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Roles & Responsibilities of Department Chairs & Center Directors Policy

Policy Information

Policy Number Policy Owner
7005.3 Provost/VP of Academic Affairs
Human Resource Services


  • 4.0 Policy

    The Policies of the Board of Trustees provide that chairpersons in consultation with the members of their departments are responsible to the President of the college through the Faculty Dean and Provost\VPAA for the supervision of the department personnel and programs.  They have such powers, duties and responsibilities as may be assigned by the President of the college.  Chairpersons have a dual role as teacher and administrator. They are accountable for the implementation of the college and faculty policies and procedures within the department and for the implementation of department policies and procedures consistent with those of the college and the appropriate faculty.  Chairpersons are responsible for and supervise the instructional program of the departments within the context of the mission and goals of the college and of the appropriate faculty.  They serve as spokespersons for the institutional needs of the college and the faculty to the members of the department and for the department needs to the Dean and other appropriate administrators of the college. The role of the department chairperson is one of strong, responsible academic leadership.

    1. To ensure strong academic leadership, departments should establish procedures which will assure maximum opportunity to evaluate and weigh the leadership capabilities of individual candidates for the position of department chairperson.
    2. To ensure responsible leadership, departments must (1) keep avenues of communication with the chairperson open at all times; (2) provide faculty feedback to the chairperson when desired responsibility is not being demonstrated; and (3) seek a change in departmental leadership when the chairperson is demonstratively not functioning in assigned tasks.
    3. The Dean shall meet with each chairperson at least once a year to evaluate his or her performance as chairperson.
    4. The teaching load of the chairperson shall depend upon the nature and size of the department.  The Dean and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs shall determine reductions in load on the basis of such considerations as the number of faculty in the department, number of majors, total enrollment, and the complexity of department activities, facilities, and equipment.
    5. The responsibilities of the department chairpersons continue during the summer.  Chairpersons shall be permitted to teach courses during the summer, subject to the earnings limitation rules.
    6. The many responsibilities of chairpersons make it difficult for them to maintain a full program of research or creative activity. When a chairperson has completed a full term in office:
      1. The Dean should consider a variety of ways to assist the chair to resume full scholarly or creative activity.
      2. Departments and Deans should give special consideration to requests of such persons for sabbaticals and other leaves.

    Selection of the Chairperson

    The Trustees place final responsibility for designating chairpersons in the Office of the President.  The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, after consultation with the appropriate Dean, recommends to the President the person to be appointed.  For effective operation, consultation between the Dean and the department is essential before either takes action.  Faculty holding qualified academic rank (Lecturer, Visiting, Adjunct), non-tenured faculty, and professionals are not eligible to serve as a department chair or center director. In Teacher Education, Unit Coordinators are treated as chairs. In making his/her designations, the President requires the Dean and department to have followed these procedural steps:

    1. The department shall elect at a department meeting a nominating committee.
    2. The committee shall canvass the department for nominations. It shall then meet with the Dean to present the names of all those who were nominated by their colleagues and who were willing to serve. The Dean may approve or disapprove of any names on the slate. There shall be at least two nominations for each election unless the Dean and a majority of the department agree to waive this requirement.
    3. The committee shall present to the department, prior to the meeting at which the election shall take place, a slate of the acceptable candidates resulting from the consultation with the Dean. The department shall elect its chairperson by majority vote and secret ballot from among those mutually acceptable nominations.
    4. The department shall notify the Dean of the name of the person elected. The Dean shall forward the name to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who shall submit it to the President for approval.
    5. Subsequent to his or her approval, the President shall designate in writing the elected person for an appointment of up to three years. Chairpersons may be elected for additional terms.
    6. Should the Dean and the department fail to agree on acceptable candidates, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, after consultation with the Dean and the department, shall recommend a candidate to the President.  Should the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, after said consultation, determine that the department contained no suitable candidate, he or she may recommend one of the following options to the President: an appointment from outside the department, an external search for a chairperson, or management of the department by the Dean in receivership until department elections are held again.  When a chairperson is appointed from outside the department, the term will be a period up to three years.

    Removal of the Chairperson

    Under the Policies of the Board of Trustees, the President may relieve a designee of his/her duties as chairperson, with notification to the Chancellor. If a majority of a department wishes to have its chairperson removed, it may by majority vote and secret ballot, request a meeting with the Dean. The Dean, following consultation with the department and the chairperson, may make a recommendation through the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and to the President to remove the chairperson from office.

For additional information about this policy, please contact the Policy Owner listed above.

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