Role of Department Chairs

1.9  ROLE OF DEPARTMENT CHAIRS

1.9.1  Appointments, Terms, and Compensation    Chairs are nominated by their respec­tive departments by means of a majority vote. The nominee must be tenured, unless the President makes a specific exception to this general rule. The nomination requires the concurrence of the dean and the Provost, and constitutes a recommendation to the President who shall make the final decision and formal appointment.  The term of office is three years. Chairs are not usually appointed for more than two consecutive terms (six years); exceptions may be requested of the President by majority vote of the department.  Chairs receive a reduced teaching load and a salary supplement, approved annually by the Board of Visitors.  Both the release time and the salary supplement vary according to the size of the department.  Chairs are expected to ensure that essential departmental operations are carried out as needed throughout the calendar year.

1.9.2  Duties    The implementation of academic programs is vested mainly in the academic departments, and the administration of these departments is the responsibility of the chairs. Major aspects of departmental administration include providing academic leadership; presiding over department meetings; scheduling classes and assigning faculty to them; allocating department space; administering the departmental operating budget; coordinating curriculum, program, outcomes assessment, and accreditation reviews as required; reviewing and correcting departmental information in the University academic catalogs; taking the lead in recruiting, hiring (or terminating), evaluating, and rewarding the department’s faculty; recommending faculty reappointments, promotions, and tenure (see §7 and relevant appendices); and performing other duties as determined by the Dean and the chair in consultation.  As part of the shared responsibility for academic governance, faculty committees are often formed in departments to make recommendations and otherwise assist the chair and the department faculty in the conduct of business required to effectively carry out departmental administration.  The size of the department, and the nature and complexity of its administration and organization, will influence the kinds of departmental committees constituted.  Department chairs meet as a group with the dean when he/she deems it appropriate for the purpose of discussing educational issues and advising the dean on matters relevant to planning, implementation, evaluation, and improvement of the educational program.  Chairs also meet individually with the dean at least once per academic year.

1.9.3  Reporting and Evaluation    Department chairs in each college report directly to their respective college deans on all matters related to the programs of the colleges, and the deans are responsible for the annual evaluation of department chairs within their college (following procedures outlined in §§1.8.3 and 6.1). Chairs are evaluated annually, with written input from all departmental faculty members. These evaluations take place during the same period of time in the fall semester over which annual faculty evaluations are conducted (see §6.1).

1.9.4  Continuity and/or Termination of Department Chair Appointments

.1  In the event that a department chair is approved for a sabbatical or other planned leave during his or her term as chair, a temporary department chair who will serve in that capacity for the duration of the department chair’s leave may be appointed.  The temporary chair should meet the qualifications required for serving as a department chair.  The department chair nominates the temporary chair replacement, subject to the approval of the College Dean, the Provost, and the President.  The replacement chair will receive the authorized salary supplement and teaching load reduction during the chair’s period of leave, prorated to the duration of the leave period.

.2  In the event that a department chair is approved for a sabbatical or other planned leave during his or her term as chair, and the chair elects to step down as chair during the term of the sabbatical or other planned leave, a temporary department chair will serve in that capacity for the duration of the department chair’s leave. The temporary chair should meet the qualifications required for serving as a department chair.  The College Dean will request that the department nominate a person to serve as acting chair until the sabbatical or leave concludes, subject to the approval of the College Dean, the Provost, and the President.  The replacement chair will receive the authorized salary supplement and teaching load reduction during the chair’s period of leave, prorated to the duration of the leave period.

.3  A department chair may resign the appointment at any time during its duration, subject to the acceptance of the College Dean and the Provost.

.4  In the unusual event that a department chair’s performance requires that he/she be replaced before the term has expired, a department chair’s appointment may be terminated. Termination procedures may be initiated either by the faculty of the department or by the College Dean at any time during the chair’s term.  Termination is subject to the approval of the College Dean, the Provost and the President. The reasons for the Dean’s recommendation to terminate the chair’s appointment must be presented in writing to the chair. A chair wishing to contest the Dean’s recommendation may write a letter of exception to the Provost. The letter of exception is due one week after the date of the Dean’s written recommendation that the chair’s appointment be terminated. After reviewing the Dean’s recommendation and the letter of exception (if any), the Provost will render a decision on the Dean’s recommendation and will present that decision in writing with copies to the department chair and the Dean. If the Provost disagrees with the Dean’s recommendation, the review process stops. Should the Provost agree with the Dean’s recommendation, the chair may write a letter of exception to the Provost’s decision. The letter of exception to the Provost’s decision is due one week after the date of the Provost’s written recommendation supporting the Dean’s recommendation that the chair’s appointment be terminated. Before making a final determination about ending a department chair’s appointment as chair, the President will review the recommendations from the Dean and the Provost and all letters of exception from the chair before rendering a decision. The President’s decision, which is final, must be presented in writing with copies to the department chair, the Dean, and the Provost.