Department Chair Appointment and Evaluation Policy

1.00 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to set out the guidelines and standards for the appointment and evaluation of Department Chairs.  The term “Department Chair” as used here applies to those faculty members who lead academic units designated as Departments regardless of “Department” nomenclature (e.g., School or Program Director), unless otherwise specified.

This policy is intended to reflect the University’s commitment to the principles, goals, and ideals described in the CSU Monterey Bay Founding Vision Statement.

2.00 Responsibilities of the Department Chair

Department Governance

Department Chairs facilitate department governance by:

  • Keeping faculty and staff informed of department, college, and university plans, activities and expectations;
  • Coordinating development and implementation of department governance structure, policy, and procedures;
  • Coordinating faculty involvement in department responsibilities, as appropriate;
  • Facilitating department meetings;
  • Establishing department committees in collaboration with faculty;
  • Facilitating election of department RTP Committee(s);
  • Representing the department to the Dean and campus community;
  • Communicating decisions by the Dean and university to the department;
  • Mediating conflicts and attempting to resolve problems between and among faculty, students, and staff;
  • Maintaining confidentiality with regard to performance reviews, personnel decisions, grievances, etc., and encouraging others to do so.

Curriculum and Instruction

Department Chairs facilitate development and delivery of curriculum and instruction by:

  • Developing course schedules, in consultation with the faculty and Dean, that reflect the department’s range of course offerings, foster student learning, and facilitate timely degree completion;
  • Working with faculty to create and manage curriculum, including changes and revisions;
  • Working with faculty to develop Annual Faculty Workload Agreements, as appropriate;
  • Leading the department in carrying out required external reviews of curricula and assessment of student learning outcomes;
  • Leading or participating in departmental accreditation activities;
  • Considering departmental retention and graduation rates, recommending adjustments to enhance student learning and increase timely degree completion.

Faculty Affairs and Professional Development

Department Chairs support faculty and facilitate professional development by:

  • Fostering high-quality teaching and learning in the department;
  • Assisting probationary faculty in understanding the evaluation process and criteria for retention, tenure and promotion, and in presenting accurate and effective Working Personnel Action Files (WPAFs);
  • Exercising leadership in recruiting faculty. Ensuring that requests for positions are appropriately submitted, search committees selected, candidates interviewed, and appointments recommended in accordance with university policies and procedures;
  • Following hiring protocols and the CSU/CFA Collective Bargaining Agreement;
  • Writing letters of evaluation for department faculty during the RTP and Lecturer evaluation processes as needed;
  • Overseeing Lecturer mentoring and evaluation;
  • Facilitating grant opportunities, including pre- and post-award activities.
  • Supporting faculty in pursuing research endeavors, grant opportunities, and procedures for necessary approval of research activities.


Department Chairs support students by:

  • Recruiting and retaining students by encouraging faculty to initiate, implement, and participate in student-related activities, e.g., orientations, student recruitment, competitions, awards, recognized student organizations;
  • Communicating and working with academic advising on a regular basis to address student needs;
  • Working with Student Disability and Accessibility Center (SDAC) to ensure student accommodations are facilitated in the department;
  • Promoting Cooperative Learning Center services to the department;
  • Facilitating resolution of administrative difficulties that students may encounter;
  • Considering students’ comments and suggestions about courses, instructors and programs;
  • Responding to student requests for waiver of departmental regulations, independent study proposals, internships and related special student concerns; Ensuring successful and timely completion of incomplete grades; Managing the formal student grade appeal process;
  • Fostering student success through a variety of student success initiatives.

Staff Personnel

 Department Chairs support staff by:

  • Exercising leadership in the selection and appointment of staff personnel, including student assistants working for the department;
  • Providing general oversight and daily work direction to staff assigned to the department;
  • Conducting staff performance evaluations in a timely manner;
  • Encouraging and supporting staff training and development;
  • Fostering collegial and productive relationships among faculty, staff, and students.

Budget and Resources

Department Chairs manage budget and resources by:

  • Managing department activities to meet student enrollment targets;
  • Administering the departmental budget in consultation with department faculty, the Academic Support Coordinator, the Dean’s Budget Analyst and the Dean;
  • Overseeing the ordering of department equipment and supplies;
  • Developing and implementing appropriate procedures for the use, maintenance and repair of equipment, in consultation with appropriate department personnel,
  • Reviewing and making recommendations on requests for student fees in consultation with the faculty and staff.

External Relations

Department Chairs support external relations by:

  • Working with the Dean and University Advancement to promote the department outside the university community;
  • Promoting discipline-based contact with appropriate off-campus groups, including community college faculty, high school teachers, community organizations, professional organizations, private companies, alumni, etc;
  • Maintaining and enhancing the department’s image and reputation outside the university.

3.00 Eligibility and Appointment of Department Chairs

Chairs are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the President. Only full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty are eligible to serve as Chair. Exceptions to this requirement must be approved by the Provost, as the President’s designee. If appointment occurs through the hiring process, the position shall be identified and advertised as that of a "Department Chair,” after consultation with Department faculty, and all faculty hiring policies and practices shall be followed.  Information concerning term of office and faculty rank and status shall be communicated to candidates during the recruitment process.  Appointment of a Chair may occur through the regular faculty hiring process or through nomination and recommendation by vote within the department.

3.10 Voting Eligibility

If a Chair appointment recommendation occurs through a vote, those eligible to vote shall include department faculty with tenure/tenure-track appointments and department lecturers on three-year appointments appointed to 12 or more units per academic year. FERP, PRTB, and faculty on sabbatical and other leaves are eligible to vote. Voting eligibility for other lecturers on three-year appointments, academic year lecturers and staff shall be determined in accordance with departmental governance policy, and documentation of Department-specific expansion of voting eligibility by the Department shall be submitted to Human Resources.  Faculty who will not be reappointed, have been given terminal notice, or have resigned are ineligible to vote.

3.20 Election Process

Nominations for Department Chair shall be solicited from among the tenure-line faculty.  Department elections shall be conducted by secret ballot by the Department or Elections Committee designated by the Department. Department elections shall be held for at least one week. Candidates who receive a majority of the votes are recommended by the Department and the results of the vote shall be forwarded to the Dean. In the case where there is only one candidate, a vote shall occur with a secondary voting option being “abstain.”  If the number of abstentions exceeds votes for the Candidate, then the recommendation of “abstain” shall be forwarded to the Dean.  The Dean shall remain publicly neutral towards Department candidates, including incumbents, until the Department election is concluded. 

The Dean shall normally concur with the Department's recommended candidate. The Dean then forwards their recommendation to the Provost. The Provost, as the President’s designee, reviews the department election results, the Department’s recommended candidate or candidates with an equal number of votes, the Dean’s recommended candidate, and appoints the Department Chair.  The Provost shall normally concur with the Dean’s and Department’s recommended candidates.  If the Provost does not concur, they will provide a statement to the Dean and to the Department on a rationale of why the selection of Chair differed.

If the Dean does not concur with the Department recommendation, they shall notify the Department, and submit a dissenting statement along with the Department’s recommendation to the Provost.  The Provost, then, renders a recommendation, informing the Department and the Dean.  

In the event that the Department vote is a tie between two candidates and a conclusion cannot be reached within the department, the Department forwards the election results to the Dean and lists the names of the candidates who received an equal number of votes. The Dean forwards the names of candidates who earned an equal number of votes, and the Dean’s recommended candidate to Human Resources and to the Provost. The Provost reviews the department election tied results, the Dean’s recommended candidate, and the Provost then renders a recommendation to the President, informing the Department and the Dean. 

Following the selection of the Chair, the appointee shall receive a letter of appointment from the Provost, as President’s designee, specifying duties and responsibilities consistent with this policy,  compensation as defined by the CSU/CFA Collective Bargaining Agreement, and term of office. 

4.00 Term of Office

The term of office for Chairs ordinarily shall be three years. The term of office may vary if agreed upon by department faculty and the Dean. After the initial term of office, a Chair may be recommended again through election via the process described in Section 3.00 of this policy. If a Chair does not complete a term of office, then the vacancy shall be filled consistent with Section 3.00 or Section 7.00 of this policy.

5.00 Evaluation of Department Chairs

The Dean or appropriate administrator shall evaluate the performance of the Chair once per three-year term or more frequently at the discretion of the Dean or upon request of the Chair. The evaluation shall be in Year 3 of the appointment and concluded prior to the Chair election process.  The evaluation process shall include the opportunity for department faculty and staff to provide input regarding the Department Chair’s performance. Department faculty and staff who choose to provide input shall utilize the “Department Chair Feedback Form” available from Human Resources and the Dean shall ensure the anonymity of the department feedback. Performance evaluations are in narrative format and based on the performance of duties as stated in Section 2.00 of this policy. In instances where a majority of department faculty have issued a vote of no-confidence, the Dean shall immediately conduct a performance evaluation of the Chair.

Upon completion of the Year 3 evaluation, the Dean shall meet with the Chair to discuss the evaluation. The Dean is responsible for forwarding the evaluation to Human Resources for inclusion in the Personnel Action File (PAF), and, at the same time, a copy of the evaluation is given to the Provost and the Chair. This dissemination of the performance evaluation serves as notice that Human Resources will place the evaluation in the PAF five (5) calendar days after receipt. The Chair may submit a response or rebuttal in writing within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the evaluation. Submission of a rebuttal or response shall occur within the evaluation timeline.

6.00 Resignation and Recall of a Chair

Chairs may resign or be removed from office. If a Chair resigns before completion of the term of office, the vacancy shall be filled consistent with the provisions set out in Sections 3.00 or 7.00 of this policy, whichever is appropriate.

6.10 Recall of a Chair

If more than 50% of eligible voting faculty, per section 3.10, document no confidence or lack of confidence in the Chair by a formal vote, they shall request removal of the Chair by providing the Dean a tally of the vote. The department may also submit a written statement for removal of the Chair which shall be considered faculty feedback of the Chair’s performance. A minority report may also be submitted by Department faculty. Upon the Dean’s receipt of the faculty's vote and within 21 calendar days, the Dean shall present a written rationale for the removal or retention of the Chair to the Provost including a performance evaluation as referenced in section 5.00. The Chair shall have an opportunity to meet with the Dean and Provost to discuss the proposed removal. The Provost, as the President's designee, shall make the final decision and notify the department within 14 calendar days.

If the final decision is to remove the Chair, the Dean shall initiate the appointment of an acting Chair. The timelines for the appointment of a department chair shall be established by the Dean, in consultation with the department.

7.00 Acting Appointments

When a Chair position is temporarily vacated for a period of one year or less, or during the search for a permanent replacement, an Acting Chair may be appointed by the Dean. Acting Chairs shall ordinarily be chosen from faculty within the appropriate department and the term of office shall normally be no longer than one year in duration.

8.00 Continuous Renewal

This policy shall be reviewed ten years from its effective date to determine its effectiveness and appropriateness. This policy may be reviewed before that time as necessary.


s/President Eduardo M. Ochoa

Effective Date:  October 20, 2021

Certification of Process

Reviewed by: Educational Policy and Planning Committee, Faculty Affairs Committee, Academic Senate Executive Committee, Academic Senate, Policy Facilitation Team, Executive Academic Leadership Team, and Human Resources.