#TESOL17 Panel Presentation: New Boss, New Roles, New Rules: IEP Administrators Talk Shop

This year at #TESOL17, I’m thrilled to be hosting a panel presentation geared for those in new(er) administrative roles. I’ll be joined by my colleagues Kathy Larson from DuPaul, Rachel Kraut out of Rice University,  Colin Large at Boston University, Elisa Hunt at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and Fred Griffiths at Oklahoma State University. This amazing group of professionals has taken the helm during some interesting times in our industry – whether external hires, internal appointments, or interims – and the discussion promises to be an insightful one.

Join us on Thursday, March 23 at 9:30 – 11:15 AM in room 620.


New administrators face unique challenges in their organizational roles, with the first year being a foundational experience for the individual and the team. Pulling from diverse perspectives, this lively panel discussion focuses on the key themes of establishing trust, interpersonal relationships, managing up, change management, role identity, and personal growth.


The existing literature on language program administration highlights the inadequacy of management training across the field, where often the transition to administrator is neither smooth nor natural (Rimmer, 2015). Whether an interim, internal, or external hire, new program administrators must navigate a dynamic range of situations with little support for the individual. The purpose of this discussion panel is to offer a constructive forum which highlights the critical skills and strategies administrators find themselves using during their foundational year.

This panel presentation is hosted by five program administrators serving in a diverse range of positions. Each panelist will lead an interactive discussion on his/her thematic topic with the other panel members and the audience. The panel ends with an open question and answer period for further audience participation.

The session is designed for prospective, new, or current language program administrators interested in learning about practical solutions to challenging, real world situations. The discussion is organized around the six central themes of establishing trust, interpersonal relationships, managing up, change management, role identity, and personal growth. Attendees will learn about specific strategies others have used to handle a wide range of situations commonly encountered by new program administrators, to include:

  • Discovering and interpreting unspoken group dynamics;
  • Deciding when and how to promote transparency;
  • Communicating with superiors outside of the field;
  • Recognizing the limits to changing institutional culture; and
  • Balancing one’s identity with external expectations.

The discussion concludes on a positive note with personal growth strategies the panelists have used and have found valuable in their transition. A handout with panelists’ current reading lists and go-to resources will be provided.