Chair Community of Practice


Image of row of chairs

This informal forum for academic leaders from across the university is an opportunity to share ideas, expertise, practices, and perhaps even challenges. Over a collegial glass of wine, you'll have a rare chance to talk with your peer group with the aim of making chairing a more enjoyable experience. We've scheduled the first Fridays of select months for these gatherings.

The Chairs' Community of Practice is for

  • all current department chairs 
  • all department chairs-elect
  • all program directors who have faculty reporting to them (e.g. for annual performance reviews)
  • all program directors-elect who will have faculty reporting to them (e.g. for annual performance reviews)

 2019–20 Academic Year

  • Friday, October 4 | 3:30–5:00 | Hunthausen 110 
  • Friday, November 1 | 3:30–5:00 | Hunthausen 110
  • Friday, January 10 | 3:30–5:00 | Hunthausen 100
  • Friday, March 6 | 3:30–5:00 | Pigott 108
  • Friday, April 3 | 3:30–5:00 | Gathering will be held via Zoom
  • Friday, May 1 | 3:30–5:00 | Gathering will be held via Zoom

    Encore session by popular request:
  • Wednesday, June 10 | 3:30–5:00 | Gathering will be held via Zoom

To register to attend any of the AY20 Chairs' CoP gatherings, please complete our registration form.

How does this work?

For these gatherings, we use the "Communities of Practice" model (Wenger 1998), which means you're in charge of what's discussed. You decide which topics are most important for you as chairs right now and each member of the group decides how much or how little to contribute. (For example, the model includes "legitimate peripheral participation" to acknowledge that not everyone wants to join in a discussion even when they chose to attend.)

The Center for Faculty Development's role is simply to facilitate the process for you and to provide the refreshments and appetizers. We also compile notes from each session and upload those to the Chairs' CoP Canvas site. If you are a chair or a program director with faculty reporting to you directly, you can gain access to the Canvas by emailing us at

As with other events run by the Center, this forum is voluntary, formative, and confidential.

What's in it for you?

Department chairs are dispersed across the university and we know it can be difficult to share challenges and solutions with one another without a structure. This community of practice for department chairs provides a loose structure for sharing practice, working out approaches to new challenges and—if the group wishes—to make recommendations on procedures that will improve people's work situations. These communities of practice can forge new links, particularly between schools and colleges, to positive effect.


To register to attend any of the Chairs' CoP gatherings, please complete our registration form and be sure to include any dietary restrictions you may have in your email so that we know to order sufficient refreshments.