Valdosta State University participates in National Communication Association’s leadership event

NCA Chairs Summer Institute - Courtesy of @NatComm

VALDOSTA – Thirty college and university department chairs from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C. in June at the National Communication Association’s (NCA) Chairs’ Summer Institute (CSI). The event focused on the challenges of assessment and accountability in the contemporary college and university setting, with an emphasis on how communication department chairs can provide leadership in meeting those challenges.

“Addressing the theme of Accountability and Assessment in the 21st Century University, NCA’s bi-annual Chairs’ Summer Institute in 2015 allowed department chairs from across the country the chance to gather and discuss some of the most pressing issues in higher education,” said Trevor Parry-Giles, NCA’s director of academic and professional affairs. “From budget cuts to assessment demands, the chairs discussed many of the most salient topics in colleges and universities; they returned to their home campuses better equipped to lead their colleagues and to guide their students.”

Valdosta State University’s Carl Cates, associate dean of the College of the Arts, attended the conference as a presenter alongside the University of Dayton’s Jon Hess. Their discussion, titled Serving the Community: Assessing the Role of Service to the Discipline, Department, College, & University, looked to assess faculty members’ service to the campus and community.

“The department chair is possibly the most important role at the university,” Hess remarked. “Chairs not only provide leadership for the department, they are also the connection between students, faculty, and administration. They have a wide range of responsibilities – scheduling, operations, personnel, conflict resolution, strategic planning, hiring, facilities, and more – yet few faculty have any formal training for this work. The NCA Chairs Summer Institute gives both new and experienced chairs an opportunity both to learn some specific skills and also to think strategically about larger questions.”

As former chair of the Communication Arts program at VSU, Cates’ role at CSI was to help foster those conversations.

“CSI is one of the best conferences to attend as a department chair,” Cates noted. “There is broad range of experience here that makes each session engaging and thought provoking. We’re all here to make our respective universities better, and the connections made as CSI give attendees the ability to walk away better leaders in their universities and better connected to their peers in the field. It’s a win-win.”

CSI has hosted nearly 100 communication department chairs since its inception in 2012 for discussions regarding successful department and disciplinary leadership. The event takes place every other year in Washington, D.C.

(Image comes courtesy of NCA’s Twitter page, @NatComm.  Article by Kelly Naranja.)