For Academic Leaders

Teaching is learning twice.
Leading is exploring new possibilities.

People seem to believe that effective faculty members are bound to be good academic leaders. However, effective leadership requires different competencies.

Leadership poses particular challenges in the academic community, a community in which independence, critical thinking and freedom of expression are encouraged and valued. It is therefore easy to imagine the difficulties that confront academic leaders when they try to promote a single vision, common goals and a climate of collegiality. In addition to these challenges, there are the constraints associated with the complexity of the university structure, its operating procedures, and the tradition of self-governance for which it is known.

In the course of their career, professors may be called on to assume leadership positions, whether as the head of a department or faculty, as the chair or a member of any number of committees, or in scholarly endeavours, such as heading a research group or a disciplinary body. These activities are usually related to the function of service to the academic community, an integral part of the life of a professor. They are also opportunities for highly gratifying growth and personal development. These responsibilities enable individuals to contribute to the advancement of the institution, to influence its future, to promote important values, and to find fulfilment through their involvement.

As program director, department chair or vice-dean, you play a critical leadership role and carry significant influence at the University of Ottawa. You are one of uOttawa's greatest assests - you have a significant impact on the future of our University. You serve as the link between students, faculty and the dean. You can identify needs, detect potential problems and discover opportunities for your unit, your faculty and the entire institution. In the process, you can weigh-in on the orientation of objectives and programs for the collective good. And of course, you contribute to the smooth day-to-day operation of the program, the department, or the faculty and the University.

Being an academic leader also brings many challenges. To help you make the most of the position, the Centre for Academic Leadership offers workshops and services specially designed to prepare you for and to support you in your academic management role.


Workshops are on offer for faculty leaders who would like to develop or sharpen their competencies.


Tools and references for academic leaders.


Books on Academic Leadership

The Centre has a small library of books and articles on leadership as well as a multiple books on issues related to these leadership positions, e.g. conflict management, communication, and time management (see Books to borrow).


The mentoring Program at the Centre for Academic Leadership matches you with a mentor on campus, someone who is or has been in a leadership role and well-acquainted with the university structure. Mentors provide you with support, information and advice, while sharing their professional and personal skills and experiences.

360° Feedback

The 360° Feedback approach provides excellent insight into your strengths and weaknesses and can help you design a thorough professional development plan. To make sure you draw the greatest possible benefit from the 360° feedback exercise, we offer one-on-one coaching with the best industrial psychologists in Canada.

This learning opportunity, administered for the University by an industrial psychologists firm, asks the academic leader to identify some people from his work environment (supervisors, colleagues and subordinates) who will be asked to rate the leader on a series of abilities. A consultant psychologist will then meet with the leader and present the results, providing constructive clarification and reframing, focusing on the generation of development action plans.


The Centre for Academic Leadership offers a combined executive coaching and training program for senior University of Ottawa academic administrators as part of its leadership development efforts.

In coaching, academic leaders have the opportunity to work with a professional coach in private or semi-private sessions.   Professional coaches help academic leaders develop their strengths and abilities, while minimising their weaknesses and by focusing on their objectives. Academic leaders will be able to identify and discuss specific challenges and obstacles they face in their environment.  They will also have the opportunity to develop action plans, improve their work relations and find balance between achievement and personal growth.

All activities by date
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