Procedures for Evaluating Chairpersons

Faculty have the right to expect a high level of administrative performance, and the principal reason for evaluating the performance of chairpersons [and Center Directors who supervise faculty] is to help ensure that this expectation is being met at the department level. According to the Handbook (3-25), "The Chairperson serves at the pleasure of the Dean and the Department faculty," and both are to take part in his/her evaluation. The expressed purpose of the evaluation, according to the Handbook, is to study "the retention of a chairperson," but it is logical to assume that the purpose must extend beyond that. Even the most effective and conscientious administrator can improve, and another important purpose of the evaluation must surely be to facilitate that improvement.

The Handbook also outlines in the broadest terms the frequency with which and means by which such an evaluation is to be carried out: "An evaluation of the performance of the Department Chairperson will be conducted triennially by the Dean, in accord with rules and procedures prescribed and established by the Dean, based on consultation with the Chairperson and the Department faculty; and the Dean will weigh and balance the several principles cited above [on page 3-25] in his/her decision regarding the retention of the Chairperson." Moreover, should the Dean feel that a review prior to the passage of three years would be desirable, "the Dean has the authority to call for an evaluation of the performance of the Chairperson at any time the Dean believes it is necessary" (3-26). The only other thing the Handbook has to say on the subject of an evaluation not triggered by a faculty petition (on that subject, see 3-27) is that, "when there is disagreement between the Department faculty and the Dean on the retention of a chairperson, the decision-making authority on the matter rests with the President, based on the reports and recommendations of the Department faculty, Dean, and Vice President for Academic Affairs" (3-25).

What follows is a proposal, in simple outline form, for the procedures which the Handbook mandates that the Dean "prescribe and establish":


  1. The Dean will appoint and convene a Chairperson Review Committee. Insofar as possible, the composition of the Committee will be balanced for scope of curricular offerings, academic rank, gender, and race/ethnic origin. At the Dean's discretion, an elected standing committee of the Department may be used or supplemented to serve as the Chairperson Review Committee.
  2. The Dean will communicate with the department faculty, informing them of the membership of the Review Committee and the evaluation procedures.
  3. Using the core questionnaire as a basis and after considering additional questions proposed by the Review Committee and the Chairperson, the Dean will construct and distribute to the faculty the questionnaire to be used in the evaluation. Ordinarily only regular, full-time faculty will participate in the review, all of whom must be given the opportunity to do so.
  4. The Review Committee will receive the questionnaires and prepare a written report which offers a detailed assessment of the Chairperson's performance. The report will be submitted to the Dean, together with the questionnaires, a tabulation of the questionnaire results, and any other pertinent materials.
  5. The Dean will meet with the Review Committee about the report and will meet with the Chairperson to discuss his/her performance as viewed by both the Review Committee and the Dean.
  6. The Dean will report his/her recommendations to faculty in the Department and to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

    This set of procedures is designed to maximize involvement of faculty in the review process by guaranteeing them the opportunity to respond individually through the questionnaire and collectively through the Chairperson Review Committee. The purpose of this evaluation is to provide feedback from a variety of perspectives, and does not preclude any other departmental evaluation of the Chairperson's performance.

November, 1988

December, 1996

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