Printer Friendly Version Of American Sociological Association: Chair Conference

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Conference Preliminary Agenda


August 15, 2014

8:00am - 5:15pm
Plaza AHilton San Francisco Union Square

Pre-registration and fee payment required.
Continental breakfast, and lunch included in registration.

About the Chairs Conference

New and current chairs at all types of academic institutions are invited to attend the ASA Department Chairs Conference. Topics rotate annually and may include everything from budget management to conflict resolution to the PhD job market. The Conference is held the day prior to the start of the Annual Meeting.


2014 Department Chairs Conference

Theme:  Linking a Liberal Learning Centered Sociology Major to Successful Employment Outcomes: Vision, Mission, and Implementation



The ASA Department Chairs Conference is designed to help new and continuing Department Chairs gain insights and knowledge that will help them respond to the day-to-day responsibilities of their position, as well as the broader challenges of the changing higher education landscape.   


The 2014 Chairs Conference considers the perennial question so many undergraduates (and their parents) ask: “what can you do with a major in sociology?”  Jay Howard, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Butler University will be our Opening Keynote speaker. Butler University recently received a $1,000,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment to create “Butler Advance,” a program that will help students in the humanities and social sciences “cultivate key attributes needed for professional success and the transition to careers.” Jay Howard, as a disciplinary leader in the scholarship of teaching and learning and as a central player on the leadership team developing “Butler Advance,” is uniquely prepared to speak about the complexities and potential of bringing a more explicit focus on career outcomes to the sociology major.  

Following the opening key note there will be a panel of Department Chairs discussing their program’s efforts to prepare majors for the job market.  Questions to be addressed include: How can capstone courses, employment counseling, alumni networks, and pro-seminars be shaped to serve this purpose?  How can success be measured?  What is the impact on the broad liberal learning and critical thinking goals of sociology when focus turns to specific employment outcomes?  

The conference will also include three sets of concurrent round tables addressing various challenges that Chairs confront, including topics on everything from taking on the role of Department Chair, to handling negative performance evaluations, to time management, seeking outside funding, and supporting at-risk students.  The schedule is designed to be sure that Chairs from the full range of academic institutions – from PhD-granting to BA-liberal arts – can find topics in each session that respond to their context.  

Feedback from past Department Chairs Conference participants:

Year after year, Department Chairs Conference evaluations indicate that this pre-Annual Meeting event offers a unique opportunity for sociology department leaders to talk with their counterparts in similar departments facing similar challenges, and a valued source of strategic insight and professional renewal.  

Preregistration and fee payments are required.  Chair Conference attendees must preregister for the Annual Meeting in order to register for this conference.  Fees for the Chair Conference are for Chairs of Department Affiliates and for chairs from non-Affiliate departments.  The Chair Conference fee includes all Chair Conference materials, continental breakfast and lunch.