Skip to Main Content

Department Chair Appointment Policy - College of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University Northwest

Revised November 2010

All Chairs or Summer term appointments and reappointments are at the discretion of the Dean after consulting with the department.

Procedures for Appointment of Chairs

The Department Chair is an appointed position. The appointment is made by the Dean, who will consult with the department and strongly consider its’ recommendation. All tenured and tenure-track faculty, lecturers and senior lecturers are expected to participate in this process. Only tenured faculty members are eligible to serve as chair. The process used by the department to select a chair must be open and timely. The department preference must ultimately result in a secret ballot distributed to all full-time faculty members in that department by the Office of the Dean. It is rare that the Dean will not appoint or reappoint a candidate preferred by a majority of the faculty for the position of Chair, and it is reasonable to expect some explanation under such circumstances. However, in cases when opinion is closely divided, the Dean’s prerogative holds sway.

The typical term of appointment of a Chair is two to three years. Consultation with the faculty within the department in accordance with procedures described in the preceding paragraph should occur prior to the re-appointment of a Chair, or any extension of the term of service.

Annual Departmental Review of Chairs

Under normal circumstances the Dean will conduct an annual review of the Department Chair. A review will consist of a written evaluation of the Chair’s performance in research, teaching and service, with particular consideration of his/her effectiveness in the execution of the responsibilities of a Chair and may include solicited or received comments by the department faculty. It is expected that the Dean will respond to the department in the rare instance that serious concerns with the chairs leadership are expressed.

Procedures for Dismissal of Chairs

Dismissal of a chair occurs when they areis asked to leave office prior to the expiration of the negotiated term of office. Under exceptional circumstances members of the faculty within a department may collectively ask that a chair be dismissed as an expression of faculty governance through articulation of explicit reasons pertaining to questions of leadership. The annual departmental review of a chair provides one mechanism for such a request to be made to the Dean; alternatively, it may be based on a majority vote of no confidence using a confidential protocol. In such rare instances it is expected that the Dean will consult with the faculty further to ascertain the basis for the request as well as the extent of support for a change in Chair. Every effort will be taken by the Dean to resolve the underlying department issues. However, if the underlying issues are not resolved to the satisfaction of the Dean or a majority of the department, the chair will be dismissed at the Dean’s prerogative. A chair may also be dismissed or not reappointed on the Dean’s authority. Normal procedures for faculty to express their preference for appointment of a new chair should be followed as soon as possible thereafter.

Acting Chair

If reasons exist (e.g. lack of qualified faculty) that do not allow a department chair to be appointed, the Dean may appoint an Acting Chair. Eligibility for Acting Chair is the same as a Department Chair but may include someone external to the department. The Acting Chair will have the same duties as Department Chairs and undergo the same review process as a regular Chair. The Dean and department will work together to resolve the issues that prevent the appointment of a regular Chair.

Summer Administrators

The Summer Administrator is an appointed position. Summer 1 and 2 department Chairs will be selected by the department with the approval of the Dean. Any full time faculty member in the department is eligible to be a summer administrator. Summer Administrators have similar duties as a Department Chair. Summer Administrators will not undergo a review process.

Return to Table of Contents