College of Arts and Sciences

Length of Term and Transition to a New Chair

Service in the chair's position is at the discretion of the dean. The length of term for chairs varies greatly across the college. Some chairs remain in office for decades, while others serve for only a few years. Some departments have set terms of office for chairs and rotate chairs from within the faculty on a regular basis. Rotating chairs within the department gives the in-coming chair an opportunity to be mentored by the out-going chair and helps smooth the transition. However, it is not always possible to select an internal candidate for chair; sometimes a national search is necessary. In either case--internal search or external search--the process is guided by the Office of the Dean. Typically, a senior faculty member from a different department or an associate dean is appointed to head the search committee.

College of Arts & Sciences Guidelines for Chair Searches

The individual who serves as a chair of a department or director of a program in the College of Arts and Sciences must have the skills and experience for managing the operations of a regionally, nationally, and internationally prominent academic department/program. The individual must hold the terminal degree in the relevant discipline, a record of achievement in teaching, scholarship, and service in a major university environment. Moreover, the individual must have demonstrated a strong potential for successful academic administration.

When an administrative line position for a chair or director becomes available in the College of Arts and Sciences, every effort will be made to fill the position in a timely manner, adhering to the guidelines established for The University of Memphis, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department or Program in which the position is available. The search and selection process for a new chair or director has been carefully designed to elicit participation by all members of the Department or Program as well as the Office of the Dean.

  1. The Office of the Dean will ensure that all the required guidelines of The University of Memphis for hiring a chair or director have been appropriately followed.
     
    1. The Dean will determine, after consultation with the Department/Program Personnel, whether to pursue an internal search or an expanded external search for the new Chair/Director. In either case, the same procedures will be followed, except for the position announcement. For an internal search, the position will be circulated only within the relevant department/program.
       
    2. The Dean of the College is responsible for making the final recommendation of an individual for the position of Chair/Director as well as the rank and salary for the position. The Dean will make these recommendations in consultation with the faculty of the Department and/or in consultation with the Search Committee, as well as the Office of the Provost.
       
  2. The Dean will convene a committee for purposes of searching for an individual to fill the open Chair or Director position.
     
    1. The Search Committee will comprise no less than three and no more than seven persons chosen from the faculty of the University.
       
      1. In addition, the Committee may include one student chosen by the Department. The faculty members of the Department, using a procedure approved by both the Dean and the Department's faculty, will select a portion of the Committee and the Dean will appoint the remainder.
         
      2. Though the members chosen by the faculty will normally come from within the Department, the faculty may choose individuals external to the Department or Program.
         
      3. The Chair, who will be a voting member, will be a tenured faculty member from a Department other than the one in which the vacancy exists. The Chair will be chosen by the Dean from his/her list of appointees.
         
      4. The Committee, regardless of size, should be representative of the academic areas with the Department/Program, as well as the ranks of the faculty within the Department/Program.
         
      5. All voting will be by simple majority rule.
         
    2. The responsibilities of the Committee Chair will be to call the meetings of the Committee, ensure that all required College and University guidelines have been followed, receive and disseminate information pertaining to applicants, call for votes, and maintain all minutes, records and files pertaining to the search.
       
    3. The responsibilities of the Committee will be:
       
      1. to develop appropriate advertising material for the position;
         
      2. to ensure that all relevant materials for each candidate are on file prior to initiation of discussions of the candidates, to carefully review this material, and to communicate in a timely manner with the departments as the search progresses;
         
      3. to recommend candidates to the Dean and the faculty, and to arrange for and schedule interviews of these candidates with the Dean, the department/program faculty, staff and students, and others deemed appropriate by the Dean and the Department.
         
      4. To actively seek written input about each candidate from all interested parties, to discuss the candidates, and to prepare recommendations for the Dean, including a summary statement of the candidates, that are satisfactory to members of the department.
         
  3. The Dean will receive the report of the decision and recommendations from the Search Committee.
     
    1. From the list presented, the Dean will select an individual to whom an offer will be made and keep the Department informed, through the Search Committee, of the progress during the selection.
       
    2. The Dean will be open and available for input from any Department member throughout the process, but will place major emphasis on the work and recommendations of the Search Committee.
       
    3. If the selected individual declines the offer, the Dean will make an offer to another individual on the list, reconstitute the original committee for purposes of continuing (reopening) the current search, or appoint a committee to initiate a new search.
       
    4. When an individual accepts an offer, the Dean will ensure that all appropriate and required administrative procedures are followed for the completion of the hiring process.
       

Removal from Office

Chairs are evaluated annually by the dean and by all tenured, tenure-track and untenured faculty members within their departments. Every five to seven years, the dean will conduct a review of each chair holder. Failure to continue to perform at a high level of administrative excellence could lead to removal from the chair.

Part I: Overview

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Last Updated: 1/14/13