Section 9: Duties of Department Chairs

A. General Principles

Deans of schools, chairs of departments, and directors of programs are appointed by the administration of the College and the Board of Trustees. With regard to the selection and duties of chairs of departments, the College subscribes to the 1966 AAUP Joint Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities (see Appendix B):

The chair or head of a department, excluding Deans, who serves as the chief representative of the department within an institution, should be selected either by departmental election or by appointment following consultation with members of the department and of related departments; appointments should normally be in conformity with department members' judgment. The chair or department head should not have tenure in office; tenure as a faculty member is a matter of separate right. The chair or head should serve for a period of three years but without prejudice to reelection or to reappointment by procedures which involve appropriate faculty consultation. Deviations of up to twoyears from this term length can be arranged with the provost following appropriate faculty consultation and should be stated in writing. (2/2010) Board, administration, and faculty should all bear in mind that the department chair or head has a special obligation to build a department strong in scholarship and teaching capacity.

Where feasible, departments should give serious consideration to a rotational plan for the chair among the tenured members of the department. (03/01) Chairs assume the responsibilities of departmental governance consistent with the principle that they serve as a chairs of a staff of scholars involved in a common discipline. They are responsible for the general administration and supervision of matters relating to their departments. As administrative officers of their departments, they are directly responsible to the Provost and are expected to provide leadership in the effective planning and management of the personnel, curriculum, budget and overall quality standards of their departments. As scholars, they are expected to participate in scholarly activities pertinent to their disciplines.

The above statements also apply to the selection and duties of deans of schools and directors of programs.

B. Intra-Departmental Relations

The various chairs shall call regular departmental meetings (at least three a semester) and should encourage free discussion of policies and problems of the department. They shall confer with departments on their departmental budgets, the revision of course listings, the revision of course contents, the scheduling of courses, and the securing of supplementary teaching materials, such as audio-visual aids. The chair is respoinsible for the maintenance, inventory, and protection of equipment and supplies purchased by the department. (4/00) They shall confer with their individual department members on such matters as the courses they will teach and their scheduling and the selection of textbooks and laboratory manuals. They are responsible for counseling with new members on procedures and duties. The chairs shall make necessary arrangements for substitutes when faculty members cannot meet their classes. They shall arrange for equitable work loads for their staffs, taking into account each member's contributions in research, consulting, scholarly publication, committee activity, and pertinent off-campus activities. They shall encourage research or other scholarly activity, suggest ways for improvement in teaching, evaluate departmental work, promote experimental programs, and assume general responsibility for the welfare and morale of the department.

The chairs are responsible for developing a strong library collection to undergird the teaching and research in their departments. Library orders submitted by individual members of a department should be approved by a designated member or committee of the department, and in general the departmental policy on library acquisitions should be consonant with the procedures outlined in Appendix E.

C. Advising of Majors

The chairs of departments or designated members of the departmental staff shall advise students majoring in the department on choice of courses (including approved electives) and shall check degree plans of students majoring in their departments to assure that all degree requirements are being met. The chair's approval is needed on any non-Centenary program added to the degree plan, such as plans for summer school courses, study abroad, or supplementary programs.

D. Personnel Changes

In consultation with the other members of the department, the chair will submit written recommendations to the Provost and the Faculty Personnel Council on any personnel changes including promotions, load adjustments, retirements, release, leaves of absence, and new positions.

E. Faculty Recruitment

The need for each position, whether a new or a replacement position, shall be established by the Provost in consultation with the appropriate departments and the Faculty Personnel Council. After the need for the position has been established and approved by the President, the search will proceed as follows:

Full-time Faculty

  1. With the exception provided for in the case of endowed chairs (see Section 8), the recruitment of faculty will be conducted by a search committee composed of (a) all tenured and tenure-track members of the department; and (b) one supplemental tenured faculty member from outside the department. The committee will elect its own chair. This committee will include the diversity advocate selected by the FCC in consultation with the Diversity Committee. The diversity advocate will serve as a non-voting member of the search committee, and will assist the search committee by actively recruiting minority applicants, contacting organizations geared toward minority applicants, and contacting graduate programs to seek out applicants pursuing advanced degrees. If the resulting search committee would be composed of fewer than three voting members, their numbers will be supplemented by other tenured faculty to form a committee of at least three members. All supplemental member(s) will be selected by the department chair in consultation with the other members of the department and the Provost (who may consult the Faculty Personnel Council).
  2. The search for new faculty members should begin as soon as possible in order to maintain the best pool of applicants from which to choose. Special attention should be given to publication deadlines for professional journals. Except in extraordinary cases, the search should begin no later than October 1.
  3. With the help of the diversity advocate, the search committee should obtain a large and diverse pool of applicants in a variety of ways, using the following phrase in all of its advertisements: “Centenary College recognizes that diversity is essential to its goal of providing an educational environment where students explore the unfamiliar, invent new approaches to understanding, and connect their work and lives to the world at large. We thus welcome applicants who would add to the college’s diversity of ideas, beliefs, experiences, and cultural backgrounds. EOE.” Potential recruiting activities include, but are not limited to the following: advertising in professional publications (e.g. the Chronicle of Higher Education, Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook) and appropriate e-mail lists, contacting a variety of graduate schools and deans, and publicizing vacancies at conventions and professional meetings. Vacancies for full-time faculty will be advertised nationally. Advertisements for positions will be drafted by the chair of the search committee in consultation with the other members of the committee and forwarded to the Provost and Faculty Personnel Council for approval prior to submission for publication.
  4. After a pool of applicants has been secured, the search committee will select a group of the best qualified applicants for the vacancy. After contacting the references of those initially selected to establish their qualifications for the position, the search committee will normally invite the top three applicants to be interviewed. Validated transcripts will be requested from these finalists prior to their interview and must be on file prior to the making of any offer. Before applicants arrive, information should be sent to them about the department(s) involved, the College, and the city.
  5. A representative of the search committee, in consultation with the Provost and the diversity advocate, will make arrangements for the candidates while they are on campus. Candidates must be interviewed by the President, and Provost, in addition to the search committee. Candidates should have a scheduled meeting with the diversity committee while on campus, whenever possible. All candidates should teach, when possible, a class before an audience of students and faculty in order that their teaching ability can be evaluated firsthand. In addition, each candidate should make a presentation covering a scholarly interest.
  6. After the finalists have been interviewed, the search committee will forward its recommendation to the Provost. The Provost will forward the recommendations to the President who will make the final decision on the appointment.

Part-Time Faculty

Part-time faculty are recruited by the department chair in consultation with all full-time members of the department and the Provost. Prospective part-time faculty must submit a vita, references and validated transcripts to the Provost and Faculty Personnel Council. After the Committee has reviewed the recommendation of the department chair and supporting material, it will determine whether a presentation and/or interview are required. Prospective part-time faculty are not normally required to be interviewed by the Provost or President. The recommendations of the department and Faculty Personnel Council will be communicated to the Provost for action.

F. Teaching Load

In consultation with the Provost, the chair's own teaching load may be limited in order that responsibilities of administration may be properly carried out. Chaired professors shall ordinarily be provided with released time appropriate to their positions and duties assigned.

G. Annual Reports

The chair of each department shall submit an annual written report no later than January 24 to the Provost. The provost's office will make the annual report available to the Personnel Committee. The report is for the previous academic year and should contain the following:

  1. a commentary of the state of the department;
  2. evaluations of every member of the department, both full-time and part-time;
  3. recommendations for merit raises, promotions, and tenure.

Last updated May 20, 2011.

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