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The Chair of an Academic Department holds a multi-dimensional position which includes responsibilities for leadership, scholarship and management within the Department and representation of the Department to the University community and to external constituencies. The Chair serves as leader, scholar, manager, mentor, role-model and change-agent and is in a vital position to assist the Department and the University in developing strategies for improving student successes and in developing curricular initiatives.

Since Department Chairs function in a dual administrative/faculty capacity, their appointment requires substantive involvement of both the Administration and the Academic Department. Except in the most unusual of circumstances, the Chair must be acceptable to both.

A Department Chair is appointed by the Chancellor after considering recommendations from the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean, and the Academic Department/Component.



A Department Chair is expected to project a vision for the Department and the University; to have innovative and creative ideas and the ability to communicate them; to inspire and support others to reach agreed-upon objectives; to represent the Department effectively to internal and external constituencies; to maintain membership and provide leadership in professional organizations; to understand and implement University and Department policies and procedures; to assist Faculty in developing their abilities as teachers and scholars; and to motivate students by demonstrating standards of excellence in teaching and scholarship.


A Department Chair should demonstrate effective teaching skills; have a proven record of significant and on-going publications and creative professional activities; remain current in the area of academic expertise; encourage and facilitate faculty research and publication and the scholarly activities of students; and be successful in identifying and obtaining funding in support of teaching and scholarship.


A Department Chair must be able to organize, prioritize and delegate; to meet deadlines and to administer the departmental budget; to evaluate and to improve departmental policies and procedures; to manage faculty workloads, conduct faculty meetings, schedule classes effectively, and supervise office staff; to evaluate and recommend faculty for promotion and tenure; and to ensure that all University and Faculty policies and procedures are followed within the Department. The Chair is responsible for managing the resources of the Department in order to maximize the learning of students and the effectiveness of faculty.  


Appointment as a Department Chair requires that the faculty member be tenured and hold the rank of full Professor. Exceptions may occur upon the recommendation of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs following consultation with the Dean and with the final approval of the Chancellor.  

Appointment Process 

A Department Chair is appointed by the Chancellor upon recommendation of the Provost/ Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs considers the recommendation of the Dean, who receives recommendations from the Academic Department.

Responsibility for initiating the process of appointing a Department Chair rests with the Dean in consultation with the Academic Department/Component. The Dean should state from the outset whether a position is available to allow consideration of external candidates. If the Dean determines that both external and internal candidates for the position of Chair should be considered, a search shall be conducted in accordance with TWU hiring practices.

The means by which departmental recommendations are secured and reviewed may vary among the Colleges and Schools. The procedure must be clearly communicated and approved by the Dean before the departmental recommending process begins. In all cases, the Dean will assume an active role in ensuring that participants in the departmental recommending process are fully informed of the procedure that will be followed.

During an unforeseen vacancy or during illness or temporary absence of a Department Chair, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs following consultation with the Dean and the Academic Department/Component may recommend appointment of an interim Chair to the Chancellor. The interim Chair serves until such time as the regularly appointed Chair assumes or reassumes the position.  

Conditions of Appointment 

As is the case with all administrative appointments, a Department Chair serves at the will of the Chancellor. Chairs normally serve throughout the 12 month calendar year and may receive a monthly stipend. Evaluation of a Chair's effectiveness will occur at least once every four years in order to determine whether the Chair may be continued in the position.

The responsibilities of each Department Chair are reviewed annually to determine the amount of time reassigned from teaching. Reassigned time is determined by such factors as number of departmental faculty, number of graduate and undergraduate degree programs, student enrollment in departmental courses, level of responsibility for departmental facilities, and special curricular needs. The Dean will recommend the level of reassigned time annually for approval by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.


Effective immediately, all new Department Chairs will be appointed by the Chancellor with the requirement that review of the Chair's effectiveness must occur at least once every four years.

All Departmental Chairs who have occupied their positions for five or more years by September 1, 2001 will be reviewed during the 2001-2002 academic year to determine eligibility for continuance as Chair.

Approved: 5/01

page last updated 1/3/2017 1:03 PM