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Appendix B. Chairpersons of Academic Departments

I. Duties and Responsibilities

Recognizing the dual role a chairperson performs in the academic community, first as a member of the faculty and second as an administrator, it is understood that while the chairperson performs an essential administrative function, each of the duties and responsibilities assigned to the chairperson is carried out in a spirit of cooperation with the department faculty. The term “chairperson” as referred to in this document shall be deemed to include the equivalent administrative position in the College of Technology.

A. Department Governance:

1. Provide leadership for the department in all professional matters, including developing program plans, coordinating activities, and maintaining high-quality performance in teaching and research.

2. Conduct regular department meetings, establish department committees, represent department interests to the Administration, and when appropriate, prepare department for accreditation and evaluation.

3. Develop and maintain department policies — in consultation with faculty — related to students particularly in the area of admission to department major, approve graduation lists, supervise teaching major and minor programs, determine students’ eligibility, help direct graduate work and research in the department.

B. Curriculum and Instruction:

1. Plan curriculum in consultation with the department faculty in terms of department goals and university mission.

2. In consultation with department faculty, schedule classes, develop catalog copy, provide and coordinate teaching area with faculty experience and goals.

C. Faculty Affairs:

1. Supervise recruitment and encourage retention of faculty, assign responsibilities such as teaching and intra department committee work.

2. Supervise and evaluate faculty performance, encourage the development of faculty member’s special talents or interests, encourage good teaching in the department, facilitate and encourage faculty members’ participation in professional meetings and other professional activities.

3. Keep faculty members informed of department, college, and institutional plans and activities; encourage positive departmental climate.

D. Student Affairs:

1. Provide for student recruitment, including the preparation of department brochures and information for student recruitment.

2. Prepare advising sheets/material and supervise the advising and counseling of students; encourage student excellence.

3. Promote student professional organization and encourage faculty and student interaction.

E. College Affairs:

1. Recommend to the dean appointments, promotions, tenure, changes in salaries, leaves of absence, dismissals, or other matters affecting personnel of the department.

2. Assist in communicating the thoughts of the dean to the faculty.

3. Undertake all educational and/or administrative tasks as assigned by the dean.

F. General Duties:

Develop and administer department budget; coordinate and justify budget items; encourage faculty members to submit proposals for grants; set priorities for use of travel funds; manage department facilities and equipment; maintain essential department records including student records; supervise and evaluate the clerical staff in the department.

II. Selection and Length of Service

The intent of this section is to promote continuous faculty participation in the choice of successive appointments of the chairperson, rather than providing for automatic replacement of the individual filling that position.

A. External Appointments:

Vacancies may be filled from outside the university if a new or a replacement position is to be established, and if it appears to the Administration that in the best interests of the University and the department, the vacancy be filled from outside the University. The respective dean should consult with the full-time, continuing faculty of the department for their recommendations regarding whether the selection of a new chairperson should be filled internally, or not. In the case of a search outside the University, the procedures to be followed are:

1. The dean shall appoint a selection committee which may include all full-time, continuing faculty in a department, to serve as a committee of the whole to conduct the search for and selection of the department chairperson. This committee may choose to elect a subcommittee to screen applicants for the position.

2. The selection committee, in consultation with the appropriate dean and in cooperation with the Affirmative Action Office, will advertise the vacant position, establish an application deadline, and schedule candidate interviews.

3. After interviewing the various candidates, the committee will forward its selection of top candidates, along with input from the department to the dean. The list may include a rank ordering of at least two candidates in accordance with the preferences of the department. In exceptional cases, a single name may be submitted to the dean.

4. In the vast majority of cases, the chairperson should be a person who is mutually acceptable to the dean as well as the faculty. If the dean’s recommendation is not the same as that of the selection committee, the dean may appoint a person other than the one or ones forwarded by the committee, in which event, the dean shall explain to the faculty of the department and to the Academic Vice President the reason for his/her decision.

5. The dean shall then forward his/her recommendation to the President and Academic Vice President for their approvals and recommendations. The decision of the President will then be forwarded as the University’s recommendation to the State Board of Education for action.

6. It is recognized that, at times, unanimity or even majority opinion will be unattainable. If so, the dean’s recommendation should be consistent with the best interests of departmental harmony and productivity, and will, in any case, meet the requirements of open explanation to the faculty and Academic Vice President as set forth in #4 above.

7. The chairperson so appointed shall not have tenure as chairperson but shall report to the dean or his/her designee and serve at the pleasure of the dean with approval of the President; tenure as a faculty member is a separate matter.

B. Internal Appointments:

1. If the dean, following consultation with the full-time, continuing faculty of the department wishes to recommend to the Administration the selection of a chairperson from within the department, the dean shall ask the department to submit to him/her the names of one or more acceptable candidates from inside the department, preferably from among the senior tenured faculty.

2. Where no one internal candidate is clearly the department’s choice, the dean, to the extent practicable, shall recommend the appointment of a chairperson consistent with the best interests of departmental harmony and productivity. The chairperson so appointed shall not have tenure as chairperson, but shall report to the dean or his/her designee and serve at the pleasure of the dean with the approval of the President; tenure as a faculty member is a separate matter.

C. Term of Appointment:

1. In any selection, the initial term of office of the chairperson shall not exceed three years.

2. Ordinarily a chairperson receiving favorable evaluations from the dean and a majority of the full-time, continuing faculty of the department may be considered for reappointment to additional terms not to exceed three years each.

III. Chair Evaluation

A. Annual Evaluation:

All chairpersons shall be evaluated annually. The procedures for evaluation are:

1. Prior to April 1 of each year, the dean shall conduct an evaluation of the chairperson which shall include the opportunity for each faculty member in the department to evaluate the chairperson. The faculty member should support his/her evaluation with constructive comments. Each department shall develop its own form of evaluation of the chairperson which may include the following:

a. Effectiveness in representing the faculty, communicating with the faculty and administration of the college.

b. Effectiveness in dealing with faculty problems and student problems.

c. Effectiveness in establishing rapport with the dean and other departments.

The dean shall initiate this procedure by informing faculty of the opportunity to evaluate the chairperson.

2. Upon completion of the evaluation process, the dean shall inform the chairperson, in writing, of the result of the evaluation. The dean shall prepare a summary of the faculty evaluations and the original evidence submitted shall be placed in the chairperson’s closed file in order to preserve the confidentiality of the evaluations and the anonymity of the participants. The entire evaluation process should be completed before April 1.

B. Periodic Performance Review:

1. If during an annual evaluation, or at any other time, the performance of the chairperson is questioned in writing by one-third of the members of the faculty of a department, but no less than two, the dean must decide whether a full and complete review should be conducted based upon the criteria as set forth in III A-1 a, b and c. The performance review may be conducted by the dean, his designee, or a review committee selected by the dean to conduct the review. A report of the review shall be forwarded to the Academic Vice President and the President and shall be made available to the faculty of the affected department. The dean shall take appropriate action based upon the performance review, which may include removal of the chair prior to the end of an appointment.

2. Any decision of the dean to retain or replace a chairperson should be made in keeping with the best interests of departmental harmony and productivity consistent with the principle that the chairperson should be a person who is mutually acceptable to the dean and to the full-time, continuing faculty of the department.


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