terms to drive positive and sustainable change in your academic unit?