Policy on Selection, Appointment, and Review of Department Chairs
and Equivalent Unit Directors
#S00-145 (formerly #S87-145)
Rationale: Because department chairs and equivalent unit directors (hereafter department chairs or
chairs) are faculty members with administrative duties who function as intermediaries between faculty
and administrators, this policy seeks to clarify the way chairs are selected, trained, evaluated, and, if
necessary, removed, in order to best support chairs to fulfill their complex roles. The recommendation of
chairs, the responsibilities and duties of chairs, and the service of chairs at the will of the President are
governed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
1 At its meeting of April 4, 2000, the Academic Senate approved the following revised policy on selection,
2 appointment and review of department chairs and equivalent unit directors.
4 I. Principle and Definition: Administration and leadership of each academic department or equivalent
5 unit (hereafter "department") are provided by a department chair or equivalent unit/program director
6 (hereafter "chair") who is, absent extenuating circumstances, a tenured/tenure-track faculty member [at
7 the time of appointment] of the department or who may be appointed through an external selection
8 process. The chair also serves as representative and advocate for the department and its faculty within the
9 college, University, community and profession. The Collective Bargaining Agreement describes the
10 normal selection of department chairs as being from the list of tenured employees recommended by the
11 department, through the election process described below, to so serve. The chair shall normally be
12 selected internally by the faculty of the department to carry out the assigned duties and responsibilities.
13 Section 20.32 of Article 20 of the The Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that department chairs
14 shall be appointed by and shall serve at the pleasure of the President.; this policy further recommends that
15 chair’s appointment shall be made by the University President or his/her designee in Academic Affairs
16 upon the recommendation of the department faculty and college dean.
18 For purposes of selection, appointment, and review of chairs, the term "faculty" includes tenured and
19 tenure-track faculty, and instructors of record on a yearly contract excluding temporary faculty who are
20 also graduate students in the department. Departments shall tabulate votes of temporary faculty on a pro-
21 rated basis in proportion to the faculty member’s time-base appointment in the semester in which the
22 review or selection or evaluation process is initiated.
24 II. Term of Office. Department chairs will be appointed for a three-year term beginning in the fall
25 semester. There shall be an informal mid-appointment performance review in the second year to provide
26 the chair with recommendations for his/her professional development in department management. (See
27 the section on "Chair’s Mid-appointment Review.") Department chairs may be re-appointed to additional
28 terms subsequent to the normal nomination and faculty ballot process every three years, but not exceeding
29 three consecutive terms. This limit can be exceeded by mutual agreement of the department faculty and
30 the Dean.
32 III. Duties and Responsibilities. The department chair is the person most fully responsible for leading,
33 administering, and representing the department. The department chair’s duties and responsibilities include
34 but are not limited to the following four categories:
36 A. Academic Programs
38 1. To assume the leadership in the development and direction of quality academic programs.
39 2. To work with the department faculty in academic program planning and review, and curriculum
40 development and revision.
41 3. To prepare the class schedule in consultation with the department faculty or appropriate
42 department committee.
44 B. Students
46 1. To supervise advising, provide information, sign documents and petitions, and otherwise facilitate
47 resolution of administrative difficulties students may encounter.
48 2. To promote department activities (programs, competitions, awards, professional organizations,
49 clubs) and recruit potential majors/minors.
50 3. To be available to receive students' comments and suggestions about courses, instructors, and
52 4. To attempt resolution of complaints, differences, or grievances between students and faculty.
54 C. Faculty
56 1. To encourage collegial and full participation of all members of the department in recognition that
57 governance of departments is a joint and cooperative endeavor.
58 2. To participate in the faculty personnel processes for hiring, retention, tenure, and promotion with
59 the tenured members of the department, and other faculty matters within existing trustee policy,
60 the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and University and college policies.
61 3. To make an independent recommendation regarding hiring, retention, tenure and promotion after
62 reviewing recommendations from the department's elected HRT/P committee.
63 4. To perform the evaluation and recommend the appointment or reappointment of temporary
64 faculty either after receiving department peer review committee recommendation or upon
65 delegation by the voting members of the department in accordance with Academic Senate policy
66 and the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
67 5. To provide leadership at the department level in the implementation of the University's
68 affirmative action policy.
69 6. To promote the professional development of the faculty.
70 7. To establish, after consultation with the faculty, appropriate departmental committees.
71 8. To support and administer teaching, service and scholarly activities of the faculty.
73 D. Administrative Responsibilities
75 1. To convey pertinent information to, from and within the department. To present issues which
76 have potential impact on the department. To invite and respond to comments and suggestions of
77 faculty and staff.
78 2. To represent the department within the college, University, community, and profession.
79 3. To work with the college dean on management of resources, including the establishment of
80 enrollment targets, allocation of faculty positions, and all budget matters; to organize and
81 supervise department expenditures; to monitor departmental compliance with university
82 regulations and deadlines.
83 4. To hire and supervise department staff.
85 A department may establish additional charges to the chair’s duties and responsibilities specific to
86 departmental needs.
89 IV. Selection of Chairs. The chair is appointed by the University President or the presidential designee in
90 Academic Affairs upon the recommendation of the department and the appropriate dean. The nomination
91 and selection process shall be as follows:
93 Nomination & Ballot => Dean’s Report => Presidential (or Designee’s) Decision Appointment
95 A. Nomination and Ballot. No later than the third week in the spring semester of the third year, the
96 Office of Academic Affairs shall inform, via the office of the college dean, the incumbent current
97 department chair of the expiration of the that chair’s term. The incumbent department chair shall
98 call a department meeting to establish elect by secret ballot an ad hoc faculty committee of at
99 least three full-time faculty for the selection of chair (hereafter "Committee") to take charge of the
100 chair’s selection and balloting process. All department faculty shall be notified of this election
101 meeting. Upon recommendation of the department and in consultation with the college dean,
102 faculty from a related discipline may serve on the Committee if there is are insufficient faculty
103 members within the department. The Committee shall conduct a secret ballot election to
104 determine the department recommendation of the chair. Excluding those Faculty who are in the
105 early retirement program, and those tenure-track (probationary) faculty whose employment will
106 be terminated in their terminal year are not eligible for nomination to serve as chair. All tenured
107 and tenure-track faculty can be nominated or make self-nomination for consideration to become
108 the chair (must be tenured by time of service in order to be appointed as chair). Nominees for
109 chair are encouraged to submit a personal statement.
111 Department procedures shall include a provision for provide pro-rated voting by secret ballot. The
112 results of this ballot, in a form determined by the department faculty, including a record of those
113 who voted, will be forwarded to the dean as part of the report. The results may include numerical
114 counts to the nearest number to protect the confidentiality of part-time faculty votes.
116 The Committee shall schedule a meeting between the chair-elect and the department faculty on
117 the duties and responsibilities of the chair-elect in departmental management. The Committee
118 shall report the result of the selection process to the department, and the department shall make a
119 recommendation recommend their candidate to the Dean, including the name of the chair-elect,
120 by the sixth week of the spring semester.
122 B. Dean’s Report and President’s Decision. When the dean supports the department recommendation,
123 he/she may the dean shall meet with the chair-elect recommended candidate prior to making and make a
124 recommendation for appointment to the University President via the Office of Academic Affairs by the
125 ninth week of the semester. The University President or the presidential designee appoints the chair in
126 consultation with the Office of Academic Affairs by the twelfth week. At the conclusion of the process, If
127 the President agrees with the recommendation of the department and the Dean, the President will appoint
128 the recommended candidate as the new department chair and the candidate will be considered the in-
129 coming chair. The University President or the Provost notifies the Office of Academic Affairs by the
130 twelfth week of the semester.
132 If the dean does not support the departmental recommendation, the dean shall convene a meeting of the
133 department faculty with at least a majority of the department faculty present to discuss its
134 recommendation and the dean’s objection. All department faculty must be notified of this meeting at least
135 one week prior to the meeting. After During this meeting, the department faculty members present and the
136 college dean shall reach a mutual agreement either 1) to process the original departmental
137 recommendation, or 2) to establish another departmental nomination and faculty ballot process for an
138 alternative recommendation reinstitute another departmental nomination process. If the disagreement
139 persists, the dean and the department faculty shall seek mediation from the Office of Academic Affairs. If
140 no resolution is achieved through this process, the dean shall forward the department's recommendation
141 and his/her statement of non-support to the University President via the Office of Academic Affairs. It
142 will then be the responsibility of the University President or the presidential designee to work with the
143 dean and the department faculty in order to obtain a mutually acceptable solution.
145 If the University President or his/her designee disagrees with the recommendation of both the department
146 and the dean, he/she shall meet with the department faculty and the dean to discuss his/her objection. If
147 the disagreement cannot be resolved, the department will re-institute the selection procedure in order to
148 provide an alternative recommendation until an acceptable candidate is identified.
150 C. Chair Transition. When a new chair is appointed approved, the incumbent out-going chair shall
151 facilitate the chair-elect’s in-coming chair’s smooth transition in departmental management. The
152 Committee shall schedule a meeting between the chair and the department faculty on the duties and
153 responsibilities of the chair in departmental management. Additional training for the in-coming chair may
154 begin during this time.
156 V. Chair’s Mid-appointment Review Third Semester Progress Report. The purpose of the review this
157 report is to provide department faculty, staff and students the opportunity to assess the performance of
158 provide constructive feedback to the chair at mid-term in the third semester of service, so that the
159 department faculty may give the chair may be given recommendations for development and improvement.
160 This review This report, in a format to be established by the department, shall be based on the
161 aforementioned four categories of chair’s "duties and responsibilities" and other stated department
164 Chair’s Third Semester Progress Report: By no later than the third week of the spring fall semester in the
165 second year of the chair’s term, the department faculty shall meet to elect a Chair Review Progress Report
166 Committee of at least three faculty members. Prior to soliciting the material for the report, the chair may
167 provide the department faculty a self-statement summarizing the chair’s activities and accomplishments,
168 if they so choose. Information from staff, students, and the dean may be included in the report at the
169 option of the department chair. The Chair Review Committee will solicit information and
170 recommendations from generate and provide appropriate chair feedback forms to all departmental faculty,
171 staff, students, and the college dean/equivalent, as desired by the department chair. the chair, and others
172 as deemed appropriate. The data may include evaluations by individual faculty and staff, the chair's self-
173 evaluation, and any other pertinent information collected during the review. The committee will
174 summarize and aggregate these data and any other pertinent information. Anonymous comments shall not
175 be included. The Chair Review Progress Report Committee will give the chair and the department faculty
176 a copy of the summary report, and subsequently will call a department meeting to discuss the report and
177 its recommendation with the chair and the department faculty prior to submitting the report to the dean
178 and the University President by no later than the seventh week of the spring semester no later than the
179 tenth week of the fall semester. The progress report will neither leave the department nor be placed in the
180 chair’s personnel file unless the chair so chooses.
182 Special Review. A special review of a chair is a formal process available to the department faculty, when
183 the chair fails to agree with the informal approach or address deficiencies highlighted in the mid-term
184 review to bring improvement in his/her performance.
185 Upon recommendation to the dean by a majority of the faculty in a department with pro-rating of
186 temporary faculty votes, and after a full department meeting, the Office of Academic Affairs, in
187 consultation with the University President, may initiate a special review of the chair. The review criteria
188 should follow the aforementioned four categories of duties and responsibilities and/or other specific
189 departmental criteria. Academic Affairs or its designee shall supervise this special review. The
190 department faculty will decide either: 1) to identify area(s) in which the incumbent chair must agree to
191 improve his/her performance; or 2) to recommend removal of the incumbent chair by a secret faculty
192 ballot process if there is a two-thirds majority supporting such an action. The department, at any time,
193 may withdraw the request for a special review. In the case of removal, a departmental ad hoc faculty
194 committee will commence, at the conclusion of the special review, the chair’s selection process to select a
195 new chair. (See section "Selection of Chairs.")
197 VI. Removal of a department chair. Removal of a department chair before the conclusion of a term of
198 service may be done by the President or designee. Chairs serve at the pleasure of the president, and a
199 chair may be removed by the president or her/his designee at will; any such decision shall be made in
200 consultation among the president/designee, the appropriate dean, and the department faculty. Should the
201 removal happen, the college dean will notify the department of the necessity to begin the chair selection
204 The faculty of the department may request the chair be removed by an affirmative vote of at least three-
205 fourths of the entire department faculty. After taking such a vote, the faculty must meet with the
206 appropriate dean and the department chair to discuss their concerns about the chair’s performance of
209 If as a result of this discussion it is determined that a remedy short of termination is possible and has a
210 high likelihood of success, a specific plan to address the concerns will be prepared by the dean and
211 presented to the department and the Provost.
213 When sufficient progress is made on the plan, and after consultation with the department faculty and the
214 dean, the Provost may determine that the department chair can administer his/her assigned program in a
215 satisfactory manner and the departmental chair appointment will continue.
217 If the plan does not achieve the specified results, the department may recommend to the dean that the
218 department chair appointment be terminated immediately. The termination of the departmental chair
219 appointment for any reason does not affect the underlying faculty status.
221 VII. Acting Chairs. In the event that it is necessary to appoint an acting chair, he/she shall be appointed
222 by the University President or the Provost his/her designee in the Office of Academic Affairs, upon
223 recommendation by a secret ballot vote of the faculty of the department and in consultation with the
224 college dean. The acting chair can be appointed internally (from within the department) or externally
225 (from outside the department or university). (In this situation, follow the process for the "External
226 Selection of Chair.")
228 The position of acting chair has all the duties and responsibilities of a department chair.
230 Acting chairs are temporary appointments. Acting chairs will not serve more than two consecutive
231 semesters, except in very unusual circumstances in which the appointment as acting chair could
232 be extended for a maximum of two additional semesters, by the agreement of the department in
233 consultation with the dean. The normal selection process for a department chair shall begin as soon as
234 possible after the appointment of an acting chair. (See section "Selection of Chairs.")
236 An acting chair shall be appointed as a department chair only if he/she is tenured or tenure-track faculty in
237 the department and is recommended by the department at the conclusion of the normal selection
238 procedures for a department chair. Time served as an acting chair does not count as part of the three-year
239 term of a department chair.
241 VIII. External Selection of a Chair. A department may request an external search for a chair’s
242 appointment if there are available resources and when there is agreement among between the department
243 faculty and the college dean concerning department management and governance.
244 The president, in consultation with the department faculty and college dean, may appoint an acting chair
245 from a related discipline within the university, as stipulated in the preceding section on "Acting Chairs."
247 Subject to approval of the University President, the Office of Academic Affairs Provost, and the college
248 dean, a department may conduct a formal search process, as part of the tenure-track faculty recruitment,
249 for an external candidate for a department chair. The process must be in compliance with the university
250 policy on tenure-track faculty hiring.
252 During the fourth third semester of appointment, there shall be an internal mid-term performance review a
253 Progress Report of the externally recruited department chair. (See section “Chair’s Mid-appointment
254 Review.” Third Semester Progress Report) At the end of the third year of appointment, there shall be the
255 normal chair’s selection process as stipulated in the aforementioned section on "Selection of Chairs." The
256 conclusion of the department chair’s term shall not affect the underlying faculty status.
258 IX. Time-line. The normal process for the selection and appointment of a department chair and the mid-
259 term review Third Semester Progress Report shall be conducted as follows:
261 A. Selection of Chair: Spring Semester in the third year.
263 1.Office of Academic Affairs to notify department on Chair selection. (3rd week of
265 2. Department meeting to establish ad hoc committee.
266 a. To nominate faculty for chair
267 b. To conduct faculty secret ballot
268 c. To call a meeting between faculty and chair-elect
269 d. To prepare departmental recommendation to college dean
270 3. Departmental recommendation to college dean. (6th week of semester)
271 4. College dean’s report to University President (or) resolution of disagreement, if
272 applicable. (9th week of semester)
273 5. Presidential decision if departmental recommendation is accepted by dean and University
274 President, (or) resolution of disagreement, if applicable. (12th week of semester)
276 B. Mid-term Review Third Semester Progress Report: Spring Fall semester in of the second year
277 (need to establish timeline for process)
279 1. Department meeting to establish a chair review progress report committee.
280 2. Chair progress report committee to conduct a mid-term review of chair for professional
281 development progress assessment.
282 3. Chair progress report committee to call a meeting of the department faculty, with the chair, to
283 discuss the summary of the review the progress report.
284 4. Chair progress report committee to provide review summary progress report, signed by
285 the department faculty and staff, to the college dean and University President department chair.