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The Boulder Campus Division of Academic Affairs adopted this document as official policy on January 16, 2013.

Professional Rights and Duties of Faculty Members and Professional Duties of Department Chairs






  • A. Teaching and Students
  • B. Scholarly Research and Creative Work
  • C. Academic Citizenship
  • D. Differential Teaching, Research, and Service Loads
  • E. Conflicts of Interest Policies
  • F. Policies on Research Involving Human Subjects or Animals
  • G. Fiscal Integrity Policies
  • H. Drug Use Policies
  • I. One-Sixth Rule
  • J. Misconduct in Research and Authorship
  • K. Disruptive Conduct, Injury to Person or Damage of Property, and Impeding Freedom of Movement at the University


A. General Statement Regarding Departments and Department Chairs

1. Organization (Laws of the Regents, Article IV, Part B, Section 1)

a. A department of a college or school shall be an academic unit organized around a single academic discipline or several related academic disciplines.

b. To establish a department, a proposal must be approved by the appropriate dean and chancellor, the president, and shall be subject to the approval of the Board of Regents.

c. Departments shall develop their working structure, and department rules, subject to the approval of the dean and chancellor and in accordance with policies established by the Board.

2. Appointment of Chair

a. Criteria The appointment of department chairs should be based on the following criteria:

i. Ability to provide intellectual leadership in the development of departmental faculty and programs;

ii. Ability to provide administrative leadership in the effective functioning of the department; and

iii. Personal skills to deal effectively with faculty, administrators, and support staff within the college and campus structure.

b. Procedures

i. Prior to initiating search and nomination procedures for a department chair, the faculty of the department should meet with the dean of the school or college to discuss the needs and expectations of the department as they relate to the appointment of a new chair, the role of the chair, and the type of search (i.e., internal or external) that will most likely assure that an appropriate candidate is recommended, and to discuss any budgetary considerations related to the search and appointment of a new chair.

ii. A search and nominating process will be carried out by the faculty of the department in accordance with department procedures. The faculty will subsequently submit its recommendation to the dean.

iii. If the dean does not concur with the department faculty's recommendation, the dean will meet with the department faculty to discuss his/her reasons for disagreement.

iv. The campus chancellor will approve appointments of department chairs.

v. It will be the responsibility of the deans and the chancellors to assure that recruitment and appointment procedures for department chairs reflect the University's commitment to equal opportunity and non-discrimination, as articulated in Regent Law (Article 10) and Regent Policy 10. In order to achieve this objective, efforts should be made to provide experience for females and minorities that will prepare them for these positions.

c. Term of Appointment

i. Consistent with Article 4, Laws of the Regents, department chairs will normally serve for four year terms. Appointments may be made occasionally for shorter periods for specific reasons.

ii. Reappointment of a department chair to an additional term will be dependent on the outcome of a performance evaluation and the positive recommendation of the department and dean.

iii. Department chairs may be appointed on the basis of either academic year (9-month) or fiscal year (12-month) appointments as appropriate, depending on the needs of the department.

3. Termination for Cause

Termination for just cause of an appointment of a department chair prior to the expiration of a term of appointment may be recommended by either the department faculty or the dean. Reasons for termination for cause will be the same as those specified for faculty in section 5.C.1, Laws of the Regents. Department recommendations for termination must comply with written procedures developed by the department. Prior to making such a recommendation, the dean will consult with the department faculty and the chancellor. In case of disagreement between the faculty members in the department and the dean, there will be an administrative hearing conducted by the chancellor's office, which will include adequate faculty representation. All such terminations are subject to approval by the chancellor, the president, and the Board of Regents.

4. Evaluation

a. All department chairs shall be subject to a comprehensive performance evaluation at the beginning of the final year of their term or every four years, whichever is the lesser. The evaluation will be conducted by the dean of the college/school and the department faculty in accordance with procedures developed by the department in consultation with the dean.

b. Formal input from other department constituencies (i.e., staff and students and other departments) will be obtained as part of the evaluation process.

c. Prior to recommending the reappointment of a department chair to another term, a comprehensive performance evaluation will be conducted.

5. Orientation

a. Campuses or deans will develop an orientation program for all new department chairs. The orientation program should provide information that will enable the department chair to function more effectively and efficiently. Areas that should be addressed in the orientation program include University personnel procedures for faculty and classified staff, especially those relating to appointment, reappointment, tenure, and promotion, the budget and planning processes, development of new degree programs, faculty governance relationships, relationships with other offices such as contracts and grants and with the administrative hierarchy, and other areas that are relevant to the department. In consultation with the departments and the vice chancellor for academic affairs, each dean may consider developing other types of programs and vehicles that will enhance the ability of the department chair to provide strong leadership.

b. Each campus chancellor, with the support and participation of the president's office, will be responsible for assuring that appropriate orientation programs are developed on the campus. The orientation programs may be presented on a campus-wide basis or by college or school. Each campus chancellor also will be responsible for developing formal mechanisms on the campus to assure that the program and management information necessary for the department chair to function effectively is provided to the department chair in a timely manner.

6. Compensation

a. Within budget limitations, the administration will make a commitment to provide a level of support to department chairs (including compensation and other forms of support) that makes the job of department chair more attractive and recognizes the value of strong leadership.

b. A special stipend or other form of compensation will be provided to department chairs to recognize the important leadership role they play.

B. Specific Statements Regarding Department Chairs (from Laws of the Regents)

The Laws of the Regents delegate the development of the working structure of a department to that department in consultation with the appropriate dean. Many departmental administrative structures thus exist, with the chair playing differing roles in each. In some, the chair may have broad authority for independent action; in others, many functions are delegated (to differing extents) to standing or ad hoc committees, which may be appointed or elected. In the case where department rules delegate such responsibility to such committees, the chair has the ultimate responsibility of ensuring that the committees carry out their functions in an equitable, efficient, and timely manner. It is understood in what follows that the duties and responsibilities described are thus to be interpreted in terms of the working rules of the individual departments.

1. Leader of the Department

a. The chair has the responsibility for providing leadership toward the achievement of the highest possible level of excellence in the teaching, research, and services activities of the department. The chair is expected to articulate the goals of the department, both within and without the department, to articulate the department's actions or requests in pursuit of these aims, and to maintain a climate that is hospitable to creativity and innovation. The chair has the responsibility to inform the department of the stances and actions of the dean and other administrators that might affect the department.

b. In the larger framework of the college or school, the chair, as a faculty member, has a special responsibility in representing the department in areas of formulation of educational policy and academic ethics, as provided in Article 4 of the Laws of the Regents.

c. The chair is ultimately responsible for the recruitment, selection, and evaluation of both the academic and the staff personnel of the department. In consultation with colleagues, and in consonance with the appropriate departmental procedures, the chair recommends appointments, promotion, merit increases, and terminations. The chair has the explicit responsibility to ensure that faculty members are aware of the departmental, college or school, and campus criteria prescribed for appointment, reappointment, promotion, and tenure, and to make appraisals and recommendations in accordance with the procedures and principles stated in the Laws of the Regents and the APS on Standards, Processes and Procedures for Appointment, Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion.

In the course of recruitment of new appointees or in relation to salary increases or advancement of incumbents, the department chair shall make no formal commitment as to rank and salary until such action has received final approval of the appropriate administrative office. The chair has the responsibility to be familiar with the state personnel system, and to ensure that staff are aware of departmental expectations and of state personnel system criteria for appointment, reappointment, job classification, and promotion.

d. The chair should be receptive to questions, complaints, grievances, and suggestions from members of the department, both academic and staff personnel, and from students. The chair has the responsibility to take appropriate action as required.

2. Administrator of the Department

As administrator of the department, the chair has duties that include the following, although special assignments may be added from time to time, and the dean or chancellor may specify additional duties. The chair is responsible for:

a. Assignment of teaching and other duties within the department consistent with appropriate FTE levels, and consistent with the concept that the appropriate mix of teaching, research or creative work, scholarship, clinical work, and service may differ from person to person, and from time to time in the career of an individual;

b. Preparation of the schedule of courses and of times and places for class meetings;

c. Arrangement and assignment of duty for counseling of students, and for training and supervision of teaching assistants and other student teachers and teacher aides;

d. Preparation of the budget and administration of the financial affairs of the department, in strict accordance with dollar and FTE allocations and in accord with University rules and procedures;

e. Recommendations of sabbatical leaves and other leaves of absence to the dean, and for ensuring that their scheduling is consistent with departmental needs;

f. Promptly reporting the resignation or death of any member of the department;

g. Custody and authorized use of University property charged to the department, and assignment of departmental space and facilities to authorized activities in accordance with University policy and campus rules and regulations;

h. Departmental observance of proper health and safety regulations, in coordination with the campus environmental health and safety officer;

i. Maintenance of records and of faculty and staff personnel files, and preparation of reports in accordance with the University and college or school procedures;

j. Enforcement of the "one-sixth" rule regarding outside compensation for consulting in accordance with regent and campus regulations;

k. Reporting to the dean, or appropriate administrators, whenever the problem cannot be expeditiously resolved at the departmental level any failure of an academic or staff member of the department to carry out responsibilities, and recommendation of appropriate remedial and/or disciplinary action.

In the performance of the duties listed above, the chair is expected to seek the advice of departmental faculty colleagues in a systematic way, to provide for the conduct of department affairs in an orderly manner through department meetings and the appointment of appropriate committees, and to keep department members informed of his or her actions in a timely manner. The chair is also expected to seek student advice on matters of concern to students enrolled in the department's programs. In large departments, the chair may be assisted by a vice chair or other colleagues in the tasks involved in carrying out his or her responsibilities, and, when desired, by an executive committee chosen in an appropriate manner.

C. Additional Professional and Ethical Obligations of Department Chairs, Not Expressly Set Forth Elsewhere.

A chair of a department is expected to perform his or her duties listed above according to the highest standards of professionalism. As a faculty member who also has administrative duties, the chair of a department has the professional rights of a faculty member set forth in Part I of this document. He or she necessarily also has the professional responsibilities of a faculty member and is subject to the ethical principles, limitations, and guides regarding faculty conduct set forth in Part II of this document. In particular, a department chair is expected to treat faculty members, staff, and students with understanding, dignity and respect. He or she is expected to avoid conflicts of interest, and to make academic and administrative recommendations or decisions strictly on the basis of the merits of the case in question, without discriminating against a faculty member, staff member, or student on political grounds or for reasons of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or ethnic origin, or for other illegal, arbitrary, or personal reasons.

A department chair should also be receptive, in the matters listed in Section III.A.1.d, above, to communications received from persons other than members of the department or students, if such other persons have a legitimate interest. The chair has the responsibility to take appropriate action as required in all such matters, and to notify complaining or other affected persons of the action taken. Department chairs are encouraged to manage or resolve conflicts through direct communication at the lowest appropriate level. If a faculty member disagrees with an action taken by the chair, the faculty member should raise the issue first with the chair in order to try to obtain resolution in a direct communication with the chair. (See Section II.C.1.e.) If the issue is referred to a higher administrative level, all parties involved should be duly informed and given copies of written communications and other documents submitted.


  • A. General Principles
  • B. Definitions
  • C. Procedures for Determining Unprofessional Conduct and Sanctions
  • D. Sanctions for Unprofessional Conduct
  • E. Reporting and Records
  • F. Review by Committee on Privilege and Tenure for Dismissal for Cause

PART V. APPENDICES [ pp 34 - 45 ]

  • Appendix A. Principles of Academic Freedom (From Laws of the Regents, Article 5, Part D)
  • Appendix B. Faculty Powers (From Sections 4.A.5 and 5.E.5 of the Laws of the Regents, 1990, as revised November 3, 2005)
  • Appendix C. Additional Policy Statements

Amendments to Professional Rights and Duties of Faculty Members and Roles and Responsibilities of Department Chairs may be initiated by the Boulder Faculty Assembly, the Provost, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Affairs, or the Chair of the Boulder Faculty Assembly. Amendments require the approval of the Provost.

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