Handbook for Department Chairs


The ideal chairperson of a department/program:

  • knows the current and future scholarship interests of each individual faculty member, and makes investments so faculty can explore and exploit their interests
  • remembers the importance of collegiality and consensus-building, that colleagues are peers and professionals, and that leading can be done from behind and below as well as from in front and above
  • does not take disagreements personally (knows there will also be at least one person who disagrees [and probably who it will be on specific issues]); and understands that true consensus may not be possible, but that having opportunity for all perspectives to be respected is, enfranchising those who hold minority views
  • celebrates achievements of colleagues (uses food as an attraction).