The department chair must lead the department in establishing goals and objectives, and in developing a plan for accomplishing these.

This involves both short-term and long-term planning consistent with the College’s mission, the directives of the dean, the discipline itself, and the abilities of the departmental faculty. The planning process also involves periodic evaluation to ensure implementation, and to make certain that its goals and objectives meet the needs of its majors, and other students it serves. In planning for the future, it is especially important that chairs have an understanding of, and take into consideration, the resources that will be needed to carry out these plans. Plans should realistically reflect current resources and/or the prospects for acquiring additional resources.

  1. Routine Planning
    Much of the administration in academic departments involves responses to routine tasks such as meeting deadlines, carrying out personnel processes, filing required reports, completing department assessment tasks. Although preparing for these tasks is not what is usually meant by “planning,” it is a necessary part of the day-to day activities that characterize departmental activity. Chairs should work to anticipate such activities, so that they and their faculty will have the time necessary to address the routine responsibilities that occur during every academic year. The Chairperson Activities Planning Calendar that appears in the appendix can be helpful in this regard.

  2. Short-Term Planning
    Department Curriculum: The chair ensures that a comprehensive and coherent department curriculum is developed and maintained. The curriculum should take into consideration the state of the discipline, the abilities of its faculty, the needs of its majors, General Education, external stakeholders (e.g. teacher certification requirements) and other programs to which the department contributes. In this regard, a course distribution template should be developed and updated, indicating the near-term sequencing and periodicity of required and elective course offerings. Chairs should expect the dean to request this periodically.

    Course Schedules: Following consultation with teaching faculty, the chair recommends to the dean a schedule of courses for the academic year, ensuring a slate of required and elective offerings that meet the needs of the major, service courses, and general education, and which is distributed uniformly across the day and evening. In developing each semester’s course schedule, the chair should be mindful of programmatic needs, faculty scheduling preferences, available resources, and the dictates of the department’s course distribution template.

    Faculty Workload: The chair recommends to the dean an appropriate workload for each faculty member, taking into consideration the nature and number of assigned courses, the faculty member’s research commitment, and participation in departmental and College-wide governance. It is essential that the chair become familiar with College policy guiding workload assignments, and makes recommendations in accordance with this policy. The policy is described in detail in the Faculty Guide to Teaching and Learning at Brockport.

    Recruitment: As part of the annual Faculty Allocation process, the chair prepares materials to submit to the dean requesting (as needed) authorization to search during the next academic year for tenure-track faculty, and/or other full-time and part-time instructional personnel. The chair is responsible for assuring that all authorized searches proceed in accordance with guidelines from the Office of Affirmative Action and the home department’s own governance policies. Guidelines for the search process can be found at The chair is expected to provide advisory input to the dean regarding overall departmental preferences as well as his/her own independent evaluation of candidates for departmental vacancies.

  3. Long-term Planning
    Establish Long-Term Goals and Objectives: Chairs should work with their faculty and dean to establish long-term goals and objectives for the department. These objectives should reflect resources, changes/improvements in the discipline, assessment of student learning outcomes, in support of the College’s mission to make student success its highest priority.

    Determine Future Facilities, Equipment, and Staffing Needs Consistent with Departmental Plan: Chairs should develop a plan for accomplishing the department’s long-term goals and objectives, (including the departmental student learning outcomes) and for obtaining the resources necessary for accomplishing these goals and objectives.