Faculty Handbook Section

Role of the Chair

Departmental Organization

  • Organize instruction (course assignment, course scheduling) and develop instruction (new courses, teaching effectiveness) within the department for the academic year;
  • Ensure that the College's policy on final examination scheduling is followed by faculty;³
  • Hold regular monthly departmental/program meetings, the minutes of which are sent to the Dean;
  • Discuss with candidates the criteria for tenure and promotion; under teaching effectiveness include the candidate's policies and standards on grading, homework, and examination/papers;
  • Prepare description and evaluation of departmental/program curricula for the Educational Policies Board or appropriate School committee;
  • Consult in a spirit of cooperation with departmental/program members on matters of their own practice and of general departmental interest. (For the chairperson’s procedure when a department member is being reviewed by the Rank and Tenure Committee, see Rank and Tenure Procedures, section;
  • Submit department/program budget proposals and exercise control over expenditures in the approved budget;
  • Recruit new faculty members, maintain records and complete such reports on applicants as are required by the Human Resources office;
  • Review the performance of adjunct and visiting faculty and lecturers, based on criteria to be established by the Dean of the School, which may include classroom visitations and the general student questionnaire.

Rank and Tenure Review

It is the responsibility of the chairperson to:

  • Familiarize himself/herself with and follow the procedures of the Rank and Tenure Committee as these pertain to the chairperson;
  • Maintain a current file for each member of the department with relevant material of candidates for rank and tenure review; keep informed on candidates subject to interim review, those eligible for tenure, and those eligible for promotion; collect appropriate materials to be presented to ranked members of the department to assist them in their evaluation of the candidates;
  • Be responsible for the timely placement of the departmental forms in the candidate's rank and tenure file and of the formal letter from the chairperson for candidates subject to interim review, and of any appropriate letters of recommendations on candidates (see Rank and Tenure Procedures, section;
  • Review student evaluations of the candidates, especially the opinions of departmental majors;
  • Make written departmental rank and tenure recommendations on candidates, in consultation with ranked members; report objectively any recom¬mend¬ations of ranked members which are different from those of the chairperson, submitting those directly to the Rank and Tenure Committee; share and discuss these written recommendations with the candidate prior to submitting them to the Rank and Tenure Committee;
  • Submit appropriate written class visitation evaluations from the candidate's departmental file to the candidate's rank and tenure file.

Teaching Effectiveness

Class visitation of departmental members:

  • For faculty moving toward tenure, a minimum of two classroom visits per term, at least one by the department/program chairperson, is expected
  • Faculty being considered for promotion must be visited by the chairperson.

Written evaluation of class visitation:

  • The visitor is required to submit a written evaluation of the visit to the faculty member and then to consult about the evaluation with him/her. A copy of the evaluation is to be placed in the departmental file.

Student evaluation questionnaire:

  • Discuss with and make recommendations to departmental faculty concerns student evaluation questionnaires which provide a perspective of teaching effectiveness which complements peer evaluation.
  • Hear and ascertain the validity of complaints that may be received from members of the department or from students who are taking courses in the department /program.


  • To recommend to the Dean, as appropriate, the reappointment or non-appointment of departmental/program faculty;
  • To call departmental/program meetings and to establish departmental/program committees;
  • To assign courses and schedule courses of instructors in the spirit of cooperation with them;
  • To initiate procedures deemed necessary for the good of the department/program (e.g., for the dismissal of an instructor);
  • To visit classes and to delegate tenured members of the department/program to do so; class visitations (day and time) are with the instructor's permission;
  • To exercise the power of veto over departmental/program decisions;
  • Limitations on the chairperson's authority: major changes (e.g. personnel policies, major requirements, composition of the major, interdisciplinary requirements) may be undertaken only with the approval of the Dean and others if necessary.

³The items in italics provide information to answer the questions on the SMC Chair and Program Director quiz.