Department Chair Leadership

Department chairs are essential to the advancement of the education, patient care, and research missions of the medical school. Their leadership drives the overall success of each basic science and clinical department. In recognition of the demanding and central role they play, a series of programs have been created to support new and experienced department chairs. These programs exist to:

  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of the department chair;
  • Enable chairs to lead and manage their departments successfully;
  • Foster networking, information and resource sharing, interpersonal support, and problem-solving through peer and group mentoring; and
  • Provide personal and professional development experiences

Department Chair Leadership Series

The Department Chair Leadership Series is a quarterly meeting that serves as a forum to discuss “hot” topics and policies, exchange ideas, provide peer mentoring, and explore leadership topics. Department chairs will also benefit from peer mentoring at the Annual Provost Academic Leadership Retreat with chairs from across the University. The dates for the 2020-21 academic year are:

  • Wednesday, September 9, 2020 from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
  •  Wednesday, January 13, 2021 from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
  •  Wednesday, May 5, 2021 from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Executive Development & Coaching

Department chairs have access to personal coaching resources as a complement to leadership development programs or to address specific needs identified in the department chair 360-degree assessment. New department chairs also have the opportunity to participate in local, regional, national and society specific programs for chair and health system leader development.

Department Chair Onboarding

Weekly or bi-weekly meetings will be held over the course of a new department chair’s first 90 days with the SOM Dean and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Faculty Development. The meetings are essential in orienting chairs to their new role and the institution. They also provide a regular check-in with welcoming and supportive confidants who can advise on strategies for success and pitfalls to avoid, answer questions, and connect the new chair with key stakeholders.

Chairs are also connected with SOM and UVA Health leaders who oversee strategic, operational, and mission areas. These meetings have proven invaluable in orienting chairs to their new roles and fostering relationship building and networking. The new chair will help prioritize the topics and meeting participants.

Finally, new chairs are provided complimentary copies of books in the “chair leadership library” to include:

  • Leading Departmental Excellence by Richard Burton, MD
  • Learning to Lead in the Academic Medical Center by Jeffrey Houpt, MD, and colleagues
  • Leading: Top Skills, Attributes, and Behaviors Critical for Success by William Mallon & Kevin Grigsby (AAMC successful department chair series)
  • Recruiting: Proven Search and Hiring Practices for the Best Talent by William Mallon & Kevin Grigsby (AAMC successful department chair series)
  • Faculty Diversity: Removing the Barriers by JoAnn Moody
  • The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter by Michael Watkins​