January 17, 2012

A road map to academic leadership

New four-day course is created for grad students and postdocs

Today’s rising academic stars could be tomorrow’s deans, department chairs, center directors and provosts. They just might need a gentle push in that direction.

In an effort to provide that nudge, Johns Hopkins has developed a new intersession program to nurture the future leaders of academia and demystify the promotion process.

The four-day course, called Practicum in Higher Education Administration, is aimed at current graduate students and postdocs who want professional development and to lay the groundwork for leadership roles. It will be held from Monday, Jan. 23, through Thursday, Jan. 26, in the Hodson Hall boardroom on the Homewood campus.

Although geared toward those in Engineering and Arts and Sciences, the course will accept grad students and postdocs from other university divisions if space allows.

The program, sponsored by the Office of Graduate Affairs and Admissions, will feature many members of Johns Hopkins’ senior administration, who will share their stories of how they rose through the ranks and climbed the academic ladder, and how they have managed the nuances of their roles.

Ben Vinson, vice dean for graduate education and for centers and interdepartmental programs in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the course’s facilitator, said that the intention is to expand the horizons of graduate students and postdocs.

“We want to prepare them for careers within and outside the academy,” said Vinson, a professor of history. “The course will highlight the evolution of this career path and help participants conceive of [themselves] as something beyond being a professor or researcher.”

The four hour-and-a-half sessions will build on each other, taking participants from departmental to interdivisional leadership roles, with the last day focused on keys to directing programs and centers and chairing a committee.

The interactive seminars will help answer such questions as, How does one balance academic life with departmental administration? and What skills prepare one for becoming a dean or provost? Along the way, participants will learn about challenges for administrators, team building, communication, the value of committee membership and the rewards of leadership.

“Administration is not always seen in a positive light,” Vinson said. “But these sessions will hopefully show what these roles entail and how you can still fulfill your research or academic goals. We don’t want people to be blinded and never give themselves the chance to advance upward.”

Among the panelists are Jonathan Bagger, vice provost for graduate and postdoctoral programs; Andrew Douglas, vice dean for faculty in the Whiting School; William Egginton, chair of German and Romance Languages and Literatures in the Krieger School; Jane Guyer, chair of the Department of Anthropology in the Krieger School; Pablo Iglesias, Academic Council member and faculty in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Nicholas Jones, the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering; Barbara Landau, vice provost for faculty affairs; Ed Scheinerman, vice dean for education in the Whiting Shool; Amy Shelton, director of graduate studies for the Psychology program at Homewood; Gabrielle Spiegel, the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of History; Donald Steinwachs, director of the Health Services Research and Development Center at the Bloomberg School of Public Health; and James Yager, senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Bloomberg School.

To register for the course, email Susan Kirwan in the Registrar’s Office at skirwan1@jhu
.edu. For questions, call 410-516-2388