Policy Statement - 11-06 Department Chairs, Policies and Procedures for the Appointment and Review of

Policies and Procedures for the Appointment and Review of Department Chairs

(This Policy Statement supersedes 79 -18 and 89-08 and 00-09.)

This revised policy was recommended by the Academic Senate on May 12, 2011 
and approved by the President on June 20, 2011.



The department chair provides leadership in all departmental matters, including faculty and staff recruitment, retention, and evaluation; staff supervision; curriculum; coordination of external and internal reviews; budget administration; student advising; course scheduling; and faculty and staff professional development. Department chairs are expected to actively promote the following core values of academic leadership: ethics, shared governance, teamwork, collegiality, transparency, and empowerment with accountability.


1.1 The department chair serves at the pleasure of the President. The authority for the appointment and removal of a department chair is specifically delegated by the President via the Provost to the dean of the college.

1.2 A faculty member who is selected for the position of department chair must have the confidence of a majority of the department faculty and the dean of the college.


2.1 Tenured and probationary faculty members, including individuals who are on authorized leave status, are eligible to vote for recommendation of candidates for department chair. Participants in the Faculty Early Retirement and Pre-Retirement Programs are eligible to vote regardless of time base and semester of employment. Faculty members of the department who have a Management Personnel Plan (MPP) assignment and teach at least six (6) weighted teaching units (WTUs) within the department each semester during that academic year are eligible to vote.

2.2 Lecturers with three (3)-year contracts and a time-base of at least .5 (7.5 WTUs) in the department in the semester that the nominations and elections are held may vote for the purpose of recommending the department chair.

2.3 As in all personnel matters, deliberations and discussions shall be confidential.




When a chair’s term ends or there is a vacancy in the position of department chair, the dean of the college shall meet with the faculty of the department to discuss the requirements of the position (i.e., see “Functions and Responsibilities of the Department Chair” on the Faculty Affairs website) and the nomination procedures to be followed. If the department does not have an associate chair or if the associate chair intends to run for department chair, the dean shall designate a person to conduct the convening meeting.




Following the meeting with the dean, all faculty eligible to vote under 2.1 above shall elect a department chair nominating committee. An elected nominating committee shall consist of at least three (3) probationary or tenured faculty members, a majority of whom are tenured. A nominee for the position may not serve on the nominating committee. Committee members shall elect a committee chair, to be identified as the nominating committee chair.



5.1 Nomination consideration should take into account the quality and extent of leadership experience as well as the quality of teaching, scholarly and creative activities, and service.

5.2 All probationary and tenured faculty members, including the current department chair, are eligible to be nominated to serve as department chair.

5.3 The chair of the department chair nominating committee shall present nominations for department chair at an official department faculty meeting at which time an opportunity is provided for additional nominations to be made from the floor. The notice of the meeting and the agenda shall be distributed to all department faculty members at least five (5) working days prior to the department faculty meeting. The nominating committee chair shall notify the dean of the slate of nominees.


6.1 Following nominations at the department faculty meeting (see section 5.3), the nominating committee chair shall prepare the ballot, distribute the ballot to faculty members eligible to vote, and set a deadline for the return of ballots ten (10) working days from the date of ballot distribution.

6.2 The eligible department faculty members as defined in section 2.0 shall vote by secret ballot on the nominee(s) to determine who shall be recommended to the dean. A ballot shall provide faculty the opportunity to vote “recommended” or “not recommended” or abstain for each name on the slate. A blank ballot shall not be counted as a vote cast.

6.3 If a faculty member is on authorized leave, the ballot for that individual shall be sent by first class mail to the home address or to a forwarding address on file in the department office or sent via email with the return of the hard copy in a sealed envelope.

6.4 The nominating committee shall count the ballots and report the results (including the number of “recommended” and “not recommended” and “abstain” votes cast for each candidate) in writing to the department and the dean.



7.1 After meeting with all candidates who received a majority vote of “recommended” and consulting with the Provost, the dean normally shall appoint one (1) of these candidates as department chair. The designated chair shall receive an appointment letter from the dean. The dean shall also notify faculty and staff in the department with a copy to the Provost.


8.1 Special circumstances (such as failure to reach a majority vote or if none of the recommended candidates has the confidence of the dean) should be resolved by cooperative efforts of department faculty and the dean.

8.2 If the cooperative efforts do not result in the selection of a chair, the dean has the authority to declare an impasse. The dean, after consultation with the Provost, will proceed with an interim appointment while a new search process is initiated. An interim appointment normally shall not exceed one (1) year.


9.1 Under certain circumstances an external search may be warranted. After the dean consults with the Provost on the desirability and feasibility of an external search, the department may be authorized to conduct an external search for a tenure-eligible faculty member at the rank of associate or full professor who will serve as department chair.

9.2 A department chair search committee shall be elected by secret ballot by the members of the faculty eligible to vote as defined in Section 2.1. The committee shall consist of at least three (3) tenured faculty members. If there are fewer than three (3) tenured faculty members in the department, tenured faculty from other departments of related disciplines shall be elected to serve. Departments are encouraged to include an experienced department chair on the search committee.

9.3 The committee shall follow University processes and procedures for tenure-track faculty searches.

9.4 Once finalists are identified, an RTP committee composed of at least three (3) tenured associate or full professors shall review the files of the finalists and make a recommendation to the dean on the awarding of tenure. If there are fewer than three (3) tenured associate or full professors in the department, tenured faculty from other departments of related disciplines shall be elected to serve. Finalists receiving a positive recommendation for tenure shall be presented to the department for a vote as per section 9.5. 

9.5 Separate from the issue of determining whether an external candidate for a department chair position is eligible for tenure (section 9.4), all faculty members identified in section 2.0 are eligible to vote on which candidates should be recommended to the dean to serve as department chair.

9.6 The dean will then consult with the Provost regarding the selection of chair and awarding of tenure prior to making an offer.  


10.1 The term of office is three (3) years. Normally a department chair shall serve no more than two (2) consecutive terms.

10.2 Reduced workload: Department chairs who have completed two (2) or more consecutive terms without a sabbatical leave and who do not receive a competitive sabbatical leave for the year following their terms of service shall receive reassigned time in the year following their service. The reassigned time shall be equivalent to the chair’s proportional semesterly assignment and may be taken in one (1) or two (2) semesters during the year following the completion of service. This reduced workload is intended to allow for professional development.


11.1 When there are indications that a department chair does not have the confidence of the department faculty, the dean of the college may investigate. If substantial evidence of lack of confidence is found, the dean shall conduct a referendum to recall the chair. Department faculty members eligible to vote for the department chair are eligible to vote in the referendum.

11.2 Additionally, department faculty may initiate a process to recall the department chair with a written request signed by at least one-third (1/3) (rounded up to the nearest whole number) of those eligible to vote for department chair recommendations. The written request shall be submitted to the dean, who will provide a copy of the request to the department chair, and will meet with the signatories and other faculty to discuss their issues of concern. If an informal resolution of the recall request is not successful, the dean will conduct a referendum. Department faculty members eligible to vote for chair are eligible to vote in the recall.

11.3 In either case, the college office shall prepare a ballot containing the name of the department chair with two (2) choices provided:

__ Retain the department chair

__ Recall the department chair

11.4 The ballots shall be distributed to faculty following the procedures in section 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 of this policy.

11.5 The dean shall designate a committee to count the ballots and report the results in writing to the dean and to the department. If the results of the ballot show that more than fifty percent (50%) of the ballots cast by faculty members eligible to vote are marked "Recall the department chair," then the dean shall initiate the appointment of an interim chair, as identified in 12.2 of this policy. The timelines for the appointment of a department chair shall be established by the dean, in consultation with the Provost and the department faculty.



12.1 Appointment of Associate Chair(s)

Based on department size and complexity, the dean may approve the department allocation of resources for associate chair(s). The selection of associate chair(s) is the responsibility of the department chair, in consultation with the department faculty. The duties of associate chair(s) are as assigned by the department chair, but may not include the chair’s role in reappointment, tenure, and promotion (RTP) or staff evaluations. No associate chair shall succeed to the department chair position by virtue of being associate chair.

12.2 Appointment of an Interim Chair

When there is an unplanned vacancy in the position of department chair, the dean, after consultation with the Provost and the department faculty, may designate an interim appointment. The process for selecting a department chair as set forth in this policy shall be initiated within a reasonable period of time but no longer than one (1) year.

12.3 Removal of a Department Chair 

Under extraordinary circumstances, a dean may remove a department chair without faculty consultation. These extraordinary circumstances may involve issues such as department chair confidentiality, department chair misconduct, or University liability. The dean shall consult with the Provost and the Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs prior to taking any action to request resignation or to remove the department chair.


Appropriate provisions of this document shall be implemented at the dean’s request, if the department chair resigns, if the department chair is removed from office, or if a vacancy occurs for any other reason.

EFFECTIVE: June 20, 2011