CAS Chair Handbook


Dear Chairs and Directors:

The College of Arts & Sciences Chair Handbook is intended as a resource to help both new and experienced chairs navigate the many challenges you face in your governance role. The handbook is a guide, not a rulebook. Its purpose is to provide you with insider knowledge of how things really work--the nitty-gritty information you won't find in a policies and procedures manual. New chairs are advised to read the document in its entirety. Experienced chairs may want to pick and choose topics from the menu bar on the side.

Portions of the handbook address differences across departments. It is hoped that this information sharing will stimulate lively conversation among chairs as you learn of different practices you might like to incorporate into your own department. Discussing best practices with your peers is a marvelous way to learn and to build a supportive network of colleagues who understand the peculiar struggles of leading and managing faculty, staff, and students.

The handbook is very much a work in progress. The topics selected for inclusion are based on suggestions from CAS chairs. I particularly want to acknowledge Frank Andrasik, Stan Hyland, Eric Link, and Abby Parrill for their assistance with this endeavor. As inaugural members of the Chair Leadership Group, they spent many hours last year reflecting on the art (or is it a science?) of chairing and provided my office with a multitude of insights on the types of information chairs need. You, too, are encouraged to submit ideas for topics. Please send your questions, comments, and suggestions to

Happy reading,

Thomas J. Nenon, Dean
College of Arts & Sciences
The University of Memphis
August 2013