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Department Chairs

Policy Reference: CRR 20.110 Department Chair


(June 2019)

1.  Introduction

The following guidelines were developed to provide assistance to academic deans, chairs and the faculty and to assure consistency within UMKC for the appointment and evaluation of department chairs (and division heads).  These guidelines are intended to augment the Curators’ Collected Rules and Regulations governing Department Chairs (see CRR 20.110 Department Chair)

2.  Responsibilities

Department chairs are the chief executives and academic officers responsible for the effective and efficient administration of their academic units.  The chair is responsible for providing leadership in the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, extension and service activities of the department.  The chair is responsible to the dean and also to the faculty for conducting the fiscal, academic, and personnel affairs of the department and must manage these to make the most efficient and beneficial use of the resources available.  Examples of responsibilities that may be expected of the chair include, but are not limited to, the assignment of teaching duties, preparation of the schedule of classes, preparation of the department budget, recruitment and development of new faculty and staff members, evaluation of faculty performance, oversight of departmental property, compliance with all government and university regulations, maintenance of personnel files and other department records, and representing the department in matters of university governance.

3.  Qualifications

Individuals eligible to serve as department chair must have demonstrated by training, experience and performance that they are capable of assuming the leadership of the department.  Consistent with the importance of this position, individuals eligible for appointment are expected to meet the following qualifications:

  1. A full-time ranked faculty appointment, preferably full professor.
  2. A record of scholarship in a discipline represented within the mission of the department.
  3. Demonstrated commitment to the mission and goals of the department, the school and the university.
  4. Managerial or administrative experience is desirable.

4.  Selection and appointment

The Chair is selected by, and receives their appointment from the Dean, with the approval of the Chancellor and the Provost. Guidelines for selection of the Chair are provided in CRR 20.110B.

  1. Each academic unit should have an established policy for the eligibility of faculty to serve as department chairs and the policy should be communicated to the faculty.
  2. Send Dean’s letter of recommendation (including search committee recommendation and candidate’s qualifying strengths)  to the Provost  (c/o Faunia Tuma, 357 AC for approval prior to issuing appointment letter to candidate.
  3. The Provost (as delegated by the Chancellor) appoints department chairs after receiving a recommendation from the dean of the school.

5.  Term of appointment

The term of appointment of a department chair should be clearly indicated to the prospective chairs prior to their acceptance of the position.  No single length for an appointment term applies to all situations, however:

  1. Department chairs will normally be appointed to four-year terms, although the appointment may be for shorter periods of time in special circumstances.
  2. The chair may be reappointed for successive terms.
  3. The term of the chair may end at the discretion of the chancellor after receiving a recommendation from the dean.
  4. The responsibilities of the chair are continuous throughout the fiscal year as specified in the UM Collected Rules and Regulations.

6.  Evaluation

In accordance with the university’s personnel policies, all department chairs must undergo regular evaluations of their performance.  At a minimum, the following two guidelines apply to these evaluations.

  1. The dean will evaluate the performance of the department chair. To ensure effective management, deans are encouraged to gather input from faculty for these annual reviews.
  2. A formal review of the chair’s performance in which the dean consults with the departmental faculty must be conducted at least once during each term of appointment.  The review should occur after the completion of the first year and no later than ninety days before the end of the term.

7.  Compensation

The following guidelines are intended to provide flexibility in the compensation of department chairs and are meant to recognize the great variation among departments and the wide scope of responsibilities that may be assigned to the chairs.

  1. The position of the chair should be compensated in some manner commensurate with the responsibilities of the position.  In addition to considering the scope of responsibilities of the chair, the compensation of chairs may also reflect the size and budget of the department, the level of administrative assistance available and other factors.
  2. The department chair should ordinarily receive a special stipend (during the academic year or summer) and may also be compensated by other perquisites, such as funds to acquire assistance for his/her research program, a post-chair sabbatical, or a teaching load reduction (normally not to exceed one course per semester).