Responsibilities of Chair (or Director) of Department (or School)

Original Policy Source APPM Section 2. Item 20.
Policy Approval Authority University Council
Primary Audience Faculty
Status Active
Effective Adoption Date 05-06-1998
Last Review Date 07-17-2002
Policy Category/Categories Faculty & Academics
Governance / Administration

A chair (or director) of a department (or school) is the chief academic and administrative officer for an academic department (or school) and is accountable directly to the dean of the college for all aspects of the operation and development of that department (or school). The chair is the spokesperson of the department in all official transactions with department members, as well as with other units of the university, and is responsible for the proper functioning of the department as an instructional, research/artistic, and public-service unit. The department chair is responsible, in consultation with appropriate departmental faculty committees, for developing and administering operating policies and practices for the department which are effective and consistent with college and university provisions; for making budget, curricular, and personnel recommendations (in accordance with applicable university bylaws), for managing all the resources assigned to the department; for defining the department's scope, mission, and objectives within institutional guidelines, and within the resources available; and for assuring and, whenever possible, improving the department's capacity to carry out its mission and accomplish its objectives with distinction. The quality of departmental leadership can be measured by such factors as:

  1. the strength of the faculty attracted and retained;
  2. the quality of the department's academic program;
  3. the enthusiasm of faculty and students for the department's program;
  4. the quality of representation concerning the mission and needs of the department which is provided to units and agencies outside of the department;
  5. the level and degree of effective cooperation which is provided to units and agencies outside the department;
  6. the handling of departmental affairs so as to maximize the time and effort faculty can devote to their professional activities--teaching, scholarship, academic counseling, and public service;
  7. the maintenance of high professional and ethical standards on the part of the department in carrying out its responsibilities;
  8. the ability to get the department to respond with dispatch in facilitating change when necessary, without violating the rights or ignoring the responsibilities of faculty or students.

In addition, a department chair's responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following activities.

  1. budgeting and fiscal management of department resources;
  2. managing day-to-day administrative responsibilities;
  3. scheduling and providing for student advisement;
  4. supervising staff assigned to the department;
  5. assigning faculty and staff work loads:
    1. the chair has the final responsibility in assigning and scheduling work loads.
    2. in assigning work loads, the chair will be guided by any written guidelines set by the department, college, and university.
    3. each department shall have its own faculty-approved guidelines for the assignment of work loads, in their bylaws or other documents. These guidelines may provide for reconsideration of the assignment of work loads.

Approved by University Council, May 6, 1998 
Modified editorially, July 17, 2002

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