Policy Title

Department Chair Policy - Appointment, Roles, Evaluation, and Compensation


Department chairs are faculty members who are appointed by the Chief Academic Officer, based upon a recommendation from the dean. Their appointment is reviewed annually based upon performance as evaluated by the dean, with feedback from faculty in the department.


Department chair appointment, roles and responsibilities, evaluation, and compensation

Policy Number:2.2.08
Effective Date:02/01/2021
Date Reviewed: 01/13/2021
Last Review Date: Oct 1 2009 12:00AM; 04/15/2021
Responsible Official: Chief Academic Officer
Responsible Office: Office of the Provost
Contact Information:

Academic Affairs

115 Tillman Hall

Rock Hill, SC 29733




1.0 Specific meanings of bold terms seen throughout this policy can be found within the University's policy definition glossary by following the link below.

1.1 http://www.winthrop.edu/policy-definitions-glossary

Department chairs are faculty members who are appointed by the Chief Academic Officer, based upon a recommendation from the dean. Their appointment is reviewed annually based upon performance as evaluated by the dean, with feedback from faculty in the department.

Roles and Responsibilities: The primary role of the department chair is to foster a quality educational program for students by creating a climate in which the faculty member can teach, engage in scholarly and creative activities, and perform effectively. Like all faculty members, Department chairs are expected to maintain professional and current competence in their academic disciplines through on-going development and by pursuing continued learning, scholarship, consulting, and public service. Expectations that are specific to different disciplines are articulated in college faculty manuals, the links for which are provided in the Guides section of this policy. In general, chairs are expected to:


  • Serve as the senior academic and administrative officer for the department
  • Provide strategic, budgetary, and operational direction for the department
  • Manage departmental activities and programs
  • Recruit, mentor, and evaluate faculty members, adjunct instructors, and administrative support personnel
  • In collaboration with program directors, support the dean in developing new and maintaining existing relationships with alumni and donors
  • Promote the program to internal and external audiences, potential students, potential donors, professional partners, and future employers
  • Develop course schedules for the department
  • Maintain program accreditation and oversee self-studies and reaccreditation
  • Teach courses in areas of expertise
  • Serve on the college dean’s council
  • Oversee curriculum development and program assessment
  • Manage the student advising process in collaboration with Student Services
  • Other duties as assigned by the dean

Chair Appointment Procedures:


  1. At the onset of a vacancy and prior to the beginning of the selection process, the dean and chief academic officer, in consultation with the department faculty, shall determine whether to solicit nominations for a new chair from among the current department faculty (internal appointment), or to advertise the position nationally.
  2. Dependent on circumstances, an interim chair may be appointed by the chief academic officer, in consultation with the dean, during a vacancy.
  3. All tenured faculty members at the rank of associate professor or higher in the department are eligible to be considered for an internal appointment or external search. Exceptions may be considered when circumstances warrant.
  4. An internal or external chair search shall be conducted through the electronic application system, and all candidates will be reviewed by a search committee. The search committee will provide up to three finalists (unranked) for the dean’s consideration after screening candidates.
  5. The dean will gain approval from the chief academic officer prior to making an offer.


Chair evaluation: Department chairs at Winthrop University participate in a variety of performance evaluation activities that are formative and summative in scope. The criteria and procedures for these evaluations are in Academic Affairs documents and in college faculty manuals, the links for which are provided in the Guides section of this policy.


Department chairs must submit annual reports using Faculty180 as the basis for annual performance evaluation by the dean. The timeframe and deadlines for chairs to submit their annual reports are established by each college. The annual report documents the chair’s activities and achievements in the four categories of faculty role for which they are accountable as faculty—Student Intellectual Development, Scholarly Activity, Professional Stewardship, and Academic Responsibility—as well as in their performance meeting the responsibilities articulated in their unit and college-level job descriptions as chairs. Deans review chair annual reports and provide a written evaluative response that addresses each of the four categories as well as performance in meeting chair responsibilities.


Deans’ offices also request survey feedback on department chair performance from faculty. This feedback shall be requested annually from faculty. The dean conferences with each chair to discuss the previous year’s performance, faculty feedback, and the chair’s goals for the next year and provides written evaluative feedback to the chair in Faculty 180.

Chair reappointment, compensation, and teaching load: Chair appointments are renewable annually upon satisfactory evaluation of performance for up to five years. At every five-year interval, assuming the chair wants to continue in the role, a more thorough review and evaluation by the dean will occur, with faculty input. Upon recommendation by the dean, and approval by the chief academic officer, the chair will continue renewable annual appointments for an additional five years.


Chairs are appointed August 1 through June 15 (10.5 months). They will receive a temporary salary adjustment for their additional responsibilities. Between May 16 and June 15, Chairs prepare and submit department annual reports, complete faculty evaluations, and participate in summer orientation and advising activities. Chair responsibilities for summer orientation and advising sometimes extend between June 16 and August 1 but should occur infrequently and be monitored closely by the dean to ensure chairs have the opportunity for renewal and other scholarly and creative activities between terms.


Department chairs typically teach six credit or contact hours a semester (fall and spring), with six credits/contact hours of reassigned time a semester. The complexity of the department will guide the dean’s decision as to whether the teaching load should be more or less than six credits or contact hours a semester. Factors considered in determining reassigned time for department chairs include a combination of the following: number of faculty and staff; multiple degree programs; high enrollment degree programs; accreditation demands; number of centers, institutes, or other academic ventures such as major grants; exceptional recruitment responsibilities; responsibility for equipment and/or physical plant, and budget complexity.  


If the department has few programs and there are no other extenuating circumstances, the chair will assume other responsibilities such as academic program director, director of a minor, or assessment coordinator. Teaching loads and associated reassigned time will be adjusted for department chairs as circumstances change (e.g., changes in number of faculty and staff, when grants expire).  For additional details, see the Faculty Reassigned Time Policy. 

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