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Chairs Handbook

East Tennessee State University

Chair as Leader
  • Create a department vision with your faculty.
  • Develop departmental goals.
  • Encourage interfacing of programs with other academic departments.
  • Facilitate the development of research programs.
  • Mentor junior faculty and make sure they progress toward tenure and promotion. 
  • Assist faculty in meeting professional goals and, if possible, remove obstacles. 
  • Consult with faculty about plans for upcoming academic years.
  • Encourage faculty professional development.
  • Keep faculty informed about university and college operations and decisions.
  • Devise recruitment and retention plans for students.

Personal or Role Model

  • Maintain personal, professional competence in order to set a good example in teaching or research.
  • Maintain confidentiality of decisions and actions when appropriate or required by law.
  • Be accessible and listen to your faculty, staff, and students.
  • Attend commencements, university functions, and department events.
  • Be flexible.
  • Maintain a sense of humor and dont sweat the small stuff.


  • Provide leadership toward the achievement of excellence in the teaching, research and service activities of the department.
  • Encourage and motivate your faculty to be successful researchers and submit grant proposals.
  • Promote collaboration and interdisciplinary teaching and research.
  • Manage personnel problems and conflicts.


  • Create a forum in which faculty can express ideas freely, promoting healthy discussions among the departmental faculty members.
  • Initiate policies as needed within the department for discussion, approval, and implementation.
  • Maintain positive working relationships and an environment that   encourages productivity.
  • Maintain a climate that is hospitable to creativity and innovation.


  • Maintain up-to-date academic programs.
  • Take a leadership role for curriculum evaluating, planning, revising, and implementing changes.
  • See that the department's program-related goals are well articulated.
  • Coordinate the academic offerings to provide a program that is both pedagogically sound and uses available resources maximally.
  • Develop and implement specific methods of improving instruction.

University and Public Relations

  • Represent the departments faculty and the needs of the department to the dean and other administrative authorities.
  • Establish effective relationships with the non-instructional portions of the university.
  • Link the department to professionally-related relevant communities (e.g., corporations, foundations, health care facilities.) outside the University.
  • Maintain contact with alumni, working closely with the alumni.
  • Develop and nurture relationships with relevant outsiders who can produce advice and support (Advisory Committees).
  • Occupy a position of stature on and off campus.
  • Participate in the college and universitys committees and Council of Chairs.
  • Assist in gaining support and recognition for the department.
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