Chairs of academic units play a key role in advancing the quality of teaching, scholarship and service engagement at Bates. These colleagues are responsible for the normal operations of their academic units, as well as setting the agenda for the unit. They also represent their academic units to the administration and the college and are expected to keep their unit informed of actions at the college. In academic units where there are co-chairs or associate chairs, there should be an agreement around the division of these duties. 

Major responsibilities of chairs can be classified into six broad areas, and include:

Direction of academic program

  • Leads the academic unit in setting both short- and long-term goals, in establishing and executing assessment efforts and in using assessment results to promote continuous program improvement
  • Helps the academic unit understand and engage with major campus initiatives
  • Serves as the public spokesperson for the academic unit and representative of the unit to the dean
  • Represents the academic unit at monthly chairs meetings
  • Submits proposed changes to majors and minors to the AAC
  • Responsible for communicating with the succeeding chair about direction of the academic program

Oversight of teaching and advising

  • Submits the academic unit’s Teaching Planning Tool each year
  • Builds a three-year plan in cooperation with colleagues in the academic unit and with academic units where there is close cooperation
  • Develops and submits the grid each year in a timely fashion, ensuring it meets college criteria 
  • Collaborates with the dean’s office around curricular pressure points and around under-enrolled courses
  • Ensures the timely development, approval, offering and review of appropriate courses;
  • In collaboration with their colleagues, assigns major/minor advisors to students to major, as well as thesis student advising
  • Identifies equitable solutions to reassigning advising in advance of leaves
  • Approves transfer-credit requests, as well as other requests that require approval by an academic unit
  • Meets with students declaring a major
  • Meets with majors who are planning on going abroad
  • Regularly reviews student evaluations of teaching and when needed meets with faculty around those evaluations.

Professional Development of faculty and staff (where applicable)

  • Participates in the mentorship of faculty and staff, which can include sitting in on classes and writing of letters of recommendation 
  • In academic units that employ staff the chair usually manages these employees. For example, these include: 
    • Assistants in instruction
    • Applied music instructors
    • Applied dance faculty
    • Post-Bacs
    • Technicians
    • Student workers
    • Language associates in languages
    • Language teaching assistants
  • Approves timesheets for staff
  • Conducts an annual review of academic unit staff 
  • Participate in the review of Academic Administrative Assistants (AAAs). This typically entails responding to a survey from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

Management of financial resources

  • Manages the annual budget of the academic unit, according to college criteria
  • Communicates with colleagues around the academic unit’s budget
  • Prepares budget requests
  • Oversees the use of endowments assigned to the unit, if applicable
  • Responsibility for communicating with the succeeding chair around the budget

Hiring of faculty and staff

  • Requests resources for contingent and permanent faculty by completing the 3 year plan and participating in the line allocation process.
  • Oversees hiring of faculty in line with the college’s guideline, in cooperation with colleagues in the academic unit, and the Dean of the Faculty’s Office
  • If the academic unit has to replace a staff member, the chair works with the Dean of the Faculty’s Office, Human Resources, and other colleagues to fill the position

Facilitation of relationships within the academic unit

  • Serves as central figure available to address questions from students, faculty, staff, parents and others.
  • In responding to parents, please be aware of the limits the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) places on faculty in this space. Best practice is to always let parents know that before speaking to them, you need to get permission from the student.
  • Serve as a central figure in addressing and solving student concerns with classes/instructors in the academic unit
  • Fosters relationships in the academic unit to build a healthy culture
  • Mediates conflict among constituencies within the academic unit

Faculty Positions and Resources

Allocation of Faculty Resources: The forms and processes for requesting resources, submitting proposals, and submitting 3-year plans as well as the teaching-planning tool (TPT) are available here.  The link above includes information on line requests, lectureship requests and renewals, requests for course reductions, requests for course replacements, and requests for additional courses.


Faculty hiring resource with all the information you need to make a hire once resources have been allocated your program or department.


The tenure and promotion process. Key information about personnel decisions.


In collaboration with the Registrar, we provide a page to help you gain access to data about your program or department.


As chair, you may need information regarding how to maintain and update aspects of your curriculum. This page has resources on that.

General Information