Walter H Gmelch

Walter H. Gmelch

Professor, Leadership Studies

Faculty Emeritus


Walter H. Gmelch joined the faculty of the Department of Leadership Studies after having served as the School of Education Dean for nine years. Before coming to USF, he was Dean of the College of Education at Iowa State University. He also served in the roles of dean, associate dean, department chair and professor at Washington State University.

As educator, management consultant, university administrator, and former business executive, Dr. Gmelch has conducted research and written extensively on topics of leadership, team development, conflict, and stress and time management. He has published over 100 articles, 20 books, and 200 scholarly papers in national and international journals.

During the 1990's he directed two national studies of 1,600 university department chairs in the United States, one study of 1,580 Australian department heads, another investigation of 1,000 community college chairs, and completed an international study of 2,000 academic deans in Australia and America.

As one of the leading researchers in the study of academic leaders in higher education, Dr. Gmelch has served as editor and on the editorial board of journals including Department Chair, Innovative Higher Education, Academic Leadership, and the Center for Academic Leadership Newsletter.

Dr. Gmelch has received numerous honors including a Kellog National Fellowship, the University Council for Educational Administration Distinguished professor Award, the Faculty Excellence Award for Research, and the Education Press Award of America. In addition, he served on the Danforth Leadership Program and as an Australian Research Fellow.

Research Areas

  • Academic leadership
  • Leadership in higher education
  • Team development
  • Management


  • PhD, Educational Executive Program, University of California, Santa Barbara

Prior Experience

  • Danforth Leadership Program
  • Australian Research Fellow

Awards & Distinctions

  • Former School of Education Dean

  • Kellog National Fellowship

  • University Council for Educational Administration Distinguished professor Award

  • Faculty Excellence Award for Research

  • Education Press Award of America

Selected Publications

  • Gmelch, W. H. (2012). The dean's eight compass points to navigate college collegiality. Academic Leader. Madison, WI: Magna Publications. Vol. 28, No. 8, 6-7

  • Gmelch, W. H., Hopkins, D., & Damico, S. (2011). Seasons of a Dean's Life. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC

  • Gmelch, W. H. (2011). Typology of department chairs: The case of the swivel chair. The Department Chair. (22)2, 1-3

  • Gmelch, W. H. (2011). Assisting your new dean's transition. The Department Chair. (22)1