Department Head’s Selection, Duration of Term, and Review

  • Issuing Office: Office of the Provost
  • Issued: Adopted by the University Faculty at their meeting of 9 October 1979; revised 15 March 1983, reprinted August 1990

Policy Statement

The successful conduct of the office of department head is vital to the achievement of the purposes of the university and the professional growth of its faculty. Through the following procedures faculty may play a part in the selection of the department head and the review of his or her conduct of the office.

Each college will have a set of written guidelines detailing procedures and criteria commensurate with the broader statement of university policy detailed herein.

The review of performance described herein will not preclude any administrative review as described elsewhere in the body of academic policy.

I. Procedures to be followed in the selection of a department head.

  1. When a vacancy occurs, or is anticipated, in the headship of an academic department, the dean of the college will appoint an acting head, or otherwise assign the department’s interim executive functions, until a permanent head is selected.
  2. The dean will appoint a search committee of faculty members reflecting the department’s composition. In the typical instance no candidate for the headship will be appointed to the committee.
  3. The dean will call the first meeting of the search committee. He will give the committee its charge and will preside while the committee chooses its chairman. He will then retire from the committee.
  4. In the course of its deliberations, and before reporting to the dean, the committee will hold at least one meeting of the department’s faculty to discuss the candidates being considered
  5. The committee will recommend at least two candidates to the dean. If none of these candidates is acceptable to those officials of the university whose approval is required, the dean will appoint a new committee. The procedure will be repeated until an acceptable candidate is selected.

II. Duration:

The department head serves an indefinite term at the pleasure of the president.

III. Procedures to be followed in the review of a department head’s performance:

  1. A departmental committee will review the administrative performance of the department head at least once every four years. Such a review may be conducted at an earlier time if the dean, by his or her prerogative or in response to faculty petition, directs that it be done.
  2. The dean will appoint the review committee after consulting with the department head. The committee's membership, however, should reflect the department’s composition.
  3. The dean will call the first meeting of the review committee. He or she will charge the committee and preside while the committee chooses its chairperson. The dean will then withdraw from the committee, but will be available for consultation during its deliberations.
  4. The committee will determine its mode of operation and criteria for evaluation in conformity with individual college guidelines. However, the duration of the review process must not exceed 60 days from the day of the Committee’s first meeting; all reviews must be completed during the quarter (or semester) in which they are initiated.
  5. Before preparing its final report the committee chairperson will review the findings with the department head, taking all necessary safeguards to protect the confidentiality of its sources of information.
  6. At the conclusion of its review the committee will submit a final written report to the dean, and a copy of the report (omitting any confidential material) to the department head. This report will include a description of the committee's mode of operation and the criteria used in making its evaluation.
  7. The department head will have seven working days in which to submit to the dean any written comments on the report.
  8. The committee's report, together with the department head's comments and those of the dean, will be forwarded by the dean to the provost and to the president. Since the department head serves at the pleasure of the president, the final decision on the continuation of the appointment will be made by the president.

IV. Each dean shall conduct an annual review with each department head to cover both the progress of the individual and the department. As part of the review, the dean shall interview a representative group of senior faculty in the department, including at least half of the full professors, in order that the Dean shall have a good understanding of affairs within the department including teaching quality, research quality, professional activities, service to the University and morale.