Academic Affairs | Chairs & Division Directors

Questions?

  • Office of Academic Affairs
    202-885-2125
    deanofacademicaffairs@american.edu
    Leonard, Room Lower Level

Mailing Address

CHAIRS/DIVISION DIRECTORS

Welcome to the new chairs and division directors website. The purpose of this site it to familiarize faculty with their responsibilities as the head of their unit and to provide an inventory of resources available to them in that role.

  1. Roles and Responsibilities

    Chairs/division directors are appointed by the academic unit dean after consultation with the appropriate governance teaching unit council. They are the academic and administrative leaders of the teaching unit and report to the dean of the academic unit. The chair/director leads the unit in:

    • promoting excellence in teaching, research and service
    • developing a vision that supports the particular goals of the unit and the broader goals of the school/college and the University
    • managing faculty matters, including faculty development, recruitment and evaluation
    • working with the dean’s office on promotion and tenure, salary increases, leaves of absence, space planning, facilities and equipment management, etc.
    • providing a key communication link between the school/college administration and department/division faculty
    • coordinating an effective curriculum, including the scheduling of courses
    • monitoring student affairs, including undergraduate advising and graduate training
    • managing the budget, overseeing expenditures, maintaining accurate records and ensuring sound fiscal policies and procedures
    • directing operations as well as short term and long term planning
    • managing department/division staff, including development and performance evaluation
    • generating reports, including the annual report and data requests
    • building strong relationships with other campus units and leaders
    • representing the interests of the department/division to audiences both inside and outside the university.
  2. Faculty Manual

    The Faculty Manual contains the policies governing faculty contracts with the University. It describes the obligations and expectations of faculty, criteria for reappointment and other aspects and conditions of faculty employment.

  3. University Policies

    A comprehensive list of University policies with links to each policy is located on the AU website, under http://www.american.edu/policies/

  4. Student Policies and Resources
  5. Student Support Services and Programs
  6. Faculty Search Procedures
    • Requests for tenure-line positions
      In spring, the Provost and the Dean of Academic Affairs review requests for tenure-line (tenure-track and tenured) faculty positions. Teaching unit chairs/directors play a critical role in working with their dean to shape the composition of the faculty to meet the University’s strategic goals.
    • Procedures for conducting full-time faculty searches are posted on the University’s portal, my.american.edu, under Academics/Dean of Academic Affairs. Please also note the immigration guidelines and other information about hiring a foreign national.
  7. Calendars
  8. Staff Relations and Management
    • Performance Management Program (PMP) All staff are required to complete the Performance Management Program training through the Office of Human Resources. In the session staff learn how individual performance contributes to the University’s success and the steps they need to rake to accomplish the three phases of the performance management cycle: planning, managing, and appraising performance. In addition, department chairs/division directors are encouraged to take the PMP Training for new managers.
    • Best Practices in Department/Division Administration
      • Provide a clear sense of expectations. An incoming chair/director can smooth the transition from one chair/director to another by communicating his/her needs, style of functioning, and expectations at the outset and as they evolve.
      • Practice good communication. It is important to maintain good rapport with staff and to create open channels of communication through regular staff meetings where staff are invited to provide updates on their areas and the chair/director can share information on priorities and deadlines.
      • Support staff in balancing administrative duties with faculty demands. Staff manage the day-to-day operations of the unit as well as provide the level of individual support faculty require. Chairs/directors can support staff in their efforts to balance these roles.
      • Encourage staff training and professional development. The Office of Information Technology offers workshops, on-line training, and customized training in the use of Excel, MS Word, Dreamweaver, Datatel, and other applications. The Office of Human Resources offers a variety of workshops that staff can utilize to help fulfill their responsibilities as well as enhance their longer term career goals.
      • Recognize and appreciate staff regularly. It is important to create an atmosphere that fosters recognition for the capabilities and hard work of staff. Chairs/directors may put in place formal or informal practices that help staff feel appreciated. They may also choose to recommend staff for annual University Staff Awards.
  9. Plans, Reports, and Data Collection
    • Strategic Plan: Leadership for a Changing World
      The University’s Strategic Plan is grounded on AU’s Statement of Common Purpose and structured around ten transformational goals for the coming decade.
    • Faculty Activity Reporting System (FARS)
      This online information management system from Digital Measures serves as a central repository to store, track, and report information on faculty instructional, research, creative, and service activities. All full-time faculty are required to enter their data into FARS. Phase I focused on creating faculty annual reports. Phase II extends the functionality of FARS beyond the annual report to include customized reports for faculty and administrative use. Future goals include interfacing with the AU webpages and the creation of electronic files for action.

      Access to FARS is through my.american.edu, using the faculty member’s Novell login and password. Questions from faculty about the use of FARS should be submitted to helpdesk@american.edu for routing to the appropriate person. Please visit the FARS main menu for links to the training manual and usage documents. For more information about Digital Measures refer to the website at www.digitalmeasures.com/ActivityInsight/.

    • EagleData
      EagleData is AU’s data warehouse, a web-accessible source for university statistics available to authorized users in the AU community. It provides fast and easy access to information in a self-service manner so that users can get reports when they need them. The website is
      http://www1.american.edu/eagledata/combined_menu/index.html

      Use your Novell login name and password.

      Teaching evaluation reports,

      To access Faculty courseload data, after logging into Eagledata, click on Faculty Views under Restricted Views and follow directions.

      For assistance in using EagleData or to request custom reports, contact the Help Desk at x2550 or helpdesk@american.edu

    • Academic Unit Annual report
    • Office of Institutional Research and Assessment
      The mission of the office is to provide accurate and meaningful analysis to university decision makers. The Academic Reference Book, available on the website, contains university statistics about enrollment, admissions, retention, graduation, and faculty. The related website, Learning Outcomes and Assessment, provides information about assessment at AU and is designed to assist programs as they move toward the development and implementation of learning outcomes and assessment plans.
  10. Faculty Support and Development
  11. Legal Issues and Policies
  12. Academic and Teaching Unit Reviews
  13. Curriculum Planning: New courses, new programs, semester planning
  14. Chair/Director Development
  15. External Resources:
    • American Council on Education (ACE)
      ACE, in its role as the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.
    • American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
      AAUP’s purpose is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Annual conferences and regional meetings invite active participation in meeting these goals.
    • The Chronicle of Higher Education
      A compendium of news, commentary, facts, advice and more on current topics in higher education.