Resources for New Chairs


In short, department chairs are responsible for:

  • leading their department by fostering a positive climate and facilitating long-range planning and innovation;
  • acting as a departmental representative and liaison;
  • overseeing departmental staff and faculty and managing personnel issues;
  • handling student or parental concerns and complaints;
  • handling and keeping RSE narratives;
  • managing faculty development and evaluation;
  • calling and running department meetings;
  • managing course scheduling;
  • certifying minors;
  • approving transfer credit;
  • managing and overseeing departmental facilities; and
  • managing the departmental budget.

For more information, see the Chair Responsibilities in Section 2.6 of the Faculty Handbook.

Reports and Data

  • At the start of each month, you should receive a budget report from Financial Services. Your building coordinator also receives these reports. If you’re on campus, you can drill down for further details about specific transactions. See this document for more details.
  • As a chair, you should be now able to look up any student in Self Service. One way to quickly find a student is to look up their ID number using Informer (see below) and then search in Self Service using this number.
  • You should also be able to login to Informer using your Allegheny email and password. With Informer, you can look up student information like ID numbers or advisors, run reports on class enrolment (current and historical), get lists of majors and minors in your department, and see which classes are being taught in your building. Your building coordinator also has access to Informer and can run reports for you. See this overview document for more information about using Informer.

Getting Started

  • Your department should have a department shared drive and a chair shared drive. During the chair transition, you should get access to both of these drives, which serve as the main repositories for all department materials. Take some time to familiarize yourself with their contents and reach out to the former chair if you have any questions.
  • Take a look at your departmental Common Practices document and Classroom Observation Policy. If you can’t find your department’s observation policy, take a look at this collection.
  • There are chairs meetings roughly once per month during the academic year and these are typically held over lunch on Fridays. You’ll receive a list of the dates from the Provost’s Office and they are also included in the Provost’s Office Important Dates calendar (see these instructions to add this calendar to your Google account). The list of meeting dates is also posted on the Chair Resources page.

Useful Documents