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Faculty Handbook: Department Chairpersons

The department chairperson is a full-time faculty member who has a leadership role with administrative responsibilities and is accountable to the dean of the college in which the department is housed. Sometimes in larger units, individuals are appointed to provide leadership to departments who may be full-time administrators or who are faculty members with considerable administrative responsibilities. In such cases, the intention is that they carry out the responsibilities designated below for the chairperson as well as specialized obligations unique to the unit because of its size, complexity, off campus programs or accreditations.

Appointment

  1. The following are eligible to recommend candidates for the department chair:
    • faculty members serving full-time in the University who are assigned to the department, except those working under a non-renewable contract and
    • pro-rata faculty members who are assigned to the department, except those working under a non-renewable contract.
  2. Faculty members who are assigned full-time to the department shall be eligible for service as chairperson. In December of the appropriate year, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will request the names of those willing to be candidates.
  3. In January of the appropriate year, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will send to the department the list of candidates as determined above.
  4. Each department member will send a recommendation and reasons for the recommendation to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  5. A faculty member must be recommended by a majority of those submitting recommendations.
  6. Following the department majority recommendation, the appropriate dean will submit a recommendation and reason(s) for the recommendation to the Vice President.
  7. If no faculty member receives a majority recommendation after the reconsideration, the Vice President in consultation with the appropriate dean will recommend one person from among the candidates.
  8. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will recommend to the President of the University a candidate for chairperson of each academic department. This recommendation by faculty and dean will be accompanied by relevant documentation.
  9. If no full-time faculty member is willing to serve as chair, consideration will be given to pro-rata faculty members where appropriate. In the end, however, if departmental faculty members are not willing or able to assume the role, a temporary solution will be constructed by the administration.
  10. The President of the University appoints chairpersons and holds the right to remove them from office with cause.


Term of Office

Ordinarily, the term of office for the chairperson is three years with a maximum reappointment of two additional consecutive terms. A chairperson may be reappointed after an interim of three years.

Duties

While certain duties are common to all chairpersons, it is recognized that other responsibilities are determined by the nature and activities of the department. However, certain general areas of responsibility are discerned.

Department Governance includes activities such as

  • conducting department meetings and disseminating minutes of such meetings to appropriate faculty and administration;
  • establishing department committees;
  • developing and implementing long-range department programs, plans, goals, and policies;
  • preparing the department for accreditation and evaluation;
    monitoring library acquisitions;
  • assigning and monitoring appropriate department administrative responsibilities to individuals and committees;
  • directing the review and revision of department catalog copy and other publications;
  • maintaining department records, such as student records and course syllabi.


Instruction
includes activities such as

  • scheduling courses;
  • supervising off-campus programs;
  • developing and evaluating department programs of study;
  • monitoring the requisitioning of textbooks.


Department Faculty Affairs
includes activities such as

  • providing for the ongoing orientation of new faculty members;
  • recruiting and recommending appointment of faculty members;
  • assigning faculty responsibilities, such as teaching, research, and non-departmental committee work;
  • evaluating faculty members and staff performance;
  • initiating and/or participating in dismissal proceedings of a faculty member;
  • keeping faculty members informed of department, college, and University plans, activities, and expectations.


Student Affairs
includes activities such as

  • recruiting, selecting, and working for student retention;
  • assigning and monitoring student academic advising and counseling;
  • working with student organizations.


External Communication
includes activities such as

  • improving and maintaining the department's image;
  • initiating and maintaining liaison with external agencies and institutions.


Budget and Resources
includes activities such as

  • encouraging faculty members to submit proposals for contracts and grants;
  • preparing and administering department budgets;
  • setting priorities for use of travel funds;
  • preparing department reports;
  • managing department facilities and equipment.


Professional Development
includes activities such as

  • fostering the development of each faculty member's special talents and interests;
  • fostering good teaching;
  • stimulating faculty research and publications;
  • encouraging faculty members to participate in professional meetings at regional, national, and international levels;
  • representing the department at meetings of learned and professional societies.


Method of Evaluation

During the fall semester of the third year of a regular term of office, the appropriate dean will initiate an evaluation of the chairperson.

Participants in the evaluation process will, at least, include full-time and pro-rata faculty members assigned to the department, full-time departmental professional staff, and the academic dean of the college in which the department is housed. All participants except the academic dean must have served a minimum of one year.

Absence

In cases of short-term absence, i.e., one semester or less, an acting chairperson may be appointed by the President of the University to administer departmental affairs.

In cases of long term absence, i.e., more than one semester, an acting chairperson will normally be appointed through the same process as a full term chairperson. Service as an acting chairperson does not constitute a formal term of office.

Compensation

All chairpersons will receive a reduction of three credits per semester to perform those functions appropriate to the department, which are listed in the role description.

Given the role description for chairpersons, certain chairpersons may necessitate additional compensation due to the nature of the department. Additional compensation will be limited to a further reduction of three credits per semester and/or financial compensation. Beyond this level, it may be necessary to delegate department responsibilities to other individuals with appropriate compensation. In order to distribute equitably such compensation, the following variables may be considered:

  • accreditation requirements and reports,
  • multiple programs of study,
  • coordination of complex faculty responsibilities,
  • amount of advisement which may be peculiar to a program, e.g., number of transfer evaluations and visits with families of inquirers,
  • other factors that may affect a chairperson's responsibility such as external activities required by the program.


Normally, a review of criteria and compensation with the dean will coincide with the term of office for each chairperson. Department Heads or Administrators will typically have a larger part of their responsibilities designated for administration than do chairpersons.

Availability

In addition to faculty office hours, it is expected that a chairperson is available to fulfill the administrative duties required by his or her role.


Mary T. Gardier Paterson, Esquire | Secretary of the University | paterson@marywood.edu