The Chair Orientation Program was successfully initiated in the 2008-09 AY combining self-directed learning, relationship development, and coaching/mentoring to orient new School of Medicine (SOM) department chairs to the institution and their roles as leaders within the larger academic health center community. Tremendous positive feedback about the program coupled with the Office of Faculty Affairs transitioning from a SOM office to an institutional office allowed us to adapt the program to accommodate all senior level academic leadership across the campus, thereby generating a new title of the LEADER Program (Leadership Excellence in Academia through Development, Enrichment and Resources) in AY 2013-14.
The LEADER Program provides a vehicle to quickly familiarize new chairs and academic leaders to UMMC, offers resources relevant to developing successful leaders, and affords one-on-one development and guidance to the new chair or academic leader during his/her first 90 days. One major component of this program is the introduction of the chair or academic leader to key UMMC leaders and administrators. This introduction is made via face-to-face meeting (requested by the LEADER Program participant) giving the UMMC leader the opportunity to present his/her office or department, his/her body of work and to give the new chair or academic leader an overview of how he/she fits into the larger UMMC community. This program also offers regular meetings with both a transition mentor and a content mentor.
The transition mentor, currently the Chief Faculty Affairs Officer (Dr. Patrick Smith), meets with the new leader on a biweekly basis for the first 90 days and covers topics such as the UMMC Strategic Plan and Financial Update, Succession Planning, Faculty Talent Reviews, Appointment Process, Talent Assessment (Staff and Faculty), Advocating for Resources and Leadership in a Culture of Change. After the initial 90 days, the Transition Mentor and the leader decide if and at what frequency their meetings should continue. Many leaders chose to continue these sessions for well over a year if only on a monthly or quarterly basis.
The content mentor, on the other hand, is a colleague who can offer specialized guidance and insights and is paired with the leader because of their similar positional/ leadership roles. The content mentor and the leader determine both frequency and content of their meetings.