Department Leaders Summer Institute 2019 Recap - Learn and Teach
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Department Leaders Summer Institute 2019 Recap

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The Institute’s purpose is to bring department leaders together to discuss various challenges they face in administering their departments and to share successful practices for meeting these challenges. This year’s Institute, hosted by Loyola University of Chicago, was attended by 24 individuals. An AAA Community was set up for participants to exchange ideas and informational resources. While ample time was set aside for informal discussions, the formal program elements included:

AAA plans to hold this event every other year from now on, with plans for 2021 to be announced soon. Many thanks to planning committee members Anne Grauer, Andrea Sankar, and Elizabeth Briody for their guidance, and to AAA staff members Haleema Burton, Daniel Ginsberg, Tonieh Hansford, Anne Kelsey, and Alana Mallory for providing expert logistical and facilitation support. 

Recap of the June 2019 meeting hosted by Loyola University of Chicago

Highlights from this year’s facilitated discussions include:

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion in Anthropology Departments

Dr. Willie McKether (Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, University of Toledo) facilitated a discussion about recruiting and retaining diverse faculty. He believes that a focus on faculty is important so that classroom leadership and student advising benefit from this diversity of perspectives. For faculty recruitment and retention to succeed

Innovations in Pedagogy and Career Diversity

A panel consisting of Samantha Solimeo (Veterans Administration and University of Iowa), Natalie Hanson (ZS Consulting), Rita Denny (Practica and EPIC), and Edward Davis IV (Uloño Geolinguistic Praxis) talked about their careers post-graduation, and views about how well they feel their graduate training prepared them for their careers in business, government, and the non-profit sectors. 

These four PhDs noted gaps and limitations in their formal methods training, opportunities to gain experience working on interdisciplinary teams, gaining experience communicating with non-specialized audiences, and a general “business acumen.” 

AAA can assist by collating material to incorporate into career classes, and AAA should consider providing guidelines on establishing formal partnerships and internship programs.

Student Advising and Mental Health 

Two graduate students, Sarah Morrow (University of Alabama) and Julianna Perez (Northwestern University), led a facilitated discussion along with AAA staff member Daniel Ginsberg. Highlights of this discussion included: 

AAA Support for Departments 

Ed Liebow reviewed services available through the Department Services Program, and discussed a forthcoming major fund-raising initiative that will focus on resources for pre-college activities, increasing public awareness of anthropologists’ work, and support for professional development beyond the degree. AAA Board Secretary Elizabeth Briody described a COPAA-sponsored pilot program for campus visits to increase departments’ exposure to business anthropology. Strong support was expressed by department chairs for the possibility of a workshop at the AAA Annual Meeting that would focus on better incorporating applied and practicing materials to the curriculum. 

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