University of Delaware
Policy Guide for Department Chairs and Academic Program Directors

Duties of Chairs and Academic Program Directors

These duties are intended to represent the typical obligations of every chair. Although some of the duties listed below may be assigned to other faculty members or to faculty committees, the chair is still the responsible agent.

Faculty and Personnel Development

  • Chairs are responsible for the recruitment, development, retention, and advancement of department faculty excellent in the three major areas of teaching, research/creative/scholarly activity, and service.
  • Chairs are responsible for the proper administration of faculty workloads as based on individual abilities of faculty members and department, college, and University needs. Periodic appraisal and planning of workloads and faculty development are required at least annually and must involve personal interviews with all faculty members in the department. (See Note #2)
  • Chairs are responsible for the administration of the approved procedures of peer review in the department as well as the policies and procedures of promotion and tenure reviews.  Furthermore, chairs are responsible for seeing that these policies and procedures are publicized properly within the department and, whenever necessary, updated to conform with changes in college or University policy.
  • Chairs provide advice and guidance to members of their department in all areas of their development as faculty.  As far as possible, senior members of the department assist the chair in this important task.
  • Proper administration of these responsibilities eventuates in recommendations to the dean for new appointments, reappointments, salary changes, promotions, tenure, sabbatical and other leaves of absence, nonrenewals, and terminations.
Program Development and Departmental Planning
  • Chairs are responsible for the planning and initiation of changes in the curricula (including Continuing Education and Summer/Winter curricula) of their department.
  • Chairs oversee research programs carried out under departmental auspices or involving department resources, and are responsible for encouraging an appropriate and balanced program of research among the department faculty that involves both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as postdoctoral students, wherever possible.
  • Chairs oversee service/outreach/extension programs carried out under departmental auspices or involving departmental resources, and are responsible for encouraging an appropriate and balanced program of service/outreach/extension activities among departmental faculty.
  • Chairs prepare budget requests, allocate funds, and supervise departmental expenditures.
  • Chairs work with the Director of University Libraries to enrich the collection, giving due attention to planned research and future growth of the department.
  • Chairs work with the department, the dean, and appropriate administrative offices in planning physical facilities for the department.
  • Chairs work with the department, the dean, and appropriate administrative offices in planning enrichment programs, such as lecture series and colloquia, for majors and other interested students, faculty, and members of the community.
Periodic Statement of Departmental Goals
To provide a continuing basis for development and evaluation of a department, each chair (by means of consultation with the appropriate committees within the department, or the department meeting as a committee of the whole) prepares, at least every five years, a statement concerning problems, long-range plans, and objectives.  This statement of goals includes consideration of the adequacy of physical facilities, sufficiency of monetary support, and appropriateness of departmental organization and communication.  The statement, sponsored by the department and agreed on by the dean, is submitted to the provost and the president for use as a planning document.
Organization and Communication
  • The chair holds regular department meetings as seem most appropriate within the organization of the department, and as agreed on by the chair and the faculty.
  • The chair appoints and oversees the responsibilities of any subordinate department administrator(s), such as assistant chair, chairs of standing committees, and administrative assistants.
  • The chair communicates with the department for the dean, the provost, the president and other administrative offices.
  • The chair communicates with the dean, the provost, the president and other administrative offices for the department.
  • The chair represents the department before committees, councils, and other bodies.
  • The chair orients new faculty members to departmental policies and procedures.
  • The chair is responsible for implementing affirmative action policies and providing equal employment and educational opportunity at the departmental level.
  • The chair recommends the appointment of and oversees the work of non-academic departmental staff.
  • The chair supervises the use and assignment of allocated departmental space (excluding general classrooms), facilities, equipment, and supplies, and maintains an inventory of the latter two.
  • The chair contributes to the formulation and execution of college and University policies and regulations.
  • The chair is responsible for revision of copy for the catalogs and other bulletins.
Administration of Student Development
  • The chair coordinates and makes recommendations concerning the advising of majors and the admission and advising of graduate students in the department or in special programs under department control and supervision.
  • The chair provides recommendations for student aid at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
  • The chair encourages student participation and involvement in departmental affairs.
  • The chair ensures that a balanced and appropriate offering of courses at all levels is made each term and works closely with faculty and with other administrators toward appropriate enrollments.
Personal Responsibilities
The chair makes exemplary efforts in teaching, professional development, and service. Normally, each chair has teaching duties each term and is expected to pursue research and scholarly interests in the discipline. 

Note #2:  In April 1991, the Faculty Senate recommended “that the President of the Faculty Senate receive a one-course load reduction each semester and the President-elect receive a one-course per year reduction as long as these reductions do not result in the elimination of all classroom teaching duties for the individuals in question.” 

Whether such reductions are appropriate in the context of a department's teaching needs for a given year should be discussed at the time the faculty member and chair undertake conversations about the faculty member's workload for the upcoming year. The final decision rests with the chair who may find consultation with the dean valuable when making such a judgment.

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