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Chairs Handbook

East Tennessee State University

Chair as Manager
The management responsibility of an academic department chair is very complex, requiring numerous skills and knowledge--many unlike those of a professor. The chair performs regular day-to-day functions for the effective and efficient operation of the department, and contributes to the attainment of department, college, and university goals. The chair must have organizational skills, accounting skills, interpersonal skills, and political skills.

Department Management

  • Prepare agenda for, convene, and chair departmental meetings.
  • Provide liaison, information, and reports to other departments, committees, administrative offices, accrediting organizations, and other groups.
  • Develop committees for major issues and concerns.
  • Oversee and submit requested reports in a timely manner.
  • Prepare for a large volume of reports.
  • Follow regulations and guidelines as needed.
  • Implement administrative policies.
  • Support and implement the Planning and Institutional Effectiveness (PIE) procedure.
  • Adhere to SACS standards.
  • Maintain department continuity.
  • Ensure the department Web site is well-maintained, updated as needed, and user-friendly.
  • Supervise the inventory of departmental assets.
  • Be familiar with procedures and policies regarding time sheets, leaves, faculty/staff development, etc.
  • Delegate duties and responsibilities to faculty or staff where possible.
  • Inform student workers or other personnel about FERPA and have those individuals sign confidentiality forms.
  • Report to the dean, or appropriate administrators, any problems that cannot be expeditiously resolved at the departmental level.
  • Study all of the available policies/procedures and do not assume verbal information is correct or accurate.

Office Management

  • Coordinate support staff activities.
  • Supervise and annually evaluate support staff.
  • Provide or coordinate clerical support.
  • Arrange for and assign space.
  • Develop or maintain a system of records.
  • Manage or delegate the work-study program within the department.


  • Coordinate curriculum development and ensure that all changes follow university procedures and policies.
  • Establish and evaluate student learning outcomes for each program offered by the department.
  • Periodically review the course inventory for programs and recommend inactivation of courses not currently offered.
  • Maintain files on curriculum and other matters related to the department.
  • Coordinate the maintenance and use of instructional facilities, instructional equipment, and any specialized facilities.
  • Appropriately schedule courses to facilitate graduation and fulfillment of requirements and submit department course schedules to Registrar.
  • Review and update printed materials such as the catalogs and brochures.
  • Organize periodic departmental or accreditation reviews.
  • Participate in program evaluation.


  • Prepare the department budget request.
  • Involve the faculty and staff in planning.
  • Allocate funds equitably with consideration of the goals of the department, college, and university.
  • Monitor and administer the department budget.
  • Be familiar with and follow the procedures established by the Business Office.
  • Be responsible and accountable for fiscal management of all accounts.


  • Establish workloads and prepare teaching schedules and assignments.
  • Adjust teaching loads in a flexible, productive manner.
  • Ensure that individuals who teach graduate level courses (including 4xx7/5xx7 courses) have current graduate faculty status.
  • Recruit and hire faculty members who complement the departments mission and who meet the SACS Faculty Competence Standard.
  • Make a special effort to recruit and mentor minority faculty.
  • Facilitate early application for graduate faculty status for new hires.
  • Maintain faculty files.
  • Be familiar with policies in the Faculty Handbook, particularly those pertaining to tenure and promotion.
  • Make recommendations regarding matters of faculty tenure, promotion, salary, etc.
  • Consider Non-instructional Assignments when requested.
  • Approve grant or contract applications of your faculty.
  • Evaluate faculty annually and help faculty develop professional development plans.
  • Hire, evaluate, and supervise part-time and non-tenure track faculty.
  • Recommend, if needed, disciplinary action or non-renewal contracts of faculty and staff in accordance with university policy.


  • Develop and implement or maintain an advising process for students.
  • Guarantee availability of advisement personnel during off-peak times, especially during summer.
  • Respond to student requests or complaints. 
  • Provide letters of recommendations or post-graduate assistance.
  • Ensure appropriate hiring, supervision and evaluation of graduate student assistants, tuition scholars, and student workers.
  • Engage students, when appropriate, in departmental matters.
  • Encourage students to engage in co-curricular activities.
  • Monitor dissertation and thesis management of faculty so students can graduate in a reasonable time.
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