111.2 Role of the Academic Department Chair

Created by: Dana Trebing on 02/24/2005
Category: 1 - Academic Affairs; 10 - Organization
Originator: Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean
Current File: 111.2
Adoption Date: 02/24/2005
Reviewed for Currency: 02/24/2005
Replaces File: 111.2
Date of Origin: 09/22/1975
Classification: Faculty
In Archive? 0

111.2 Role of the Academic Department Chair


A. Background

The role of the chair of an academic department at Furman evolved over a substantial period of time, but a formal description of the position was not developed until the mid-1970s. The department chair has occupied a dual role in that he or she is the representative of his or her peers to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean and of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean to the departmental faculty (See File 000.7). The chair is also the facilitator and coordinator of departmental programs within the department and with other departments. The policy and guidelines below have been adopted to provide guidance in the numerous activities undertaken by department chairs as they now function.


B. Policy

The department chair is appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean for a three-year term and is responsible to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean for the effective operation of the department. The position of department chair is designed to facilitate the teaching of the discipline to students in the most effective manner possible utilizing the competence and the abilities of the staff and the facilities available. The chair's responsibilities are understood to encompass the department's entire operation whether some duties are delegated or not.


C. Guidelines

1. Because of the variation in size and complexity of department operations, the responsibilities described apply in varying degree to different department chairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean and department chair will agree on the relative importance of each responsibility to an individual department.

2. The department chair may delegate duties to members of the departmental faculty. However, responsibility for the proper execution of delegated duties remains with the chair.

3. The Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean will evaluate the performance of each department chair.

4. The areas of responsibility which will form the basis for each department chair's job description, in addition to teaching duties, are listed below:

Personnel: All responsibilities with respect to personnel will be discharged in accordance with the university's policies and procedures and its commitment to affirmative action.

  1. To evaluate all faculty members, full time or part time, who participate in all departmental programs, credit or noncredit.
  2. To schedule departmental assignments of faculty in accordance with program demands.
  3. To make recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean concerning matters of faculty status (promotion, tenure, salary, termination, etc.).
  4. To assist and advise faculty in the areas of professional development, research, etc.
  5. To recruit additional faculty members as the academic program requires.
  6. To provide the departmental faculty with relevant information concerning university-wide policies.
  7. To maintain appropriate levels of faculty morale.
  8. To maintain records adequate to the department's needs on all faculty.
  9. To provide opportunity within the department for faculty members to resolve difficulties with other faculty members.
  1. To supervise the activities of secretarial staff and other staff.
  2. To recommend faculty salary increases and merit raises for secretarial and other staff.
  3. To hire, train, and supervise student assistants who function as departmental staff members.
  4. To provide opportunities within the department for department staff to resolve difficulties with other members of the department.
  1. To counsel, advise, and admit students to the major.
  2. To counsel and advise majors.
  3. To maintain a system of student records for majors and graduates.
  4. To aid in the recruitment of students to the university (interviews during on-campus visits, correspondence with students applying for admission, etc.).
  5. To maintain a follow-up program for alumni majors.
  6. To aid in the career guideline and placement of majors (graduate schools, professional careers, etc.).
  7. To encourage the formation and development of student club and/or honoraries within the major.
  8. To provide opportunities within the department for students to resolve difficulties with faculty members.
  9. To provide for the recognition of academic achievement through student awards and honor programs.
  10. To aid and assist majors with respect to their interactions with other elements of the university (Appeals Committee, etc.).
  11. To supervise all departmental internship programs involving students.
  12. To formulate with the Associate Academic Dean a program for assessing effectiveness and to maintain appropriate records demonstrating assessment.


  1. To review and evaluate all departmental offerings, i.e., the major, general education requirements, and electives.
  2. To review and evaluate departmental offerings which are a part of the general education requirement.
  3. To schedule department offerings, credit and noncredit.
  4. To coordinate the scope and standards of multi-sectional courses.
  5. To plan, coordinate, and staff summer and special programs.
  6. To provide for liaison and coordination between the department and the:
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean
  • Associate Academic Dean and the Assistant Academic Dean
  • Other Department Chairs
  • Admissions and Financial Aid Offices
  • Registrar's Office
  • Director of International Education
  • Coordinator of Study Abroad Programs
  • University Store
  • Facilities Services
  • Marketing and Public Relations
  • Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer
  • Director of Planning and Institutional Research
  • Vice President for Development
  • Faculty Committees
  • Student Organizations
  • Director of Continuing Education
  • Director of the Johnson Center
  • Associate Dean for Summer Sessions
  1. To coordinate department offerings with those of other departments.
  2. To coordinate the teaching of multidisciplinary courses.
  3. To provide seminars and/or classes of special interest to the community at large.
  4. To interpret departmental programs for the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, appropriate committees, and the community at large.
  5. To coordinate liaison with:
  • Departmental alumni
  • General public
  • Local professional community
  • School teachers
  • Groups of students
  • Funding agencies
  • Professional organizations
  • Visitors
  • Other colleges and universities


  1. To provide for appropriate utilization control, and maintenance of departmental facilities.
  2. To provide for the purchase and the security of supplies.
  3. To account for and maintain all departmental equipment.
    1. To maintain a development plan to meet future departmental needs.


  1. To formulate the departmental budget.
  2. To recommend to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean the expenditures of funds for travel and professional development.
  3. To assist in generating revenue in the areas of proposals and grants.
  1. To coordinate the expenditures of funds from multiple budgets.
  2. To monitor the expenditure of funds with respect to amounts and timing.
  3. To coordinate the expenditures of the library budget with respect to amounts, areas of expenditure, and academic needs.
  4. To ensure the expenditure of grant money in the department consistent with university and departmental policy.
  5. To process and approve for payment all time cards and invoices charged to the departmental budget.