University of Delaware
Policy Guide for Department Chairs and Academic Program Directors

Review And Evaluation Of Departmental Chairs And Academic Program Directors

The performance of each chair is reviewed annually and evaluated in depth periodically.  Chairs are evaluated in the context of their efforts to realize the specific goals agreed to by the department, the chair, and the dean.  They are evaluated in terms of their meeting the responsibilities and duties summarized above, and they are evaluated specifically in consideration of the criteria of evaluation outlined below in this document.

Annual Review of Chair

  • A regular annual review session with the department chair is scheduled by the dean.  The annual review does not reach the degree of formality or the depth of analysis and study envisioned for the periodic evaluation, and there are no requirements for extensive involvement of faculty, students, alumni, or persons external to the University for this review. If deemed helpful, however, the parties to the review may wish to expand the review to include some of these sources.
  • The annual review provides a critique of the past year, the current status of the department, and the development of plans and the identification of needs for the future.
  • The review provides the chair with useful insights and constructive criticism regarding the chair's performance, and an improved perspective on the department's development and mission in the college.  Additionally, it should provide the dean with information and insights to represent the needs of the department most effectively to the provost.  During the review, the dean may suggest to the chair new goals, priorities, policies, and procedures to help strengthen the department or improve its administration.
Periodic Evaluation of Chair

More intensive evaluations of chairs are scheduled at periods consistent with the five-year term of office.  The time of evaluation is toward the end of the penultimate year of the term of office.  An evaluation of the work of any department chair at other than the regular period may be initiated by the chair of the department, by the dean, by the provost, or by the president; in addition, such a review may be requested by a simple majority of the members of the department by petition to the dean.

  • Procedures for Periodic Evaluation
  • When the occasion of the periodic evaluation arises, the dean appoints an ad hoc evaluation committee.  Members of this committee are chosen after consultation with the department chair and other appropriate faculty in the unit and consist of faculty from the department, faculty from related departments, and students majoring or doing graduate work in the department. The dean appoints the chair of the committee.

    At its initial meeting, the ad hoc Periodic Evaluation Committee shall determine its specific mode of operation in light of these general guidelines and in conformity with the department's usual method of conducting such business (compare, for example, its review procedures for promotion and tenure decisions - see note #3).  While the operation of each committee may therefore vary somewhat, certain activities are incorporated in the operation of all committees. 

    • A study of the periodic statement of department goals made by each department is undertaken.
    • In-depth interviews with the chair, department faculty members, associate or assistant chair, and students are conducted.  Where appropriate, the committee may solicit information from agencies or individuals outside the department, college, or campus.
    • At the conclusion of the evaluation committee's review and just prior to the completion of its final report, a meeting involving the evaluation committee, the chair being evaluated, and the dean is held.  The purpose of this meeting is to discuss questions, perceptions, etc., with the goal of rectifying errors of fact or clarifying misperceptions of important issues before written statements are formally distributed.
    • The committee then submits a written report to the dean including specific recommendations and the evidence to support them. It makes available to the department chair a copy of the recommendations and a summary of the evidence it has presented to support them.  The committee takes all necessary precautions to protect the confidentiality of the sources of information and accepts no information whose source it cannot establish and verify.
    • The chair has seven days after receiving the copy of the recommendations and a summary of the evidence to comment in writing to the dean.  It remains the responsibility of the committee to assure appropriate confidentiality of all statements it has received from everyone interviewed or otherwise polled in its review procedures.
    • While the ad hoc committee is conducting its evaluation, the dean makes an independent evaluation of the chair based on previous annual reviews, consultations with other administrators and department chairs, and similar appropriate sources of information.  Both reports are forwarded to the provost and the president for their consideration and discussion.
    • After conferring with the provost and the president, the dean discusses the recommendations and the final report of the Periodic Evaluation Committee and the dean's evaluation with the department chair being evaluated.  In the event of a decision of nonreappointment of a chair, a meeting is held to discuss the reasons for nonreappointment.  The meeting usually includes the president, the provost, the dean, and the affected chair.  This meeting can be waived by the affected chair. The final decision on reappointment comes from the president or, as customarily delegated, the provost.

  • General Criteria for Periodic Review and Evaluation Committees
  • In addition to any factors unique to the particular department, the evaluation and interpretation of the assessments supplied to the committee are to be made in light of consideration of the following categories and questions.


    1. What are the goals identified by the department, and to what extent have these goals been defined, planned for, or achieved by the chair's activities?
    2. What plans have been formulated in the department for attaining these goals?  Does the chair generate good departmental support for the goals?
    3. How adequately has the chair guided the development of individual faculty members or otherwise provided for their guidance?
    4. Is there evidence of the chair's concern for internal evaluations of change and of the ongoing programs of the department?
    5. How are priorities for the allocation of resources determined?  Is the chair instrumental in helping the department establish priorities and in fairly administering them?

    Success with Departmental Affairs
    1. Is the chair successful in maximizing program effectiveness in terms of resources available?
    2. Is the chair effective in to improving the quality of teaching in the department?
    3. Does the chair create and maintain an appropriate intellectual environment for the development of scholarship in the department?
    4. Does the chair encourage and support efforts in research and publication (or their professional equivalent) by members of the department?
    5. What evidence is there of improvement of quality of faculty, staff, and programs during the period being reviewed?  What is the state of faculty morale?

    Decision Making
    1. Do faculty and students have adequate opportunity for participation in the development of academic policy, or academic programs, and in other appropriate activities within the department?
    2. Within the context of (1) above, are the chair's decisions generally seen as fair and proper ones?  Is full responsibility taken for decisions whenever appropriate?

    Personal Qualities
    1. Overall, how effectively does the chair communicate with others in the department?
    2. What success (as departmental representative) has the chair had with administrative offices?
    3. What is the quality of the chair's teaching?
    4. What is the quality of the chair's scholarship?

Note #3:  The specific assessment documents to be used are selected by the departments and colleges involved.  They are distributed to the faculty in the department of the chair being evaluated; they are returned to the dean, and their confidentiality at the level of the dean is maintained.

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