What is Academic Leadership?

There are few terms as used and abused as leadership. After all, who doesn't want to work for good leaders or themselves be that good leader with whom others yearn to work. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of academics and practitioners espouse divergent theories of what leadership is and should be. Lofty statements about one's own leadership philosophy are just so much talk unless they are supported by evidence. Thus to me, leadership is an act.

I was fortunate to train with the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) while at FHSU, and their curriculum taught me a core concept of leadership that makes the basis for my approach: that leadership is an act more than a position. Leadership is what we do and every precedent that leads to it. Our orientations, the choices we make, the values we hold all contribute to our decisions to act, and those actions are how we demonstrate our leadership. In a large organization like a university, it is easy to believe that there are other people willing and ready to do the hard work. But to lead, we must act. And we must not rely on titles exclusively as the impetus and justification to act. As the KLC teaches, any person can engage in the act of leadership from any position within an organization. To be ready to act when the time comes, people need guidance in becoming well-informed, having a perspective, and being confident in the ability to act. To me, in an administrative capacity, encouraging and empowering people to be ready to act as a leader when their time comes is one of the most important things I can do to contribute to an organization.

Academic leadership thus means building relationships with colleagues and students that create trust in me. If I can earn their trust through regular communication, listening, and follow-through, I can inspire them to have the self-confidence to prepare and act when their time to lead arrives.

From a technical perspective, one of the most effective methods of measuring an individual's leadership contribution is committee participation. In shared governance environments committees do high-level work and represent significant elements of a university's strategic and tactical plan. I have served on - and led - a wide range of departmental and university committees from the rank and file as well as the chair.


The University of West Georgia employs an annual employee satisfaction survey known as EngageWest. The EngageWest process surveys staff and faculty across the campus to determine attitudes and perceptions of leadership and strategic direction for the university. All department chairs are reviewed in the EngageWest process. I am proud to be rated by faculty and staff of my department highly, and competitively with other chairs on the UWG campus. In core leadership areas including working with faculty on personal development, confidence in my leadership ability, recognition of outstanding work, vision, sincerity, and communication I rate highly among departmental faculty in all areas.

Summary scores for Chapman Rackaway are below, with my 2018 scores in blue, 2019 scores in grey, and corresponding UWG scores for all department chairs are in orange and yellow.

University Service


  • Convener, UWG Chair's Council. April 2019-Present
  • Chair, American Democracy Project Strategic Planning Committee. October 2017-May 2019
  • Member, Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged Campus Designation Team. April 2018-Present.
  • Director of Assessment Search Committee Member, January 2018-April 2018
  • General Education Assessment Committee Member, March 2018-May 2019
  • Research Fellow, College of Social Sciences Survey Research Center. December 2017-Present.
  • Chair, College of Social Sciences Survey Research Center Director Search Committee, Fall 2017.


Student Learning and Curriculum

  • Liberal Education Committee. Chair. August 2015-June 2016.
  • UNIV 101 Redevelopment Committee. Member. August 2015-Present.
  • Student Success and Engagement Committee. Member. August 2015-Present.
  • Global Learning Committee. Member. August 2015-Present.
  • Experiential Learning Committee. Member. August 2015-Present.
  • Academic Advising Committee. Member. August 2015-Present.

Assessment and Improvement

● Member, Liberal Education Committee. August 2015-Present.

Lead Writer, FHSU AQIP Systems Portfolio, 2014 Cycle.

Lead Writer, Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged Classification Re-Application. 2014 Cycle

● Member, AQIP Systems Portfolio Development Team. January 2013 to Present.

● Member, Council for Institutional Effectiveness. August 2007-Present.

● Member, AQIP Systems Portfolio Development Team. January 2009 to August 2009.

● Academic Quality Improvement Project (AQIP) System Portfolio Reviewer. Spring 2005 to Present.

● Member, AQIP Quality Champions. Fort Hays State University. August 2003 to Present.

Strategic Planning

● Member, FHSU General Education Revision Task Force. January 2014-January 2015.

● Member, FHSU Media Dissemination Task Force. February to May 2013.

● Member, FHSU Red Balloon Steering Committee. December 2012 to August 2014.

Member, FHSU Mission Review Task Force. Spring 2011 to December 2012.

● Member, FHSU Academic Assessment and Review Committee. Fall 2007 to August 2015.

● Planning Committee, “Preserving the Future of Rural Schools and Communities on the Plains: A Regional Rural Symposium.” April 2005.

● Member, Council for Institutional Effectiveness. Fort Hays State University. Winter 2004.

● Member, Assessment Steering Committee. Fort Hays State University. Winter 2004.

Docking Institute of Public Affairs

Senior Policy Fellow. January 2013 to Present. Hosted public television political affairs programming, assisted in securing funding from grantors and sponsors, consultation on Kansas Speaks and other surveys.

● Survey Consultant, Kansas Regents University Political Attitudes Survey of Students. August 2010-2012.

● Advisor, Kansas Speaks. Helped Docking Institute design survey instrument for annual statewide poll. June 2009-Present

● Member, Docking Institute for Public Affairs Research Scientist Search Committee, Summer 2006-Spring 2007.

● Member, Docking Institute for Public Affairs Assistant Director Search Committee, Summer 2005.

● Policy Fellow, Docking Institute for Public Affairs. Fort Hays State University, Hays KS. Winter 2004-December 2012. Hosted television roundtable for Kansas legislature, created opinion polling instruments for surveys, and assisted in the efforts of the institute.

Faculty Senate

Chair, Strategic Planning and Improvement Committee. 2013-2015

Chair, Bylaws and Standing Rules Committee. 2012-2013.

President. FHSU Faculty Senate. 2011-2012 Academic Year

● President-Elect. FHSU Faculty Senate. 2010-2011 Academic Year.

Chair, Faculty Evaluation of Administration Task Force. Spring 2009.

Chair, Student Evaluation of Instruction Revision Task Force. Fall 2009

Chair, University Marketing and Strategic Academic Partnerships Committee. Academic Years 2008-2009 and 2009-2010.


Chair, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Quality Improvement Search Committee. May-October 2016.

Chair, Graduate School Administrative Specialist Search Committee. August -September 2016.

Chair, Graduate School Degree Analyst Search Committee. July -August 2016.

● Member, Dean of College of Science, Technology, and Mathematics Search Committee. April-August 2016.

● Member, Instructional Designer Search Committee. Fall 2015.

● Member, Department of Justice Studies Tenure Track Faculty Search Committee. Fall 2011-Spring 2012.

● Member, Justice Studies Department Faculty Search Committee, Academic Year 2010-2011.

● Member, CTELT Graphic Design and Animation Specialist Search Committee. Spring 2011.

● Chair, CTELT Graphic Design and Animation Specialist Search Committee. Fall 2010.

● Member, Director of Residential Life Search Committee, Summer 2005.

● Member, Wiest Hall Director Search Committee, Summer 2006.

Tenure and Promotion

● Member, Institute of Advanced Technology Tenure Committee. 2013-2014.

● Member, Department of Political Science Tenure Committee. 2013-2014.

Chair, University Promotion Committee. 2014-2015.

● Member, University Promotion Committee. 2013-2014

● Member, Department of Advanced Education Programs Tenure Committee. 2012-2013 Academic Year.

● Member, Department of Advanced Education Programs Tenure Committee. 2011-2012 Academic Year.

Chair, University Tenure Committee. 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 Academic Years.

● Member, University Tenure Committee. 2008-2009 Academic Year.

Awards and Honors

● Member, Torch Award Committee. Spring 2012.

● Member, Torch Award Committee. Spring 2011.

Civic Engagement

● Faculty Coordinator, eCitizenship. ADP-sponsored online civic engagement effort. Fall 2009-Fall 2014.

● Faculty Coordinator, Talking Democracy. ADP-sponsored Public affairs program on KFHS-TV. Fall 2009 to August 2015.

● Member, American Democracy Project Steering Committee. Fall 2008 to Present.

Campus Coordinator, American Democracy Project. Summer 2005 to Summer 2008.

● Director, Times Talk. A weekly brownbag forum of discussion, as part of the Fort Hays State University New York Times Readership Program. September 2004 to May 2008.

● Member, American Democracy Project Visioning Team. Fort Hays State University. August 2003 to Present.


● Member, Faculty Development Committee. Fort Hays State University. August 2003 to May 2006.


● Member, Instructional Design and Technology Integration Committee. Fall 2010-Spring 2012.

● Member, Mediated Classroom Redesign Taskforce. Fall 2010 to Spring 2012.


● President, FHSU Faculty Research Association. Fall 2006 to Spring 2009.

● Member, FHSU Research Environment Committee. Fall 2006 to Fall 2010.