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Information for Chairs & Program Directors

This website for academic department chairs provides guidance on many tasks, duties, policies and procedures and gives Chairs a sense of what is involved and of the timing of various activities. The goal of the Dean’s Office in putting together this website is neither to make new policies nor to add new responsibilities to the jobs of Chairs. Rather, it is to explain how such policies are carried out in practice and to offer advice on various issues.

You will find that as a Chair, you will wear many hats, but they will generally fall into two categories. You are the representative and spokesperson for the department, interacting with the Dean, alumni, parents, students, etc. on relevant departmental issues, including curriculum, personnel, and budget. You are also an administrator, expected to be familiar with established college policies, such as those in the Faculty and the Staff Handbooks and are responsible for representing the college to faculty, staff, students and other parties. Balancing these two roles is one of the more interesting aspects of being a Chair and it is our hope that this website will answer many of your questions. For simplicity of language, we simply refer to department Chairs in the text, but Program Directors will find it useful as well. To avoid repetition, we do not keep reiterating the possibility that Chairs may delegate tasks.

Statements of many of the policies of the College can be found in the Faculty Handbook and the Pathfinder. For example, the course attendance policy, the alcohol and drug policy, and the anti-discrimination policy are all included in the Pathfinder. Part Four of the Faculty Handbook concerns academic policies and procedures (including policies on such topics as academic freedom, course evaluations, and advising) while Part two includes faculty policies (such as tenure and promotion guidelines, retirement, leave policies, etc.). 

This website is very much a work in progress. We hope it will serve as a basis for improvement in academic administration and will evolve as Chairs use it.

We welcome suggestions on other materials for inclusion.