Marywood University Policy & Procedure Information


Department Chair Policy

Policy Statement

The Department Chair is a full-time faculty member who has a leadership role with administrative responsibilities and is accountable to the academic 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  Department Chair as well as specialized obligations unique to the unit because of its size, complexity, off campus programs, or accreditations.


  1. The following are eligible to recommend candidates for the Department Chair:
    1. faculty serving full-time in the University who are assigned to the department, except those working under a non-renewable contract;
    2. pro-rata faculty 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      Department Chair. In December of the appropriate year, the Dean will request the names of those willing to serve as candidates. Priority consideration will be given to tenured faculty.
  3. In December of the appropriate year, the Dean 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 Dean. Alternatively, the department may meet to collectively recommend a Chair to the Dean.
  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 Provost.
  7. If no faculty member receives a majority recommendation after the reconsideration, the Dean                 will recommend one person from among the candidates to the Provost.
  8. 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.
  9. The Provost appoints Department Chairs and holds the right to remove them from office with cause.

Term of Office

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


While certain duties are common to all Department Chairs, it is recognized that other responsibilities are determined by the nature and activities of the department.      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 textbook orders.

Department Faculty Affairs includes activities such as

  • providing for the ongoing orientation of new faculty;
  • recruiting and recommending appointment of faculty;
  • assigning faculty responsibilities, such as teaching, research, and non-departmental committee work;
  • evaluating faculty and staff performance;
  • initiating and/or participating in dismissal proceedings of faculty;
  • keeping faculty 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 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 to participate in professional meetings at regional, national, and international levels;
  • representing the department at meetings of learned and professional societies.

Method of Evaluation

Annually each spring, an anonymous survey will be sent out to evaluate the Chair’s performance. Participants in the evaluation process will include full-time and pro-rata faculty assigned to the department and departmental staff. All participants must have served for a minimum of one year. The Dean will provide the Chair with feedback from the survey after which they will meet to discuss it.


In cases of short-term absence, i.e. one semester or less, an acting Department Chair may be appointed by the Provost to administer departmental affairs. In cases of long-term absence, i.e. more than one semester, an acting Department Chair will normally be appointed through the same process as a full term Chair. Service as an acting Chair does not constitute a formal term of office.


All Department Chairs will receive a reduction of nine credits per academic year to perform those functions appropriate to the department, which are listed in the role description.

Given the role description for Department Chairs, the work of certain Chairs may necessitate additional compensation and/or course reductions 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 that may be peculiar to a program, e.g. number of transfer evaluations and visits with families of inquirers;
  • other factors that may affect a Department Chair 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 Department Chair.


In addition to faculty office hours, the Department Chair should be available to fulfill the administrative duties required by the role during the academic year, and should carry out summer duties as required.    





Related Policies

Related Committees


07/01/89 - Reaffirmed with publication of Faculty Manual
07/01/03 - Editorial changes made to reflect academic restructuring
07/01/05 - Introduction expanded by Vice President for Academic Affairs
10/21/21 – The President of the University approved the revisions to this University Policy as recommended by Academic Council at their 10/13/21 meeting.  These revisions included the change in the title of this University Policy from Department Chairperson Policy to the Department Chair Policy.