Academic department chairs are responsible to both the VPAA (to whom they report) and the department faculty who select them.  Under their leadership, faculty and programs flourish and provide quality educational opportunities for students.


1. Selection and Appointment of Department Chair


Departments shall develop a democratic process for selecting the department chair. Each department shall submit a document outlining its procedure to the VCSU Faculty Senate, which will maintain a readily accessible file of these documents in the Content System.


The document should include eligibility for chair nomination; term/term limits; eligibility to vote; election procedure; notification to VPAA; clause regarding suspension of rules.  Please consider the following guidelines:

  1. Chair should be full-time in a continuing (tenured/tenure-track) appointment
  2. Appointments should begin June 1 following the end of the academic year; shadowing the outgoing chair during the transitional period is recommended. Early elections (January-February) are recommended so schedules can be revised to handle changing workload
  3. Outgoing chairs are responsible for all work assigned and due for the current academic year, including completion of all performance reviews and program reviews that may be due.


2. Performance Review for Department Chairs


Per VCSU constitution (Article XXI), department chairs undergo annual performance review, using the following process.  This process will allow for direct feedback from faculty and staff in the department and allow the chair to establish clear performance goals each year. 

  1. This process will be initiated by the VPAA and completed between February and April each year. Chairs whose terms are completed and who are not re-elected will not be required to complete a performance review during their final year; instead, they will include discussion of their work in the annual faculty evaluation for that year.
  2. The chair will complete the report and reflection portions of AA-51 (Department Chair performance review)
  3. The VPAA will request feedback from department faculty and staff regarding the chair’s performance, which will be included in the performance review.
  4. The VPAA will complete a summative statement with recommendations and meet with the chair to discuss the performance review.
  5. AA-51 will be filed in the chair’s personnel file in the Academic Affairs office, along with the annual faculty evaluation (AA-04 Annual Faculty Report, due in June each year). 


3. Removal of a Department Chair


In the event that the majority of faculty eligible to vote in a department wish to change chairs out of cycle with their approved procedure, they should move to hold a mid-cycle election during a department meeting, to be completed at the next department meeting.


If the department chair’s annual reviews document ongoing problems that, in the opinion of the VPAA, demonstrate a need for a change in leadership, the VPAA may also call for departmental elections mid-cycle by providing notification via email to all voting members and scheduling a department meeting for the purpose of electing a new chair at least two weeks after the notification.


Should the chair position fall vacant due to extended sick or other leave, the VPAA may appoint an interim chair until the elected chair is able to return to work or the department initiates its democratic process to select a new chair.


If no one from the department is willing/able to take the chair position, the VPAA may assign an interim chair from a different department until such point that a suitable candidate is selected via a democratic process.


4. Duties of a Department Chair


Duties of a department chair shall be listed in the performance evaluation (AA-51), and include the following areas: 

  1. Departmental leadership, planning, outcome assessment, and goal-setting
  2. Supervision of instruction, advising, and faculty workload
  3. Supervision and evaluation of administrative assistant
  4. Budget planning and management
  5. Scheduling and curriculum development and review
  6. Faculty employment, retention, assessment, and promotion
  7. Department-specific duties, which vary by department


Sponsor: Vice President for Academic Affairs

Approved: August 2016

Revised February 2022