The Chair’s role involves acting as a facilitator for the collective good of the Department and the College. In that role, Department Chairs should, in discussion with their colleagues, set goals and objectives, including short and longer-term plans that provide clarity and direction for their departments’ management and development. More specific duties are listed below.

In leading a department, effective communication is critical. You should have regular meetings—normally at least one per month during  the semester, and more often if required. The style and content of the conversations that you conduct can have a crucial impact on the culture of your department. You can help foster departmental collegiality by maintaining open communication at regular departmental meetings, circulating meeting agendas in advance, and setting agenda items that invite direct and respectful discussions related to departmental policies, decision-making processes, and collective vision. Throughout the academic year, you should consider leading discussions (both one-on-one and in groups)  related to:

Students and Student Learning: Establishing and maintaining a departmental commitment to high standards for students, creating an inclusive student environment, evaluating and assessing the curriculum on an ongoing basis, coordinating course offerings with challenging courses for both majors and non-majors, providing high-quality advising and mentoring of students, responding to student needs, drawing attention to College-wide initiatives on teaching and advising.

Scholarship: Encouraging department members to remain active in their fields by attending regional, national, and international conferences, presenting their research before their peers, and assisting them as needed in bringing their research to published form.

Service: Encouraging discussion among department members about College-wide  initiatives or issues and about faculty governance and service opportunities to the department and College committees.

List of specific duties of the Chair
Departmental Matters
  • Scheduling departmental meetings and setting agendas
  • Overseeing the scheduling of departmental courses, coordinating faculty teaching schedules
  • Meeting deadlines in curricular and personnel matters in accordance with the Chair’s Planning Calendar for the Academic Year (see below).
  • Delegating departmental service
  • Writing departmental annual report
  • Managing departmental budgets
  • Updating departmental information on the departmental webpage, Blackboard, and the college catalogue
  • Making recommendations to the appropriate Associate Dean about faculty office assignments
Managing Faculty
  • Mentoring departmental faculty
  • Writing Annual Reviews and conferring with the dean about them
  • Coordinating regular class visitations for tenure and promotion processes as described in the Faculty Handbook (VI.F.1 “Evaluation of Teaching”)
  • Anticipating and planning for faculty sabbaticals in consultation with the department
  • Overseeing the preparation of proposals by department colleagues for their periodic leaves and writing letters of recommendation that must accompany those proposals.
  • Contacting the Dean about prospective reappointment, tenure, and promotion cases
Students and Curriculum
  • Ensuring that annual assessment of senior projects occurs on time
  • Approving student transfer credit requests
  • Assigning advisors to concentrators
  • Certifying for the Registrar the completion of departmental concentrations and minors.
  • Determining in consultation with the department faculty departmental honors and awards for graduating concentrators.
Job Searches
  • Requesting adjunct, leave replacement, and tenure track positions
  • Leading or delegating search committees
  • Writing allocation requests
Managing Staff
  • Overseeing Administrative Office Assistant duties and writing the annual performance review
  • Overseeing technicians, departmental staff assistants,  and non-faculty teaching staff.

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