312.245 - Appointment, Duties, and Responsibilities of Department Chairs

UCSC:APO:CAPM rev 11/17

Authority for the appointment of department chairs with total compensation below the UC Salary Threshold is delegated to the divisional deans. This includes the authority to make appointments to the titles of Acting and Interim Department Chair. The dean will consult with all ladder faculty of the department or the committee before making the appointment. The chairs report to the divisional dean but are ultimately responsible, through the dean, to the campus provost/executive vice chancellor (CP/EVC).

All department chairs, including acting and interim appointees, shall be a member of the Academic Senate with tenure or security of employment.

The period of appointment is normally between three to five years, with possibility of reappointment.

For appointment, continuation of appointment, and reappointment, the candidate or appointee to the titles of Department Chair, Acting Department Chair, or Interim Department Chair:

  1. Must not have been found in violation of the UC and/or UCSC Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment policies within the last 10 years; and
  2. Must not have been disciplined for violating the Faculty Code of Conduct (APM 015) within the last 10 years (discipline includes a negotiated settlement agreement to resolve the matter). [¹]

Department chairs serve at the discretion of the dean. However, if either of the conditions in subsection i) or ii) above are not satisfied, the dean shall terminate the appointment. Termination of a department chair appointment does not terminate the underlying faculty appointment.


A department chair is a faculty member who serves as the academic leader and administrative head of a department of instruction or research. The chair is expected to maintain a collegial environment which will promote professional development of the faculty and promote optimal career patterns. The chair should be especially sensitive to the needs of an increasingly diverse faculty, especially assistant professors. Further, the chair is expected to be committed to and enforce the policies that promote the fulfillment of the Campus Principles of Community.

The chair formally represents the department in its dealings or communication with the administration of the university. The chair participates in regular meetings with the dean and other chairs, and contributes to the divisional planning efforts.

  • 1. As leader of the department, the chair:
    1. Is in charge of planning the programs of the department in teaching, research and other functions. The chair is responsible for unit level planning and the development and implementation of unit initiatives; and is expected to keep the department's curriculum under review and to plan changes in form, content and structure. The chair shall exercise general oversight of the research activities of the department. The chair will promote and maintain a climate conducive to learning, hospitable to creativity, and open to innovation.
    2. Is responsible for maintaining a departmental affirmative action program for faculty and staff, consistent with university affirmative action policies.
    3. Is responsible for the recruitment, selection, and evaluation of faculty of the department; in consultation with colleagues, recommends all personnel actions—appointments, promotions, appraisals, merit advances, and terminations; is informed of, and makes recommendations in accordance with, the criteria and procedures stated in the Academic Personnel Manual,  Campus Academic Personnel Manual, and/or the appropriate memorandum of understanding; and is expected to inform colleagues of those same criteria and procedures.
    4. Is responsible for the selection, appointment, performance evaluation, and recommendation of merit increases for department staff, in accordance with university policies and procedures and/or the appropriate memorandum of understanding applicable to the employee.
    5. Is receptive to questions, complaints, and suggestions from faculty, from staff, and from students associated with the department and should take action as necessary or report to other administrative persons as appropriate.
  • 2. Administrative duties, to which special assignments and duties may be added from time to time by the CP/EVC or the dean, include the following:
    1. Make teaching assignments in accordance with the policy described in Regulation #750 of the Academic Senate Manual. Make other faculty assignments as required for the orderly functioning of the department.
    2. Assign duties to the staff and supervise staff performance.
    3. With assistance of the department manager, and in accordance with the approved curriculum, prepare course schedules including time and place of class meetings.
    4. Establish and supervise procedures for compliance with Regulation #546 of the Academic Senate Manual with respect to special study courses, e.g., 98, 99, 197, 199, 298, 299 or any similar independent or group study courses.
    5. Make arrangements and duty assignments for academic counseling of students associated with the department, for supervision and training of teaching assistants and other teacher aides.
    6. With assistance from the staff of the divisional dean, prepare department support budgets and administer the financial affairs of the department, including internal allocation and reallocation decisions to ensure that monies are spent in accordance with department and divisional priorities and with university regulations and procedures.
    7. Schedule, and recommend to the dean, sabbatical or other leaves, in a manner which will ensure continuity of academic programs and fulfillment of responsibilities to students. Chairs may approve leaves of absence, with pay, for up to seven days, to permit faculty members to attend professional meetings or for conduct of other university business. The chair is responsible to ensure that classes are met and that any ongoing responsibility of the faculty member to students or colleagues is appropriately provided for. Leave by the chair, and all other leaves of longer than seven days, must be approved by the divisional dean or the CP/EVC in accordance with campus delegations.
    8. Report promptly to the dean the resignation, death, injury, illness, or other situation the chair becomes aware of in which a faculty or staff member is not able to perform their job.
    9. Maintain the custody and authorized use of university property assigned to the department, and assign department office, laboratory, and conference space and facilities in accordance with university policy and campus rules and regulations.
    10. Ensure departmental observance of proper health and safety regulations, in coordination with the campus health and safety office.
    11. Receive training and keep abreast of university policy and procedures concerning sex offenses, in coordination with the campus Title IX Office.
    12. Maintain department records, prepare and submit reports in accordance with university procedures.
    13. Report failure of staff or academic appointees to carry out their responsibilities and, if appropriate, recommend disciplinary action in accordance with university policy and/or the appropriate memorandum of understanding.

In performance of their duties, the chair is expected to seek the advice of faculty colleagues in a systematic way, to conduct the department's affairs in an orderly fashion through meetings or appointment of appropriate committees, and to seek student advice and counsel on matters of immediate concern to students enrolled in the department's programs. Vice chairs, executive committees, or such other committees as the chair may appoint, may assist the chair. The chair's responsibility, however, may not be delegated.


Registration in special studies courses for undergraduates must be approved by the chairperson (or equivalent) of each department concerned. This approval must be based upon a written proposal submitted to the chairperson. (En 19 May 69)

  • (A) Only regularly appointed officers of instruction holding appropriate instructional titles may have substantial responsibility for the content and conduct of courses which are approved by the Academic Senate.
  • (B) Professors, professors in residence and adjunct professors of any rank, instructors, instructors in residence and adjunct instructors, and lecturers may give courses of any grade. Persons holding other instructional titles may teach lower division courses only, unless individually authorized to teach courses of higher grade by the appropriate Committee on courses or Graduate Council. If a course is given in sections by several instructors, each instructor shall hold the required instructional title. (EC 15 Apr 74)
  • (C) Announcements of special study courses in which individual students work under the direction of various members of a department may state that presentation is by the staff, but a member of the department shall be designated as the instructor in charge.
  • (D) Only persons approved by the appropriate administrative officer, with the concurrence of the committee on courses concerned, may assist in instruction in courses authorized by the Academic Senate.
  • (E) No student may serve as a reader or assistant in a course in which the student is enrolled. (Am 16 Mar 70. 15 Jun 71)