5.4 Department Head Responsibilities and Basis for Evaluation

Overarching Responsibilities and Expectations

The Department Head or Division Director (DH) provides vision, leadership, and overall management for his or her unit. The DH reports directly to the College Dean and works closely with the Dean and Provost to establish and achieve departmental goals that are aligned with and contribute to overall university goals, metrics, priorities, and mission.  The DH is expected to maintain a climate that is supportive of excellence, creativity, innovation, and success among the unit’s faculty, students, and staff, promotes collaboration with other university leadership, and is receptive to external input on the evolution and assessment of the units programs, support, and creative/research activities.


  • Lead the development and implementation of a strategic vision for the unit that is aligned with university goals and aspirations, and leverages synergistic activities across and outside of the university, leading to the creation of distinctive programs managed and supported by the unit  
  • Effectively communicate both unit-level and university-level visions, goals, and aspirations to internal and external audiences


  • Create and foster an intellectual environment consistent with the Faculty Senate statement of values
  • Create and foster a supportive educational environment for all students served by the unit
  • Encourage, develop, and support strategies to achieve student success
  • Encourage, develop, and support strategies to achieve both research and teaching excellence
  • Engender a culture of excellence, co-operation, diversity, and respect both within and outside of the department
  • Promote and positively represent the department and university both internally and externally
  • Promote high ethical values and transparency in decision making
  • Recruit, select, mentor, and evaluate faculty and staff who will advance both departmental and institutional priorities and initiatives


  • Ensure that faculty and staff are managed and evaluated fairly, effectively, and efficiently, and in a way that is consistent with university requirements and expectations
  • Oversee assignment of teaching and other duties for all faculty and staff in a way that is consistent with university requirements and expectations, and consistent with the concept that the appropriate mix of teaching, research or creative work, scholarship, and service that may differ from person to person, and from time to time in the career of an individual
  • Manage overall budget and unit administration in strict accordance with dollar and FTE allocations and in accord with university rules and procedures
  • Ensure that students and sponsors supported by the unit are served ethically and effectively, while meeting the expected educational or scholarship outcomes

University Participation

  • Engages unit faculty in university and college initiatives such as:
    • interdisciplinary research, and collaborative cross-institutional activities
    • interdisciplinary degree programs, joint appointments etc.
  • Engages in university budgetary discussions and strategic decision making
  • Engages unit faculty in university recruiting activities
  • Represents and advocates for unit in university context
  • Represents and advocates for university administration with unit faculty and staff

Basis For Evaluation of Department Head Duties

  • Caliber and quality of faculty and staff hires
  • Faculty development and mentorship (promotion and tenure success, faculty scholarship activities, awards won by faculty, etc.)
  • Student success metrics (e.g., student completion rates, time-to-degree indicators, student publication activities, improvement of overall student outcomes, etc.)
  • Student and employer satisfaction with academic programs and services (e.g., student surveys, employer surveys, advisory groups)
  • Program resource stewardship (e.g., SCH/faculty, $’s/research space, etc.)
  • Engagement in university initiatives and activities (e.g., unit participation in interdepartmental committees and working groups, unit participation in cross departmental research and educational activities,
  • Value of contributions to meeting programmatic and university goals and objectives
  • Effectiveness of departmental management (e.g., budget, scheduling, evaluations, etc.)

Last Revision:

December 20, 2019