Administration of Academic Units (E-10A)
Original Implementation: March 7, 1978
Last Revision: July 20, 2010
The chair/director hereafter referred to as “chair” of an academic department/division/school (hereafter referred to as “academic unit” or “unit”) is the unit’s chief executive.
Responsibilities of the Chair
The primary responsibilities of the chair are to establish and maintain a climate conducive to the pursuit of knowledge.
The decisions of the chair should be made and implemented in the context of collegiality and regular communication with the faculty.
More specifically, the administrative responsibilities of a chair include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Provide leadership in the establishment of a visionary direction and the maintenance of standards for the academic unit, consistent with college and university missions;
- Serve as the principal advocate for the unit and as an advocate for the college and university missions;
- Ensure quality through evaluation, modification and development of academic programs;
- Respond to the needs of students, faculty, administration, the public and other;
- Manage and allocate fiscal and physical resources of the unit;
- Establish, maintain and communicate effective personnel procedures and processes; and
- Promote the academic unit externally.
Selection of the Academic Unit Chair
- A search and screening committee shall be used in each search for an academic unit chair. The dean of the college shall meet with the faculty of the academic unit prior to the selection of the screening committee to discuss whether a search should be open or closed to outside candidates
- The committee shall be formed by the dean of the college in consultation with the faculty of the academic unit and with the approval of the provost and vice president for academic affairs (VPAA). The committee shall have an odd number of members, with at least five members. The committee may be larger depending on the size and complexity of the unit’s programs.
- Except in small academic units, every committee shall have representation from outside the academic unit and at least one member with appropriate administrative experience. Outside representatives shall be appointed by the dean after considering recommendations by the faculty.
- Once the size of the committee is established, the faculty shall elect its specified number of representatives to the committee. Faculty members eligible to vote shall be those on full-time contract with the university who hold faculty rank (instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor or librarian I-IV) in the academic unit. When possible, all tenure-track ranks will be represented on the committee. In all cases, the faculty shall elect a majority of the committee.
- The dean shall convene the committee for its organizational meeting; at this time the committee shall elect its chair and other officers. The committee chair shall inform the faculty of the names of the committee members.
- It is recommended that at least three candidates should be brought to campus for interviews. Each visit shall provide opportunity for the candidates to meet faculty, students, the dean of the college, the provost and VPAA, and the committee.
- Following the interviews, the committee shall invite comments from all faculty, staff and students who were involved in the campus visits. The committee shall forward a recommendation to the dean along with a summary of comments. The dean, in turn, shall forward a recommendation to the provost and VPAA that is accompanied by all previous recommendations and summaries.
- The provost and VPAA shall make the appointment for an indeterminate term, subject to approval by the president and the Board of Regents.
Evaluation of the Academic Unit Chair
The evaluation of the academic unit chairs is designed to promote academic excellence throughout the university. This process takes two forms: a triennial review by the academic unit faculty and annual review by the dean. The annual review provides the basis upon which to award merit to chairs.
- The chair shall be evaluated annually by the dean of the college and a recommendation for merit shall be forwarded to the provost and VPAA. In making an evaluation, the dean shall consider the responsibilities of the chair as stated above, while any additional criteria shall be communicated to the chairs in advance of the evaluation period.
- At least once every three years, the chair's performance shall be evaluated by the faculty of the academic unit. A summation of the faculty’s evaluations of the chair shall be included as a component of the final evaluation report. Following the faculty’s evaluation, the dean shall meet with the unit to discuss the chair’s performance.
- The evaluation of a chair may be initiated at any time by a majority of the faculty or at the call of the chair, dean, provost and VPAA, or president. Comments which may have been received relative to the chair’s performance and the advisability of retention should be carefully weighed for both the annual and triennial reviews.
- The dean shall review with the chair the results of each evaluation. A report of the evaluation and any recommendations shall be submitted to the provost and VPAA.
- The chair shall have ten (10) working days from the date of the review to submit to the provost and VPAA a written response to the dean’s report.
Merit for Academic Unit Chairs
Merit pay for chairs should be based on performance in administration, teaching, creative/scholarly activity and service. The dean shall submit a recommendation on each chair in the college to the provost and VPAA for merit consideration.
Cross Reference: Faculty Handbook, Faculty Evaluation and Merit Pay (E-20A)
Responsible for Implementation: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Contact for Revision: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Forms: Department Chair Administrative Effectiveness Appraisal