ATTACHMENT 2 to AS-2592a-03/FA

Report of the Task Force on Roles and
Responsibilities of Department Chairs

Executive Summary

The objective of this report is to make recommendations that will "enhance roles, rewards and resources" for Department Chairs. The goal is to improve training, recruitment, and retention of chairs with the end of making them more enduring and effective leaders of their departments. The data and observations that form the basis for the recommendations that follow come in large part from the California State University Department Chair Survey. The report also draws from job descriptions and practices of individual campuses, the contract between the CSU and the CFA, personal observations, and the academic literature.

The Task Force on Roles and Responsibilities of Chairs recommends that:

  1. each campus establish a committee on the "status of chairs" to develop an action plan to address the findings of the CSU Chair Survey and home campus surveys and the recommendations of the Task Force. The Task Force recommends that this committee report annually on its progress to the campus senate and representatives designated by the Statewide Senate.

  2. the Academic Senate CSU, chancellor's office, campus presidents, and academic vice presidents discuss and address the findings of the CSU Department Chair Survey and home campus surveys and the recommendations of the Task Force.
Further, the Task Force makes the following additional observations and recommendations:

Campuses need to give chairs the resources they require to be effective leaders.
  • Campuses should give chairs more authority/control over financial and other departmental resources. Chairs should have dollar-based budgets, should be able to roll funds forward from year to year, and should be able to use saved dollars to best benefit their departments.

  • Campuses and the CSU should provide chairs with more training prior to and after they assume the role of chair. Campuses should also provide chairs with more opportunities, resources, and time to attend campus, CSU-supported, and other professional development workshops.

  • Campuses should give chairs more access to the information required to effectively run their departments, including FTES targets and budgetary information. The university administration should keep chairs in the same information loop as the deans.

Campuses and the CSU should treat chairs equitably regarding their conditions of appointment.

  • Campuses should give all chairs the option of 12-month appointments or establish a mechanism for compensating chairs for unpaid days worked.b

  • Campuses should establish an advisory committee to review the means used to determine the percent of administrative appointment and the length of the chair's contract to:

    • Establish a formula or procedure that best represents the current workload of chairs

    • Achieve equity among chairs on a single campus and ultimately promote equity across the CSU b

    • At a minimum the formula should take into account total FTEF (including part-time faculty and teaching associates), FTES, number of majors, and number of staff.

  • Campuses should provide chairs with job descriptions and other details of their duties so they are fully informed of what is expected of them before they assume their roles.

  • Campuses should have reasonable expectations of chairs given the amount of time and resources available to them.

  • Campuses should review the tasks that chairs are expected to perform to assure that they are appropriate and manageable within the constraints of the chair's administrative appointment.

  • Campuses should evaluate and reward chairs based on their job descriptions. Campuses should evaluate chairs annually based on clear performance objectives and reward chairs based on their job descriptions, not on the traditional criteria for performance evaluation of faculty.

The compensation for chairs should match the demands of the position.
  • The CSU and CFA should review the appropriateness of current levels of compensation for 12-month and academic year chairs and bargain compensation that rewards chairs according to their true administrative workload.b

Too much of the chair's time is squandered on routine administrative functions (the "bureaucratic grind"). Campuses should provide chairs with time to undertake creative management or other significant creative activities.
  • A campus committee should analyze the workload of chairs and make recommendations to reduce or redistribute it to allow chairs more time for creative activity. Recommendations should be shared among campuses within the CSU.b

  • Campuses should reroute or reduce the bureaucratic paperwork.

  • Campuses and the CSU should provide chairs with assigned time to allow chairs to undertake creative management or other creative activities that would benefit their departments.

  • Campuses should consider diverting some of the routine workload of chairs to clerical personnel.
Communication among chairs should be facilitated.
  • Local campus chairs across colleges should meet at least semi-annually.

  • CSU chairs within disciplines should meet at least annually.

  • The CSU should sponsor an annual conference for chairs. Through this conference, the CSU can provide a forum for chairs to communicate with one another about what they do and how they do it. Time can be provided for meetings among chairs within disciplines and for sessions that deal with issues that chairs would like to address.

  • CSU department chairs should consider establishing a list-serve of all CSU chairs or CSU chairs within disciplines

Other recommendations
  • The Academic Senate CSU, or the office of the chancellor of the CSU, should conduct a survey of CSU deans, similar to the Chair Survey, which includes questions about how deans manage chairs and what deans think are best practices for chairs.

  • Campuses should educate faculty about the roles and responsibilities of contemporary chairs, both to recruit qualified faculty into the position and to enhance understanding of what chairs do.

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