The chair of a department serves as the communications channel for all regular business between the faculty of the department and the university’s administration. Department chairs are appointed by the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, acting on nominations from the department that are recommended by the dean of the school.
Exceptions are appointments for chairs in departments of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Milken Institute School of Public Health, which are forwarded to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, acting on nominations from the school’s dean following a national search or completion of the process outlined in the school's by-laws.
The chair represents the department in matters that are referred to the dean for decision or approval. Increased emphasis on academic planning within the University has added significantly to the chairs’ responsibilities, which include:
- Responsible for overall quality of the department’s instructional program and research activities
- Responsible for the administration of department resources
- Ensure that classes are met and conducted responsibly
- Ensure that departmental advising is accurately and effectively performed
- Plays a key role in the preparation and administration of annual budgets
- Understanding and implementing – effectively, consistently and equitably – all personnel policies, in association with faculty colleagues
- Facilitates the ongoing professional development of faculty colleagues