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Academic Affairs

Department Chair Duties and Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the Chair

The Chair emerges from the faculty to assume a leadership role in the department. The Chair serves as mentor to faculty colleagues and as collaborator with other college administrative officers, interprets college policy, advocates for his or her department from a perspective of the best overall interests of the College, leads faculty in important processes that shape the curriculum and have an impact on the learning of students, and effectively articulates department and college missions to internal and external constituencies. All of this is accomplished through effective communication. The Chief Academic Officer and School Deans provide support, mentoring, and, where appropriate, more formal professional development opportunities for Chairs in helping them fulfill these roles.

The responsibilities and duties of the Chair include those described below. In the performance of these duties the Chair is expected to seek the advice of departmental faculty colleagues systematically, provide for the conduct of departmental affairs in an orderly manner through department meetings and the appointment of appropriate committees, and keep department members informed of his or her actions in a timely fashion. The Chair is also expected to seek student feedback on matters of concern to those enrolled in the department's programs.

Leadership Expectations

The Chair has the responsibility for providing leadership toward the achievement of the highest possible level of excellence in the teaching, research and service activities of the department.

The Chair is expected to support the strategic goals of the college through all of the department’s programming decisions.

The Chair is expected to articulate the goals of the department, both within and without the department, articulate the department's requests in pursuit of these aims, and maintain a climate that is hospitable and encourages faculty engagement, participation, collegiality, and innovation.

The Chair is responsible for leadership in developing the department's academic programs within the mission of the College.

The Chair is responsible for informing the department of the perspectives and actions of the dean and other administrators that might affect the department.


The Chair is responsible for aiding in curriculum development and insuring that all levels of curriculum review in light of the College and departmental learning goals are met.

The Chair adheres to the principles of academic governance, especially the collaborative development of appropriate procedures for governance, within the department (e.g. policies and procedures regarding promotion and tenure, policies and procedures for merit evaluations, long-range department planning, curriculum development and program review).

The Chair is responsible for guiding the Department's Strategic Planning process.

The Chair is responsible for communicating with undergraduate and graduate students in department programs in order to facilitate open communication regarding the department and curriculum.

The Chair is responsible for assisting with the active recruitment of undergraduate and graduate students by creating and maintaining a productive partnership with the admissions offices.  The Chair is responsible for the identification of scholarship recipients as arranged by the VP of Enrollment and the Director of Financial Services.

The Chair is responsible for working with the Dean of the School to establish a plan for engaging with external constituencies.

The Chair is responsible for working with the Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies regarding curriculum planning and development, enrollment and fellowship needs, and coordinating the efforts of the GPDs with the Graduate Council and the department faculty.

The Chair is responsible for working with other Chairs, Deans, and Directors to coordinate course offerings, curriculum development, and faculty hires for professional non-credit offerings, certificate programs, continuing education and summer programs, and external program offerings such as the Los Angeles Center.

The Chair is responsible for promoting the selection and retention of outstanding and diverse faculty and staff. This includes both full- and part-time faculty in both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as those teaching in non-credit and certificate offerings and those teaching in continuing education and summer programs.

The Chair is responsible for ensuring the promotion of the College’s vision of Inclusive Excellence.

The Chair should be receptive to questions, complaints, grievances and suggestions from the members of the department, both academic and staff personnel, and from students. The Chair has the responsibility to take appropriate actions as required and in accordance with the policies and rules of the College.

The Chair is expected to present independent analysis regarding recommendations for all faculty and staff appointments, re-appointments, and promotions; leaves of absence; travel authorizations, and other relevant department personnel functions. In this capacity, Chairs evaluate the job performance of faculty and staff and make recommendations for all department employees as required by College policy.

The Chair is expected to work with individual faculty members to develop and implement plans for teaching, research/creative work, and service. This "development dialogue" should be formative and provide an opportunity and encouragement for faculty members to participate in the college’s faculty mentoring program.

The Chair is encouraged to maintain his or her own professional development both within the appropriate discipline area as well as in higher education administration.

Administrative Responsibilities

The Chair is responsible for implementing College policy and rules within the department.

The Chair is responsible for preparing and proposing budget requests, establishing expenditure priorities, and fairly and equitably administering the department budget, subject to the policies established by the dean, the CAO, and the CFO and for articulating the relationship between the budget and the department's strategic plan.

The Chair is responsible for recommending equipment and supplies for purchase, projecting space and equipment needs for the department and exercising general responsibility for departmental facilities and equipment in accordance with College policy and campus rules and regulations

The Chair is responsible for establishing teaching schedules in consultation with the faculty, appropriate deans, and Academic Affairs and assigning faculty to meet the needs of the curriculum.

The Chair is responsible for supervising the attendance, time commitments and work assignments of department faculty and staff.

The Chair is responsible for submitting accurate copy for all official College publications by established deadlines.

The Chair is responsible for the management and maintenance of all departmental records, and preparation of reports in accordance with College procedures.