College Department Chair Handbook Updated July 2018
Table of Contents
- Introduction - Chair Duties
- Department Chair Meetings
- Department Chairs and Program
- Monthly Reminder List
- Office of the Dean of the College Contacts
- Curricular Issues
- Working with Other Units on Campus
- Resources and Contacts
Serving as an academic department chair is both rewarding and challenging. You will discover opportunities to guide and lead meaningful work in your department, and you will face trials that test your abilities and patience. Your effectiveness as a chair depends a great deal on how you approach the position. Spending time at the beginning of your term to familiarize yourself with aspects of your department's administration and the greater University administrative framework is well worth the effort. This Handbook has been compiled to help facilitate that effort. It contains guidance about working with faculty, students, and staff; information about academic policies and processes that apply to chair work; and descriptions of resources that will alleviate the need to start from scratch every time a new issue comes across your desk.
As a department chair, you can expect to handle a variety of topics. Some of your areas of responsibility will have predictable schedules; others will monopolize your calendar with little warning. Specific work can be expected in a variety of areas: course planning and development, course schedules, registration, course evaluations, curriculum review, outcomes assessment, academic advising, career advising, personnel issues, faculty and staff reviews, tenure and promotion, faculty searches, strategic long-term and short-term annual planning, budgets, internal and external grants, alumni relations, and fundraising. Working closely with prospective students, interpreting and implementing University policies and procedures, and working closely with the Dean's Office will also constitute regular responsibilities. The College deans and the University Registrar, as well as the Provost's Office, Human Resources, and Career Development, will be your partners in this work.
Although the list of chair duties and demands on your time can seem daunting, remember that administrative work is and should be collaborative. Being a chair can feel like a lonely position in your department. On days when your department colleagues are griping, students are filling your e-mail in-box with complaints and demands, and various deadlines are flying at you left and right, remember that a wider network of support is available. Between your fellow department chairs and three deans, someone has likely experienced an analogous situation and can help put things in perspective. Please don't hesitate to ask us for assistance or advice.
Lena Hill, Dean of the College
Gwyn E. Campbell, Associate Dean of the College
Meredith McCoy, Associate Dean of the College
- September 17
- October 15
- November 12
- February 11
- March 4
- April 29
- May 13
|Art and Art History||Professor Andrea LePage||Caryl Bryant|
|Biology||Professor Helen l’Anson||Leigh Ann McCoy|
|Chemistry & Biochemistry||Professor Steve Desjardins||Brittany Carr|
|Classics||Professor Kevin Crotty||Sharon Kirk|
|Computer Science||Professor Ken Lambert||Carolyn Wingrove-Moore|
|East Asian Languages and Literatures||Professor Janet Ikeda||Jacque Bruce|
|English||Professor Genelle Gertz||Sandy O'Connell|
|Geology||Professor Lisa Greer||Sarah Wilson|
|German and Arabic||Associate Professor Debra Prager||Jacque Bruce|
|History||Professor Molly Michelmore||Kara Hemphill|
|Journalism and Mass Communications||Professor Toni Locy||Melissa Cox|
|Mathematics||Professor Alan McRae||Beedle Hinely|
|Music||Professor Greg Parker||Kati Grow|
|Philosophy||Associate Professor Paul Gregory||Beedle Hinely|
|Physical Education, Athletics, and Recreation||Professor Jan Hathorn, Athletic Director;
Associate Professor Neil Cunningham, Assistant Athletic Director
|Physics & Engineering||Professor Joel Kuehner||Tanya Bennett|
|Psychology||Professor Karla Murdock||Carolyn Wingrove-Moore|
|Religion||Professor Tim Lubin||Sharon Kirk|
|Romance Languages||Professor Matthew Bailey||Shirley Richardson|
|Sociology and Anthropology||Professor Sascha Goluboff||Peggy Herring|
|Theater and Dance||Associate Professor Shawn Paul Evans||Melissa Gualtieri|
|Program||Program Chair||Program Assistant|
|Africana Studies||Associate Professor Mohamed Kamara||Shirley Richardson|
|East Asian Studies||Professor David Bello||Kara Hemphill|
|Environmental Studies||Professor Robert Humston||Joy Swartz|
|Center for International Education||Professor Mark Rush||Patrick Sheridan|
|Latin American and Caribbean Studies||Professor Jeff Barnett||Shirley Richardson|
|Medieval and Renaissance Studies||Associate Professor Holly Pickett||Sandy O'Connell|
|Middle East and South Asia Studies||Professor Tim Lubin||Sharon Kirk|
|Neuroscience||Associate Professor Fiona Watson||Leigh Ann McCoy|
|Pre-Law||Professor Robert Culpepper, Professor Lucas Morel||Lorri Olan|
|Russian Area Studies||Professor Anna Brodsky||Jacque Bruce|
|Shepherd Poverty||Assistant Professor Howard Pickett||Shepherd staff|
|Teacher Education||Associate Professor Haley Sigler||Peggy Herring|
|Women's and Gender and Sexuality Studies||Professors Sarah Horowitz and Melinda Bell||Peggy Herring|
|Writing||Visiting Associate Professor Florinda Ruiz||Sandy O'Connell|
This list may include items that don't apply to all departments in a given year. Please send suggestions for updates or changes to the Dean's Office.
Search timelines may vary by discipline - the reminders on this list are not hard deadlines.
- Assist new and visiting faculty arriving on campus and remind them to complete all Human Resources paperwork.
- Performance Review System (PATH) opens for staff to begin annual evaluation.
- Review previous fiscal year operating budget, identify savings and problem areas to monitor.
- Review spending from discretionary (12) accounts and plan for new fiscal year.
- Remind new and visiting faculty about Faculty Orientation, New Employee Orientation and Fall Academy (see Fall Academy website). Several sessions in the second week are mandatory for new faculty.
- Remind department faculty about Fall Academy and encourage attendance.
- Remind all faculty to submit copyright permissions to Peggy Herring (if not done already).
- Identify faculty staffing needs for the following academic year (based on anticipated sabbatical leaves, searches, and retirements) and consult with the Dean for approvals to proceed with searches. (For tenure-track hires, the Dean must consult with the Provost.)
- Searches: Begin planning for authorized upcoming searches; compose ad, plan advertising and share ad text and budget with the Dean.
- T & P: Final notice to the Dean regarding associate professors to be recommended for promotion to professor is due in late August (check Provost's Office website).
- Registration and Courses
- Work with University Registrar and the Dean's Office to address last minute classroom and other registration issues.
- Monitor course section enrollments and course enrollments for first-year students.
- Work with the Dean on under-enrolled courses and overload requests.
- Check in with Lauren Kozak, Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources about placement exams and academic accommodations.
- Process requests for transfer credits.
- Remind senior colleagues planning to enter phased retirement that a letter is due to the Dean by the end of the month.
- Remind faculty about pre-approvals and other conference travel procedures, including itemized receipts.
- Remind faculty planning international trips to register in the Terra Dotta database.
- Searches: Convene faculty to finalize hiring plans, if appropriate. Place ads, identify search committee, and establish deadlines. (The Dean will convene all department chairs with searches in September to review procedures.)
- T & P: Review Promotion and Tenure timeline on Provost's Office website. Schedule meetings with junior colleagues up for pre-tenure review or tenure to discuss timeline and overall plan. (The Dean will convene all department chairs with tenure and promotion cases, and first or second pre-tenure reviews in September to discuss process and timeline.)
- Notify the Dean of any additions or changes to the promotion and tenure cases for the coming year.
- Finalize tenure and promotion committees in consultation with the Dean, if necessary.
- Leaves: Remind tenured faculty returning from sabbatical leave that they should submit a leave report to the Dean with a copy to the Provost by the end of the month as well as a five-year plan to both you and the Dean. Untenured faculty returning from pre-tenure leave must also submit a report.
- Registration and Courses
- Meet with department faculty to review course offerings (for fall, winter or spring) and to prepare any C&D submissions. (The Dean will send out a memo with all C&D deadlines for the year.)
- Undergraduate winter course offerings due to C&D for approval. C&D only accepts proposals from chairs.
- Undergraduate winter course offerings requested by Registrar (see Registrar deadlines).
- Inform the Dean and Registrar of full list of planned spring term courses.
- Look ahead to departmental study abroad courses for spring term of the following academic year; check the International Education website for process and submission deadlines.
- Staff tables for the Academic Fair.
- Check in with senior thesis or honors students to verify their plans and to encourage early contact with their advisers.
- Ask faculty to identify sophomores and juniors who should apply for Goldwater, Boren, Truman, and Udall fellowships, and seniors who should apply for the NSF GRFP. Contact Associate Dean Campbell with names.
- Discuss Winter Holiday plans with staff and finalize schedule. CTO must be used by staff if department is closed on days not designated as official holidays.
- Leaves: Remind faculty that summer Lenfest grant reports are due to the Provost with a copy to the Dean (see Provost's Office website for deadline).
- Remind eligible faculty of sabbatical leave application deadline in early November.
- Remind faculty who will be teaching spring term abroad courses to review the export control guidelines (Code of Policies website).
- Prepare capital budget requests for next fiscal year. Look for an announcement with procedures and deadlines. Associate Dean McCoy will work with departments on requests.
- Registration and Courses
- New undergraduate spring course offerings due to C&D for approval.
- Undergraduate spring course offerings requested by and due to Registrar (see Registrar deadlines).
- Undergraduate winter course offerings due to Registrar (see Registrar deadlines).
- Work on any changes to the major or minor - major changes should be approved by the February faculty meeting (see C&D memo).
- Registration for winter term opens.
- Staff Parents and Family Weekend events.
- Approve applications for students studying abroad in winter term (see International Education website for deadline).
- Remind faculty that Summer Research Scholar STEM applications are due starting in November (see Provost's Office website for deadline).
- Performance Review System (PATH) Mid-Year Window opens.
- Submit for approval all faculty staffing requests for next academic year. Review possible replacement faculty needs for next year and consult with the Dean.
- Searches: Review applications and begin to narrow pool.
- Registration and Courses
- Submit fall term scheduled exam times and days to University Registrar (see Registrar deadlines).
- Submit reappointment/non-reappointment letters and files to the Dean for first pre-tenure reviews by the established deadline. The December deadline applies to faculty whose appointment expires in June and who have fewer than two years of service on the faculty.
- Remind faculty to use the revised Faculty Activities Report (FAR) form and submit their completed FARs to you and the Dean by the January deadline.
- Remind faculty that Lenfest Grant applications are due in January and to use application portal on the Provost’s website.
- Searches: Interview semi-finalists for new hires and begin planning for finalist visits to campus. Remember that all finalists coming for campus interviews must meet with the Dean - schedule those dates well in advance.
- T & P: Tenure and promotion files must be completed and submitted to the department chair by December 1.
- Leaves: Faculty with leave applications will be notified by the Provost. Review replacement faculty plans with the dean.
- Make sure collection of data for assessment of appropriate fall term FDR courses is complete at this point (Foundational courses only).
- Remind faculty that non-STEM Summer Research Scholar applications for rising seniors writing senior theses are due in late January (see Provost's Office website for deadline).
- Lenfest Grant applications are due this month (see Provost's Office website for deadline).
- Faculty Activities Reports (FARs) due to the Dean with a copy to you.
- Begin to set up individual meetings with faculty members to review FARs and course evaluations.
- Searches: Begin to bring finalists to campus and make recommendation for hiring to the Dean. Please check on the Dean's availability to meet with finalists. (The hiring season can run from January through March.)
- T & P: Tenure and promotion files are reviewed by committee members. The committees meet and vote. The committee letter is written and reviewed by the committee. The candidate has the right to respond.
- Begin working on operating budget for next fiscal year and set up a meeting with Associate Dean McCoy if necessary.
- Registration and Courses
- Begin work on any changes to catalog copy distributed by Scott Dittman. Submit requests to C&D for catalog changes, if necessary.
- New undergraduate fall term courses due to C&D for approval. C&D only accepts proposals from chairs.
- Remind faculty that Student Summer Independent Research (SSIR) applications are due in late February to the Dean of the College (see Student Opportunities website for details).
- Approve student applications for spring study abroad (see International Education website for deadline).
- Write FAR reviews and set appointment to discuss with the Dean. Submit FAR reviews in advance of the meeting, sticking to the timetable in the Dean's email.
- Finalize short-term faculty needs for next academic year (e.g. number of adjuncts and/or visitors needed), and work with the Dean to begin searches.
- T & P: Complete promotion and tenure reviews and submit to the Dean (check Provost's Office website for deadlines).
- Operating budget requests for next fiscal year due. Look for an announcement with procedures and deadlines.
- Registration and Courses
- Submit to University Registrar changes for catalog copy (check deadline on Registrar's website).
- Undergraduate fall course offerings requested by Registrar (see Registrar deadlines).
- Registration for spring term opens.
- Schedule honors thesis defenses.
- Approve student applications for summer study abroad (see International Education website for deadline).
- Begin planning for any commencement-season events and notify Scott Dittman to add to Commencement schedule.
- Schedule Baccalaureate and Commencement day activities, including caterers, locations and times.
- Remind retiring faculty that they should contact Deborah Stoner in HR to review benefits after retirement.
- Registration and Courses
- Spring term study abroad proposals for next year due to International Ed Committee (see Provost's Office website for deadline).
- Submit winter term scheduled exam times and days to University Registrar (see Registrar deadlines).
- Registration for fall term opens.
- Staff Johnson Scholarship events.
- Approve students' applications for fall-term and full-year study abroad (see International Education website for deadline).
- Performance Review System (PATH) Year-End Window opens
- T & P: Faculty up for tenure and/or promotion notified of the Advisory committee’s recommendations this month. Be prepared to assist if there are follow-up actions necessary.
- Leaves: Work with faculty who will be on leave in the next year to transfer responsibility and files of their advisees.
- Review current operating budget status for the academic/fiscal year. Plan spending for the remainder of the fiscal year. Notify Associate Dean McCoy of any anticipated deficits.
- Registration and Courses
- Spring term study abroad proposals for next year due to C&D (see Provost's Office website for deadline).
- Ask faculty to help identify juniors in department who might qualify for Rhodes, Luce, Marshall, Gates, Fulbright, or Mitchell grants, or other graduate fellowships. Contact Associate Dean Campbell with names.
- Make sure collection of data for assessment of appropriate winter term FDR courses is complete at this point (Foundational courses only).
- Report to the Dean on any new personnel changes for the next fiscal or academic year.
- Report to the Dean on any new personnel changes for the rest of the academic year or beyond. Remind faculty that if they are planning to retire, they should officially notify you by email detailing those plans.
- Notify Associate Dean McCoy of anticipated new and visiting faculty space needs.
- Consult with the Dean regarding self-study or external review of department if due in coming year.
- Encourage participation at Baccalaureate and Commencement and department events.
- Capital budget approvals will be announced this month.
- Registration and Courses
- Submit spring term scheduled exam times and days to University Registrar - see Registrar deadlines.
- Submit to University Registrar names and grades of honors students/thesis writers/thesis titles (check deadline).
- Designate students for honorary awards and citations. Notify the Registrar.
- Collect all data for assessment of graduating cohort of major or minor students.
- Check in with Associate Dean McCoy to confirm office assignments and computers for new and visiting faculty for the next academic year.
- Submit reappointment/non-appointment letters and files to the Dean for second pre-tenure reviews. The early June deadline applies to faculty whose appointment expires in June and who have served two or more years on the faculty.
- Complete annual evaluation letters for non-tenured faculty not undergoing second pre-tenure review. Meet with faculty at your discretion. Submit letter to the Dean.
- Salary letters are mailed by HR in early June; increases are effective July 1.
- Remind faculty traveling to conferences in June that all travel reimbursement paperwork must be submitted to the Dean's Office - no later than the end of the fiscal year (June 30).
- Remind faculty traveling domestically with students during the summer to submit an itinerary with emergency contact information to the Dean's Office and require all students to sign Agreements of Responsible Travel or other appropriate release forms.
- Review final operating budget for end of fiscal year. If necessary, make arrangements to transfer funds from department discretionary account to cover anticipated overage.
- Complete analysis of departmental assessment instruments and submit report to the Dean's Office and the Institutional Research Office by July 1 (FDR and student learning outcomes for graduating senior cohort completing majors and minors).
- Dean of the College
- Faculty hiring and recruitment; tenure, promotion and annual reviews of faculty; faculty leaves and retirements, including pre-tenure leaves; Lenfest grants; department and program assessment and external reviews; teacher-scholar development cohorts; curricular development through the Committee on Courses and Degrees.
Gwyn E. Campbell
- Associate Dean of the College and Professor of Spanish
- Fellowships; First-Year seminars; summer school/study abroad credit.
- Associate Dean of the College
- College space issues (planning, allocation, projects); College budgets and spending (operating, capital or discretionary accounts); College staff (hiring, performance development, day-to-day administration); College Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs); faculty conference travel approvals; academic advising.
- Executive Assistant to the Dean of the College
- Mini-grants; C&D proposals; faculty search expenses; Dean's Office website; FAR form submission; expenses for teacher-scholar development cohorts and pre-tenure leave; ESP charges and coding.
Virginia (Jinky) Garrett
- Executive Assistant
- Faculty conference travel vouchers; faculty searches (hire letters, housing requests); ESP charges and coding; scheduling appointments for all three deans/managing calendars; global medical policy (international travel insurance) for faculty and staff.
Assessment and accreditation activities are administered by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (IE). Assistant Provost Bryan Price leads that office and works directly with department and program chairs to plan and assess student learning outcomes as well as internal and external reviews. IE staff also administer internal and external surveys and collect data for external initiatives, like the Common Data Set, and internal uses, like the Academic Indicators Dashboard and the Fact Book.
Bryan Price and Kristy Crickenberger should be considered a valuable resource for you as a department chair. Department chairs are not expected to possess comprehensive knowledge and experience in higher education assessment. More likely, familiarity is limited to previous department practices and/or methods used by colleagues at other institutions. You should make full use of the IE Office to learn about current assessment practices and how data collected during assessment can assist in evaluating current department practices as well as aid in future department curriculum planning. There is no point spending a lot of time and effort on assessment (or convincing your colleagues to do so) when IE resources are readily available.
The Dean and Assistant Provost should have your Curricular Coordinator form for each major and minor program. You may delegate curricular coordination to a department colleague if it falls well outside your expertise and experience.
External Reviews and Reports
Once every ten years each department and program at W&L undergoes self-study, followed by a visit from external evaluators. Materials assembled for review include annual assessment reports, course syllabi, and documentation of curricular change undertaken over the prior decade. The faculty discuss areas that need work and make suggestions for the future. Every department or program member should be involved in the self-study discussions, although the chair has the responsibility of writing up and submitting the document to the Dean of the College office. If you are not certain when your department last underwent a self-study, look around on shelves and departmental drives for the documentation, or contact the Dean's Office. External evaluators come in the second year or second term, read the assembled materials, meet with the Dean and department members, and offer a written report with candid recommendations. The guidance that comes out of these exercises is invaluable in planning for change and development. Reasonable costs associated with the visit of external evaluators are covered by the Dean's Office. Modest stipends for the external visitors are paid upon receipt of the report.
All members of the University community are expected to adhere to United States Copyright Law and to follow Washington and Lee's Policy for the Use of Copyrighted Work. As a department chair, please make sure that all new visiting and full-time faculty understand their responsibilities for obtaining copyright permissions and also remind faculty in your department to submit copyright permission requests for every academic term. The University provides assistance with obtaining copyright permissions for courses. Faculty members are responsible for seeking permission to use copyrighted material for their own publications or presentations.
Faculty are responsible for reviewing the University policy to determine which category of the Photocopying Guidelines for Teaching and Research applies to course material. Faculty should not assume that fair use exempts their course materials from copyright laws - not all educational use is fair use. Any member of the University community who willfully disregards the copyright policy does so at his/her own risk and assumes all liability.
Copyright permissions apply to all coursepacks as well as Sakai. Faculty members planning to re-use coursepacks must still obtain permissions. Copyright also applies to films, video, visual images, music, computer software and electronic materials.
Copyright permissions for all W&L undergraduate academic courses are administered by Peggy Herring, Senior Administrative Assistant, email@example.com or x8798. An online permissions request form and information about copyright permissions is available on the Provost's website, https://www.wlu.edu/provost/resources-for-faculty/policies-and-guidelines/copyrights-for-course-materials.
One of the biggest challenges for administering copyright permissions is last-minute requests. At the beginning of every term, faculty who waited until the last minute submit emergency permissions requests. Chairs need to make sure faculty understand that copyright permissions take time and that planning in advance is imperative. Copyright permission must be obtained prior to the beginning of an academic term.
Faculty should also know that the University prohibits students from recording classes without the advance written permission of the instructor, except in cases where W&L is required by law to provide for recording of a class as a reasonable accommodation for a qualified student with a disability.
All credit-bearing courses must culminate in student course evaluations that adopt the standardized questions agreed upon by departments and programs. All W&L College departments and programs have a standardized set of questions, to which faculty may add but not subtract. If a faculty member chooses to use an online evaluation form, efforts should be made to attain the highest possible rate of participation. Opting out of end-of-course evaluation is not permitted.
W&L student course evaluations are anonymous; they are administered in the absence of the professor and delivered to the designated department or program administrative assistant, who copies a set for departmental records. Student workers must not be involved in copying confidential course evaluations.
Associate Registrar Barbara Rowe sends all department and program chairs information about building course schedules via e-mail. The process usually begins in February for the fall term, in September for winter term, and in October for spring term. Course offering data is entered into a spreadsheet distributed by Barbara Rowe. Unlike previous years, the spreadsheet is no longer pre-populated with course offerings; you will need to build the course schedule and return the spreadsheet to the Registrar’s Office by the specified deadlines. The Registrar staff will then construct the entire undergraduate term schedule and return a second spreadsheet for proofing.
When building your course schedules, please make every effort to distribute offered classes throughout the entire academic day (8 AM to 5:35 PM). This maximizes available classroom space and gives students more options to avoid conflicts. Faculty are expected to teach during any of the standard time slots offered in the academic day. In the event of personal or family scheduling conflicts, departments are expected to resolve those internally and to establish a system for rotating priority or compromise. If a department schedule is submitted with most classes listed during the traditionally popular mid-day hours, you will be asked to move course times to whatever slots remain open.
Faculty should be reminded about upcoming C&D deadlines for course proposals to ensure that courses can be offered when intended. Faculty need to communicate any special needs or preferences to you when the course schedule is being built. You also need to verify course enrollment caps for every course and make sure the numbers are listed accurately on the spreadsheet. It is very difficult for the Registrar's Office to move classes after the term schedule is constructed. Errors in enrollment caps or omissions of particular needs affect classroom assignments and place a heavy burden on the Registrar’s Office as well as other faculty who are often forced to move their own courses to correct these issues. As chair, you should distinguish between pedagogical needs and personal preferences for classroom space. There are no space guarantees and personal preferences cannot dictate classroom assignments. Also note that technology needs should be substantive in nature and not for convenience. For example, departments should vet the courses where Tegrity is most essential and not just a preference to record lectures for students who are absent.
As department chair, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure the course schedules are completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office no later than the set deadlines. In some departments, administrative assistants are delegated many of the initial course building duties. Even in those cases, the chair must provide oversight. When department course schedules are not submitted on time or submitted with incomplete information, all other aspects of course planning and registration are delayed.
Petitions to the Committee on Courses and Degrees
As chair, you should initiate curricular proposals to C&D for proposed changes to an academic major or program, changes that affect FDR requirements and courses, substantive changes to current courses and deletions of old courses, proposals for new academic majors or programs, departmental policies concerning transfer credit that don't match institutional policy, etc. The critical deadline for curricular proposals, especially changes to departmental or program requirements, is in January to allow for adequate time for committee consideration and a faculty vote before the mid-February catalog deadline. Please consult the Proposal Guidelines for Creating or Altering a Major or Minor on the C&D website.
Your role as chair may also involve supporting petitions to C&D from faculty in your department, other department or program chairs, and students. Make sure a C&D faculty petitioner utilizes the appropriate C&D petition form (C&D website) and the petition materials follow the guidance for syllabi (also on the C&D website). Student petitioners are asked to write a letter directly to C&D explaining the circumstances and rationale for a request. Students should provide copies of the petition letter to their academic adviser(s) and department or program chair, and the course instructor if appropriate, in order to seek endorsement. It is usually a good idea to ask the student to send a copy of the petition letter before it is submitted to C&D so faculty can provide guidance on the clarity of the request. All faculty supporting statements should be submitted directly by email to C&D at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is the student's obligation to make sure such faculty endorsements or recommendations have been submitted to C&D, not yours as chair.
Most department and program chairs rely to some degree on Administrative Assistants to help prepare for and run Registration, but the system does require the chairs' active involvement. For example, names of students who have been granted Instructor Consent may be entered by an Administrative Assistant, but altering limits is normally done by Chairs. Chairs should be prepared to set and alter limits on courses throughout the days of active registration. Prompts from the Registrar's Office will serve as reminders.
The best way to prepare for Registration is to attend one of the numerous training sessions run by the Registrar's Office and to read with care the memos guiding chairs through the process. During Registration, a chair or a delegate should be available to consult with faculty and students. Being off campus during Registration, while sometimes unavoidable, can result in protracted issues. Chairs who must be absent during some of the days of Registration should delegate authority and leave clear plans for their delegates. Checking email helps resolve problems before they become too difficult to manage. Students whose problems cannot be resolved by either faculty advisers or chairs should be sent to the crisis management center, usually in the Williams School, or to the Registrar's Office.
After Registration has run, Chairs should encourage departmental faculty to actively manage their waitlists, assigning high numbers to students who ought to be given the first offers of open seats in a course.
100-300-level courses in the College normally require enrollments of at least five students to run. Consult with the Dean of the College for strategies to enhance enrollments, but please realize that courses with fewer than five students can be cancelled. A faculty member may teach a different course in the upcoming term if it attracts enough students or may promise an extra course for another semester. There is no one formula for dealing with under-enrolled courses, but patterns may suggest a need for a curricular adjustment. This is a discussion that a chair has with the Dean if a pattern of under-enrollment occurs over several terms.
As a reminder, the academic advising system at Washington and Lee should:
- Provide resources for students as they seek not only to meet graduation requirements, but also to become liberally educated human beings, well-developed in both intellect and character;
- Encourage students to take responsibility for their own educations and academic actions;
- Foster conversation among students and faculty beyond the classroom; and
- Help students to explore and serve a larger world through study abroad, community service, postgraduate education, and the commencement of productive careers.
As a department chair, you will be responsible for your own advisees and also for overseeing the advising by colleagues in your department. This includes facilitating the fair and equitable distribution of advisees, ensuring the availability of faculty for student advising, making sure that advisees are assigned to another faculty member during leaves and after retirements, and fielding questions and issues that surface during the registration periods. You may also serve as a general advising resource for parents, prospective students, and/or prospective majors.
The Student Information Spreadsheet (SIS) managed by the Registrar's Office is now available to authorized end-users through the Entrinsik Informer reporting tool (accessed through SharePoint). This searchable document is the best source for knowing how many advisees each of your faculty currently carries. As department chair, you may reassign advisees from one faculty member to another by writing directly to the Registrar. This is the best way to avoid stranded advisees in a panic at the time of registration because they have just noticed that their advisers have gone on sabbatical.
The Associate Provost has responsibility for the overall academic advising program. Prior to the start of the academic year, the Associate Provost, in coordination with the Office of Student Affairs, will arrange the First-Year Advising schedule. Please communicate any important changes to your major requirements or announcements affecting First-Year course schedules to Associate Provost Youngman. Additional information about academic advising is available on the Office of the Provost website.
The Degree Audit is an advising tool designed to assist students in planning for graduation. It matches the courses the student has previously taken, or is currently taking, or is registered for, to W&L degree requirements. It can be customized with specific waivers or substitutions by written notification from the appropriate department or program chair to the University Registrar's Office. The Degree Audit is not an official transcript, but an evolving evaluation of credits appropriate to a student's degree requirements. In most departments, only the chair can request an adjustment of a student's degree audit, but some departments designate a Degree Audit Officer. If you delegate that responsibility, you need to make sure that the faculty member fully understands curricular requirements. The Registrar's Office also needs to be informed about your delegate. In either case, individual advisers who find mistakes or omissions in a student's Degree Audit must send an email requesting the change through either the chair or the departmental Degree Audit Officer. The Registrar's Office does not make changes at the request of individual faculty advisers.
In the past several years, the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) has received increasing numbers of requests for course overloads and has begun to reject appeals for overloads not justified by special circumstances (*see list below). Rather than being used occasionally or moderately to address a specific course offering or other curricular issue, some students are routinely submitting these requests as a way to complete multiple majors and/or minors within a specified time frame (including graduating on "time" with classmates). Because many of these extreme overloads are being requested by high-achieving, talented and seemingly capable students, faculty advisers don't always consider all of the ramifications. Unfortunately, students taking significant course overloads frequently show signs of stress and anxiety especially after the first week or two of the term when the workload starts to become more than they anticipated. At times, these students have had to seek counseling treatment and even pursue medical course drops because they are so overwhelmed. Choosing to take too many courses is just that, a choice - students do not merit special treatment or disability accommodations when they find themselves falling behind or earning grades they do not consider acceptable. Faculty guidance and a frank discussion of the pros and cons of overloads is important. Encourage students to audit the extra course, if the faculty member agrees.
*FEC list of permissible reasons for overload requests: regular term for summer internship credit; one-time effort to retake a failed course after re-establishing a positive academic trajectory; one-time effort to regain on-time graduation status due to changed plans; multiple four-credit courses within a normal four-course load; one-credit ensemble, applied lesson, performance, or studio coursework; independent research supervised by a professor; zero credit Law School courses for undergraduates.
Extreme course overloads can also have negative impacts on course offerings. Students on self-imposed "fast-tracks" place more pressure on faculty to be added to full courses or take up valuable seats needed by other students to complete their own coursework or degrees, particularly if these overload students subsequently drop classes after the initial add/drop period.
Students are expected to declare a major in early February of their sophomore year (see Academic Calendar for deadline). The schedule for major declarations is determined by the Registrar's Office and students must submit a "Declaration of Major/Minor/Adviser" form, to be signed by the major adviser and by the department/program chair. Once a major or minor is declared, it must be completed or officially removed prior to graduation. A student may declare up to two minors only after declaring at least one major. A major and a minor may be declared simultaneously. Beginning with the Class of 2019, students are limited to three total declarations of major/minor combinations. When a student declares a major, he or she works out a course of study with an academic adviser(s) in the department. Students who elect more than one major must work out a course of study with a faculty adviser in each of the departments. Double majors do not necessitate dual degrees; beginning with the Class of 2019, dual degrees are not permitted.
For spring graduating seniors, declared degree, major(s), or minor(s) may not be changed after the end of the second week of Winter Term, except with permission of the Faculty Executive Committee.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the catalog, the faculty may change the requirements to satisfy any major after a student has commenced studies at the University. In this case, the student may be required to satisfy the revised major requirements in effect when the student declares the major.
The Student Information Spreadsheet (SIS) available through the Entrinsik Informer reporting tool is the most up-to-date source on who your declared majors and minors are at any given moment. This file also lists advisers, and you may use it to distribute advising responsibilities among your faculty. A department chair may ask the Registrar to switch a student from one faculty adviser to another within the department. It is up to the chair to inform advisees of the change.
Only work comparable to that at Washington and Lee in level, nature, and field may be accepted for degree credit. Up to two courses (6-8 credits) taken online may be used for degree requirements only with the permission of the department or program chair in the appropriate discipline or, if the discipline is not represented at Washington and Lee, from the appropriate Associate Dean of The College. Courses taken at community (or other similar 2-year) colleges or programs after original matriculation at Washington and Lee may not be used for degree requirements. No more than 56 of the 113 credits required for the W&L degree may be earned elsewhere or by any other means than through courses offered at W&L or through formal exchanges.
For students obtaining credit for off-campus study, it is the student's responsibility to have an official transcript or score report sent to the University Registrar. Approvals given by the appropriate department/program must be obtained and official transcripts or reports received by the University Registrar before the last day of classes of the first 12-week term completed by the student following the study off campus in the U.S. The form - Application for Degree Credit for Off-Campus Study in the U.S. - is available online from the Registrar's Office.
The approval of credit hours applied to major requirements and the level at which they are applied (100, 200, etc.) will be determined by the appropriate department/program chair or dean.
Credits approved as equivalent to a specific W&L course number will meet the same requirements as that course. Credits approved as non-equivalent electives may be applied to major requirements with permission of the department/program chair but will require a separate petition to the Committee on Courses and Degrees if the student wants them to meet FDR requirements. No strict correlation exists between contact hours in courses taken off campus and credit hours awarded by W&L. W&L does not award more credit for a program than that awarded by the host institution, as determined by the host's official transcript, regardless of what a department/program chair may approve.
For Summer Off-Campus Study, courses must be taken at a regionally accredited four-year college or university as verified by Dean Campbell. Students should seek the advice and approval of the appropriate department chair before enrolling in summer school courses. A maximum of four courses (14 credits) is allowed toward degree requirements for summer study. Of these, a maximum of two courses may be taken toward FDR requirements or used as cognates (elective courses meeting major requirements but outside the major subject) if taken for the first time. A maximum of two courses may be repeated. If a course is repeated in summer school, the previous grade will remain in the student's cumulative grade-point average. Students may receive degree credit only once for a repeated course. Grades for summer work do not have any effect on a student's grade-point averages. A student may not transfer back to W&L a course that is a specific prerequisite for a course that has already been taken.
If students wish to receive credit for courses taken in a summer program abroad, they should consult with the Center for International Education as early as possible in order to identify and apply to an appropriate program or school. The institution and the program must be approved by the International Education Committee and the applicant approved by Dean Campbell. A student must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.500. Except in unusual circumstances, approval by the International Education Committee must be given before the student undertakes summer study abroad in order to receive credit.
Undergraduate students may earn academic credit for participation in internships or in CPD 451, 452, or 453 that contribute toward learning as specified by an academic department in a 450-level course. The department is responsible for approving the internship in advance, designating a faculty supervisor, requiring interim and final reports, securing evaluations from work supervisors, ascertaining that the student worked full-time during the internship, assigning a grade for the course, and retaining records on each student's performance for evaluation purposes. Credits may be awarded to students for internships as follows: up to nine credits for winter or fall term; up to six credits for spring term, and up to three credits for summer/fall combined experiences. A maximum of nine credits of internship may be used to meet degree requirements.
Chairs in departments offering internships should also review the guidance information available on the General Counsel website.
Students may earn one non-degree credit per summer for a pre-approved qualified summer internship. The summer internship will be transcribed as a non-academic course without a grade. It will appear on the transcript as a summer entry in the year the internship is completed. Up to three non-degree credits will be transcribed. They will have no effect on the transcript totals of degree credit. The student must be currently enrolled with no outstanding incompletes. The student should submit an application form to Career Development and include sufficient documentation so that the internship can be vetted by Career Development staff for rigor and educational value. The student must also complete a Domestic Travel Internship Form and turn that in to Career Development prior to the internship. After completion of the internship, the student must submit to Career Development a statement from the employer that the internship has been completed successfully and that a minimum of 280 hours was worked.
If any of your faculty members are planning domestic field trips during the fall or winter terms or during the summer months, they will need to have each student complete an Agreement of Responsible Travel form - see the FORMS section. Signed forms should be kept on file with the course syllabus and other materials. Additionally, if the field trip involves more than a single overnight stay, or if this is a trip done annually and the same hotel is used each year, the faculty member should make sure that, in the off chance there is a crime reported to him/her as occurring in student rooms or common areas of the hotel, that information is reported to the W&L Public Safety office. For summer travel, faculty need to send a copy of the travel itinerary to the Dean's Office, along with emergency contact numbers (for the faculty member and each student). During the academic year, the travel itinerary and emergency contact numbers can be kept on file in the department.
Different forms are used for Spring Term travel or for International travel.
Disability accommodations (e.g., extra time on exams, a low distraction testing environment) come from Lauren Kozak, Title IX Coordinator/Director of Disability Resources - 1st Year and Law. Academic accommodations are granted in the form of an official accommodation letter that these students must present to faculty at the beginning of every term. Faculty should comply with the accommodations noted in the letter, but not go beyond those noted or beyond the scope of what has been granted (e.g. unlimited time on exams). Additional leniency, beyond those accommodations detailed in the letter, creates problems. In some cases, a struggling student (unbeknownst to faculty) may have been denied an accommodation because the condition was determined not to qualify under the ADA and University policy. If a student requests an accommodation from faculty based on a learning disability, ADD/ADHD or another diagnosis and does not have an official disability accommodation letter, the student should be referred to Lauren Kozak.
As a department chair, please remind your faculty members to be familiar with the disability accommodations policy and procedures and to understand their responsibility when students approach them with accommodation letters. This is especially important for new tenure-track and visiting faculty. They may be familiar with disability procedures on other campuses that are very different or they may not understand disability accommodations generally. Most importantly, please make sure faculty know that they should not grant accommodations on their own initiative. It is not the role of faculty to diagnose learning disabilities.
Disability Accommodations and Final Exams
It is the responsibility of all accommodation students to make arrangements for final exams directly with faculty no later than the last day of classes. Please remind faculty that creating and sending lists of accommodation student names is prohibited. Faculty may note on the exam envelope that a student will be picking up or turning in an exam at a non-standard time as long as the reason for doing so is not indicated. College faculty should also be aware that there are designated low distraction testing areas on campus and they do not need to make special reservations for student testing spaces outside of the department.
On occasion, students will miss classes due to physical or emotional health issues. All faculty should be made aware that the Student Health and Counseling Center (SH&C) no longer issues notes to students for excused absences. These absences are now handled through short-term adjustments that come via e-mail from one of the Associate Deans rather than directly from SH&C. In instances where all three academic associate deans are unavailable and time is of great importance, Vice President for Student Affairs Sidney Evans will serve as the point of contact. If faculty receive a request directly from someone on SH&C staff, they should confer with one of the academic associate deans before responding.
Some of the College academic departments and programs have discretionary funds (12 accounts) that support student prizes, awards and scholarships. As a department chair, you should closely review any documents associated with endowed funds or gifts and be mindful of any gift intent or restrictions. You should also check to make sure that you can see the discretionary fund in My Accounts (and the department administrative assistant has viewing rights). If you do not have any information in the department files about these discretionary funds or if there are problems with My Accounts, please contact Associate Dean Campbell.
Department chairs should also be aware of the potential impact of a cash prize on student financial aid. A student's financial aid package consists of any grant or scholarship money given by the University, outside scholarships received, and any parent or student loans. Many departments have elected to give books or other small tokens in lieu of cash in order not to impact student financial aid. This also keeps the focus of the prize or award on the merit of the student and the recognition of that student's accomplishments and potential.
As a department chair you can expect to be contacted about student issues by faculty and about grade disputes or faculty performance by students. Please keep in mind that your most effective role is that of a sounding board. There is value in listening and allowing faculty members and students to express themselves. What you should not attempt to do is identify a solution for every problem or take it upon yourself to respond personally. As the department chair, you must maintain an impartial attitude and keep the interests of the overall department in sight. You should not dismiss criticisms outright nor jump to conclusions without evidence. More often than not, you will be called upon to clarify and mediate. Remember that you can help those involved in disputes help themselves solve the problems.
Faculty should be counseled to resolve student issues in order to maintain appropriate control of their courses. If the problem appears to go beyond class specifics, academic or student affairs deans should be consulted or engaged. In the case of student complaints, your role will often be to simply explain to the student that the faculty member's decision stands. Asking to review the course syllabus often resolves student appeals quite effectively. Encourage faculty to have their grading policies in their syllabi.
It is in your best interest as well as the department's to be forthright, honest and approachable. Avoiding student or parent complaints only exacerbates the situation. In some cases, you may need to do some reconnaissance to rule out inappropriate or ignorant actions.
Department chairs frequently encounter a variety of issues related to struggling students. Sometimes students are having difficulty meeting course requirements due to issues that are easily resolved. In other cases, student struggles are more complex and involve physical and/or mental health issues. In past years, there has been a significant increase in the number of students struggling in one respect or another and in the complexity of these cases.
As a department chair, the odds are very high that you will be approached for advice by other faculty, particularly new or visiting faculty members. The following information is provided to help you address student crises.
Many faculty are very diligent in bringing struggling students to the attention of the academic and student affairs deans based upon observations from class. Others observe troubling behavior but feel unsure about who to contact and when. If there is any hint of academic performance problems, faculty should contact one of the academic associate deans: Elizabeth Oliver (Williams School) or Meredith McCoy who will work closely with the student’s class dean. This is important because the academic deans need to determine if the problems are particular to one course or more widespread. If a pattern of neglect or failure is beginning to surface, it needs to be identified early on. This is also why faculty should respond promptly to a student inquiry made by one of the academic deans.
Faculty should continue to hold the student responsible for meeting all course requirements and obligations. Granting requests for extensions on assignments or for make-up exams may seem compassionate, but they can actually complicate and compound the situation by delaying work for a student who is already struggling to keep up, often in multiple classes. As the work is deferred, it piles up even more, leading to academic gridlock. These extensions may also give the student a false sense of security. It is very common for a student to perceive academic difficulties as minor and something easily resolved. In reality, the student isn't willing to admit there is a problem and is even more reluctant to seek help or accept it.
In cases where students are struggling in the extreme, the deans overseeing such cases need accurate records of attendance. This is why all faculty are asked to keep accurate class-by-class attendance records whether attendance is factored into grades or not. Estimates of attendance without clear records present problems when evaluating administrative withdrawal cases.
Finally, faculty should be reminded that incomplete grades are for discrete, short-term issues with a clear resolution, not for prolonged inability to manage basic class expectations. If a student has shown a longer pattern of missed deadlines, failure to submit work, or other sorts of struggles, an incomplete is probably not warranted. Multiple incompletes only compound the situation for a student already in academic trouble. Again, good intentions on the part of faculty may translate into an insurmountable obstacle for the student, who in approaching three or four faculty members individually requests and receives that many incomplete grades.
You will probably have a blend of full-time faculty (tenured, tenure-track, 1-year visiting replacements) and possibly also part-time adjunct faculty in your department. Each category of faculty member requires different levels of mentoring and communication. You may choose to delegate primary mentoring of a new tenure-track faculty member or a 1-year visitor to an experienced tenured faculty member in your department. Regardless of mentoring arrangements, all new faculty members in the department, including adjuncts, should receive some level of orientation from you as chair. No faculty member should be left to figure things out on his or her own. Whether you choose to convey departmental expectations through meetings, one-on-one conferences, emails, or shared resources in binders or electronic files, all faculty should be included in dissemination of departmental norms and expectations.
Mentoring new, visiting and/or adjunct faculty about departmental expectations means that you have agreed-upon norms for practices such as office hours, handling of syllabi and course evaluations, administration of final exams, and so forth. If you find that your department lacks such consensus, it is a good idea to get all your faculty together to craft some shared policies. Some matters are non-negotiable; for example, all credit bearing courses must have syllabi with student learning objectives and an account of how student work will be evaluated, preferably with a schedule. Additionally, all faculty must hold office hours during teaching semesters, and a non-teaching Spring Term is not a sabbatical and still requires faculty presence.
All new full-time employees of the University (including full-time faculty) are asked to attend a general New Employee Orientation session, sponsored by HR. All new faculty (full-time and part-time) are asked to attend a New Faculty Orientation session, sponsored by the Provost's Office, during Fall Academy. New faculty should also be encouraged to attend a variety of Fall Academy sessions to become familiar with pedagogical and technological resources on campus.
Faculty orientation should not stop with Fall Academy. As department chair, you need to provide oversight and guidance to all new faculty teaching in your department. You should anticipate their needs and questions. Please to do not leave all new faculty details to support staff. While administrative assistants can help with directions on how to use the copier or fill out a Business Office form, they may not have complete information or sufficient knowledge to help with questions about courses or student interactions. More importantly, support staff should not be put in the awkward position of policing new faculty (copyright permissions for example) or receiving unreasonable orders or demands from new faculty. Spending some time at the beginning of the academic term with your new faculty and outlining for them the basics of department operations and culture can go a long way to saving time later on in the term. From the volume of introductory questions received by the Dean's Office from new faculty in recent years, it's clear that more orientation is necessary at the department level.
Potentially Hazardous Activity
On occasion, a new faculty member will be hired whose teaching or research areas involve potentially hazardous activity. This is most applicable to faculty in the sciences or fine arts. Potentially hazardous activity can include working with chemicals, equipment or materials that are regulated by federal and state laws; disposal of those chemicals, equipment or materials; safety hazards, fire hazards, and other environmental factors.
Chairs are responsible for identifying any teaching or research involving potentially hazardous activity and coordinating the work of the new faculty member with the existing campus framework of people and committees who manage compliance in these areas. Paul Burns is the Director of Environmental Health and Safety (Facilities) and chairs the University Safety Committee. The University also has a Chemical Hygiene Plan that applies to all faculty, staff, and student workers who work in laboratories and manipulate hazardous materials. The CHP has a valuable list of emergency contacts, including the name and phone number for the University Radiation Safety Officer and Chemical Hygiene Officer (Philip Trimmer).
Each year in January your full-time, tenure-track or tenured departmental faculty will fill out and submit a Faculty Activities Report (FAR), with a copy to you and a copy to Dean Hill. As chair, you should schedule a meeting with each departmental member to share your assessment of their work in three areas: teaching; research/scholarship/creative work; and service. While you need not share the evaluative paragraph that you will provide to the Dean in preparation for a conversation between chair and dean, the faculty member should come away with a clear sense of how he or she has done and where improvements might help earn a higher mark. A letter from the Dean will explain the annual process and set deadlines. You should expect to meet with the Dean by the end of March. The FAR evaluation contributes to decisions about raises, but the conversation you have with individual faculty is most important as an opportunity for mentoring.
Please see the Faculty Handbook for policies governing the review of untenured faculty, their tenure and promotion, and the promotion of associate professors to "full" professor rank. The chair ordinarily serves as the committee chair of a departmental tenure and promotion committee; in the case of a chair who is an Associate Professor and candidate for promotion to Professor, the Dean will appoint a committee chair, from the department if available, who is at the appropriate rank of Professor.
The chair is responsible for arranging teaching and advising resources to accommodate students while faculty are on leave. This may involve requesting resources from the Dean. Please see the Faculty Handbook for university policies governing leaves and retirements. Faculty on phased retirement are considered part-time. As such, they do not need to submit a FAR nor do chairs need to have a FAR conference.
Before the Search
The search committee must be familiar with relevant legal obligations and policies. General Counsel provides helpful information online.
The Provost and Director of HR encourage and support best practices in enhancing diversity through the hiring process. The Provost is available for consultation or any other kind of support in this effort.
- A full justification for the hire must be provided to the Dean before any position can be filled in the College. The Provost must approve of any tenure-line search. The justification must include the full department's feedback, as well as any departmental review materials that bear on the characterization of the position, including any decision to emphasize particular subspecialties within the field.
- A search committee is formed in consultation with the department chair and the Dean, ideally including 3 tenured faculty members in the department in which the appointment is to be made. The Dean reserves the right to add a representative to any search committee from outside of the hiring department. Senior level searches or those searches seeking to fill an endowed professorship require a Provost's representative on the search committee. The Provost or Dean may set other requirements for senior level searches. At the beginning of the process, the department chair or search committee chair should discuss expectations for anticipated support staff assistance with the administrative assistant and set a timeframe that takes into consideration other department administrative deadlines.
- A draft position advertisement is written which includes:
- title and rank of the position opening,
- job description (including any areas of particular interest that relate to cross-campus or interdisciplinary programs),
- application deadline,
- application instructions, and
- an equal opportunity employment statement: Washington and Lee University is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The ad must also say either "Washington and Lee and the Department of _______ are interested in candidates who are committed to high standards of scholarship and professional activities, and to the development of a campus climate that supports equality and diversity," OR "Women and minorities are encouraged to apply."
- To save space and expense in printed ads, you may want to direct applicants to a web address where they can find out more information about the position or department.
- The Dean must approve the final position advertisement. The Dean will forward the advertisement for review and approval by the Director of Human Resources.
- The search committee chair will review all advertising placements in professional journals and online resources with the Dean and will present an itemized advertising budget for approval. The search chair will also discuss strategies to attract applications from members of underrepresented groups.
For ads placed in the Chronicle or other major publications (including regional newspapers and most professional journals), the recommendation is to use the Graystone Advertising website at https://www.graystoneadv.com/academia.html Provide Graystone with the text of the ad and the names of the periodicals and dates to run the ads. Graystone should return a quote, and pending approval, place the ad(s). Graystone may not necessarily prove less expensive but may be much more convenient. Graystone can also offer advice on the ad's format and presentation.
- Recommended: Personal letters to leaders in the relevant fields and directors of graduate programs at selected institutions should be written in order to solicit nominations and encourage word-of-mouth publicity. A key feature of such letters should be to describe the campus, the culture of teaching, and the neighboring area so that faculty mentors will identify candidates for whom W&L will be a good fit. The Dean's office can provide some sample language.
- Once ads are placed, the search chair should provide the Dean with a brief search plan including the names of people involved in the search and the interview plan including anticipated travel to conferences. Conference travel for the purposes of recruitment does not count as professional conference travel, but the same procedure should be followed (submission of a travel request form and approval) to ensure proper tracking and budget management. No more than three members of the search committee may travel for interviewing. If a fourth faculty member will participate, that person will need to use professional conference travel funds to attend. The search plan submitted to the Dean should also include an approximate budget, a timetable and copies of all advertisements.
- Recommended: Send acknowledgments of receipt of applications to all applicants. An email will suffice.
- Once the application deadline has passed, the committee reviews all applications in order to narrow the pool to the most promising 8-12 candidates. At that point, the search chair should submit a brief report to the Dean. That report should include: basic information on the remaining candidates; data about total number of applicants, plus breakdowns of gender and minority representation (if candidates self-identify in the letter or cv); criteria used for identifying the list of candidates to be interviewed; and possible contributions to interdisciplinary programs from those candidates. If the entire pool of most promising candidates is composed of white males, please describe the credentials of the strongest woman and strongest member of an underrepresented group in the pool and offer a brief comparison of their qualifications to the candidates to be interviewed.
- Rejection letters should be sent to all applicants who will not be interviewed. Letters should be polite and brief and should not go into any detail about the selection process or criteria.
- The search committee then performs personal or Skype interviews with the list of remaining candidates. These interviews should be conducted by the end of the calendar year or as soon as possible thereafter. Although interviews should not follow a prescribed script, be sure to ask the same key questions to every candidate and strive for consistent and comparable treatment of all candidates. Interview summaries should be completed for all candidates so there is a brief written record of every person interviewed. A short evaluation form has been developed for the College - see the FORMS section. Ideally, interviews should not be conducted in hotel rooms, unless it is a suite. If a suite is available, please contact the Dean to receive permission for the additional expense, or find a neutral setting for the interview. If the interview must be conducted in a hotel room, at least three members of the search committee must be present, including at least one man and one woman.
Campus Visit Phase
- After the first-round interviews, the committee should narrow the pool to no more than three candidates to be invited to campus. The committee should meet with the full department to present those candidates and discuss their recommendations. The search chair should submit a brief report to the Dean about the finalists, including their potential to contribute to the University's diversity initiatives and/or interdisciplinary programs. In special cases where a competitive woman or minority candidate has been identified, but not as one of the top three candidates, the Dean may authorize funds for a fourth visit, but the Dean and Provost consider improving faculty diversity a primary objective of all searches, not an add-on.
- The search chair should request that each finalist arrange for an official transcript of his/her graduate school career to be sent to the committee.
- Visits to campus should then be scheduled, in consultation with the Dean's Office to make sure the Dean will be on campus and has a 30-minute appointment available. Visits to campus are typically one and a half or two days. Assist candidates with making travel plans that are convenient and economical. Arrange reservations at Morris House or Belfield, the campus guest houses; reserve a hotel room in town only if Morris House or Belfield are not available.
- At least 72 hours before the visit, please provide the Dean with a file on the candidate, including a copy of the cover letter, cv, letters of reference, and notes from earlier interviews.
- Rejection letters should be sent to any applicants who were interviewed but who will not be invited to campus. Letters should be polite and brief and should not go into any detail about the selection process or criteria. In some cases, the communications might not include an outright rejection, but might instead explain that, at this point, three candidates are being invited to campus but that the applicant remains in the search.
- Visits to campus should include: teaching an actual or sample class, making a presentation of their scholarship or research to departmental faculty and students (and faculty involved in appropriate interdisciplinary programs), brief visits with individual faculty in the department and related programs, a meeting with department students, and a 30-minute meeting with the Dean. A standard format should be used for documenting and evaluating all campus interviews. A campus interview evaluation form has been developed for the College to assist with this process - see the FORMS section.
- Meals should include no more than 4 W&L representatives in addition to the candidate (although requests for reasonable exceptions will be granted, especially if the department can chip in to assist with costs). Some visits include more private meals or coffee breaks with one or two faculty members who may have interest in the candidate or field, but who are not officially connected with the search process. Please do not send the whole department to every meal; itemized receipts for all search meals are required.
- The Dean's Office will pay for or reimburse all travel and food expenses of the candidate. All receipts must be collected and submitted on a disbursement voucher, rather than a travel voucher. The department administrative assistant should submit those reimbursement requests, plus all other itemized receipts for departmental expenses such as meals or receptions, to the Dean's Office with complete information including the candidate's name and the dates of the visit. Meal limits do apply and bar tabs (alcohol beyond meals/no food) will not be paid.
- The Dean's Office will provide a packet of information about Lexington/Rockbridge and employee benefits to the candidates. Your administrative assistant may pick up copies at the Dean's Office to distribute during campus interviews.
- The search committee should consult with all department faculty members and appropriate faculty members representing interdisciplinary programs in order to rank the finalists in order.
- Recommended: Once the preferred candidate is identified, designated search committee members should make one or more reference phone calls to persons who submitted written recommendations on behalf of the candidate, or to other persons at the institution or in the field who are likely to know the candidate and his or her work well enough to offer helpful comments. An important question for dissertation advisers: "When will your student finish doctoral work?" All reference checks should be documented on the College faculty search reference form - see the FORMS section.
- The chair then submits the committee's recommendations to the Dean, including feedback from faculty and dissenting views.
- The Dean will review the recommendations and may consult with the Provost before making an offer to the leading candidate. The Dean reserves the right to make that final selection and to enter into negotiations with the candidate, and also to decide not to make an offer if the search does not yield a suitable candidate. The Dean writes and sends the formal offer letter after a verbal acceptance.
- Once the candidate accepts the position, the search chair will contact the other finalists first by phone and then with a follow-up letter informing them of the outcome of the search. If the process takes more than a week or two to reach a successful conclusion, the chair may want to make informal contact with the other finalists-especially those who may be plausible second choices-to keep them informed.
- At early stages, if candidates inquire about salary, respond that W&L salaries are competitive compared to our peer group of liberal arts colleges. Discussions with finalists may include more detail after consultation with the Dean.
- For beginning assistant professors, mention that new faculty can expect to receive a Lenfest Grant in the summer after the first year of teaching if they submit a reasonable proposal.
- Be sure, if you discuss benefits, that you make clear that faculty joining the university will be eligible for the 50% tuition benefit for children after 5 years at W&L, without asking directly if candidates have children!
- Record-keeping: Search records, including the candidates' vitae, cover letters, letters of recommendation, interview evaluation forms, and reference forms, must be retained for 3 years following the conclusion of the search process. However, private and unofficial notes or communications should be discarded-unless there is a reason to anticipate litigation. Committees and individuals must be careful about the written records they create; those records would be subject to discovery if a lawsuit was filed. Even if they do not indicate bias or discrimination, they may still reflect badly on W&L if disclosed. If your final candidate needs immigration work to get a visa, you may need detailed records of virtually everything about the search. Recommended: make a folder with this checklist and keep a copy of every stage of the process.
- Airfare: Please don't ask candidates to buy their own airplane tickets. If possible, search for less expensive flights online. Ask the Dean's Office for advice about what cheap airfare consolidators also produce receipts that work for the Business Office. Put the charge on a University Card and code it AAAAAA. A less desirable option is to have candidates book their own flight and get reimbursed (see reimbursement notes below). It is sometimes easier for the candidate to arrange travel around their own schedule, but please review the cost before telling the candidate to purchase tickets.
- Accommodations: First try to arrange for the candidate to stay at the Morris House or Belfield. The university only charges us $70/night for departmentally sponsored stays at Morris and $95/night for Belfield. If both houses are booked, call the Sheridan Livery Inn - their room rate is $89/night.
- Transportation to/from Airport: The most economical option is to have a member of the department pick the candidate up and drive him or her to and from the airport. We know this is not always possible or the most convenient; however, remember the driver gets reimbursed for mileage. Not to mention, this is a great time to get to know the candidate one-on-one. Hiring a driver is another option. It is more expensive than the first option, but still fairly reasonable: talk to Fontanne Bostic about renting an Enterprise rental car and hiring a driver. If the candidate is comfortable with driving from the Roanoke airport he or she can rent an economy to intermediate size car from Enterprise for around $100 for two days. We can call and have a car reserved at the airport, but the university's insurance will not allow us to rent the car. The candidate then sends in receipts for reimbursement. If they are flying into Dulles, Dollar rent-a-car charges about $175 for two days with an intermediate size car and Enterprise about $160; and into Richmond, Dollar or Enterprise are both about $125. If the above options don't work, you would need to hire a taxi/limo service for Roanoke arrivals. This can easily run $150 every trip.
- Meals with Candidate: Dinners: The Dean's Office will pay for four faculty members plus the candidate at approx. $50 per person. If a second night's stay is required and therefore a second dinner, in a large department, try to have a different group of faculty take the candidate to dinner - in a small department, maybe just the department chair and candidate for this second dinner. If your department chooses to take more than four faculty members, the department is responsible for their meals, over $250. In addition to dinners, brief visits with individual faculty members in the department may be taken as coffee breaks when appropriate. Lunch w/students or faculty should be in the neighborhood of $10 per person. An easy choice is the Marketplace or eCafe. You can offer to pay for students' meals who are not on a meal plan.
- Reimbursements: All reimbursements must be submitted to the Dean's Office on a Disbursement Voucher with all itemized receipts attached. Please do not send a lot of small reimbursement vouchers for any one person. Try to hold until you have collected all of the receipts for each candidate.
1-Year Visiting Faculty
These hires more often occur in the winter and spring of the year after sabbatical leaves are known. A faculty member off for a full year is often, but not inevitably, replaced by a full-time 1-year appointment. Term sabbaticals at full pay do not result in replacement. Search procedures follow a truncated version of the above, but campus visitors are brought in one by one to minimize costs at that phase. Wherever possible a round of Skype interviews is used to minimize travel costs.
The University has several different levels of staff employment and all department chairs should be familiar with these employment categories as well as pertinent information in the Employee Handbook. Most full-time staff at the University work in established positions of 35 hours per week (not 40 hours), anywhere from 9 to 12 months and receive benefits. These employees also have exempt or non-exempt status. Exempt staff are paid on a salary basis and do not trigger overtime pay; exempt staff work as much as needed to accomplish position responsibilities. Non-exempt status is the opposite - these employees are paid on an hourly basis and should only work the number of approved hours for the position. Non-exempt hours worked beyond the limit trigger mandatory overtime pay and that is not factored into the College's operating budget. Administrative assistants in the College are non-exempt staff members and should not be asked to work evenings and weekends. In the case of special events, department chairs should work with support staff to plan ahead or, in rare cases, balance non-standard hours worked with standard hours so that overtime is not triggered. Under no circumstances should department chair supervisors ever approve extensive overtime hours for staff without specific authorization from the Dean.
The five other employment categories are: part-time with partial benefits, part-time, on-call, temporary and seasonal. Both part-time with partial benefits and part-time are for established or ongoing positions. The distinctions between the two involve number of hours and range of limited benefits available (primarily to staff). There are no part-time positions with partial benefits for undergraduate faculty. Part-time employees are restricted in two ways - they cannot exceed 999 hours in each anniversary year and cannot exceed 29 hours of work per week.
On-call employees work only when needed by the University (mostly in dining services and catering). Temporary employees have short-term assignments (generally no longer than six months). Seasonal employees are hired to work for less than six months but only at certain times of the year in annually recurring work (e.g. Facilities summer grounds crew). Employees in these three categories also cannot work over 999 hours in each anniversary year or exceed 29 hours of work per week.
Established or ongoing positions must be authorized and budgeted through an established process that weighs the needs of the entire University with the projected operating budget as well as future resources. Established or ongoing positions are not authorized on demand. In the event a department has a pressing short-term staff hiring need (a temporary employee), you should start a conversation with the Dean's Office well in advance and be prepared to cover hiring expenses out of your fiscal year operating budget (or a discretionary account).
When a new staff hire or vacancy hire search has been approved, a department chair will need to develop a job posting. The easiest way to formulate a job posting is to start with a current job description for the position. In cases where a vacancy is being filled, you should give serious thought to how the job responsibilities can be updated to reflect current practices, including technology. Associate Dean McCoy has a template that is recommended for College administrative assistant job postings and can work with you to draft appropriate postings for other College staff positions. Employment law dictates some of the language and you may not be familiar with these provisions. Once a job posting is complete, you will need to work with Wanda Scott in Human Resources (540.458.8623) to arrange for the online job announcement as well as any advertising. Like most universities, Human Resources uses an online employment system. Applicants interested in staff positions will submit materials online and those will be sent directly to the designated department contact.
When applications are received, you or a designated person in the department should create an employment matrix. The matrix lists categories of required and preferred qualifications and experience that you use to rank applicants objectively. Associate Dean McCoy can help you formulate a matrix if you need assistance. The top two or three candidates should be selected based on matrix rankings and invited to an on-campus interview. Please compile a list of standard interview questions before candidates come to campus. The same set of questions should be asked of every candidate interviewed. Please review with HR the range of questions that are permissible and those that you cannot ask during an interview.
Once a finalist has been selected for the position, you need to check references. Please check more than one reference and use a standard list of questions for the reference checks. You should be aware that some employers will only verify status and length of employment as a matter of policy. Before a job offer is made, you need to verify the eligible salary or hourly rate with HR and receive authorization to proceed with the offer. Wanda Scott will work with you on any related details, including the mandatory background check that is required for all new hires.
When determining a start date for the new staff hire, please keep orientation in mind. In many cases, it is helpful to have some overlap with the previous employee in that position. HR does encourage a few days or up to a week of overlap. All new employees must attend an orientation meeting with HR staff when they first begin employment. They will also attend a day-long, new-hire orientation session (usually offered in August for new faculty and staff and at other times of the year for mid-fiscal year hires). The Fall and Winter Academy sessions are another good resource for new staff hires.
The University uses an online performance review system - the Continuous Achievement PATH - to evaluate University staff. Detailed information for the PATH can be found on the HR website.
As a department chair and supervisor, you are responsible for completing the staff evaluation, the PATH, by the specific deadlines and for overseeing your staff member's participation. If staff haven't participated in a performance review system before, they may need encouragement and guidance to thoroughly complete the PATH.
The PATH covers performance for the fiscal year and aligns with the academic calendar. At the beginning of the year, each staff member must access the PATH to review job responsibilities, review competencies, and draft goals for the upcoming year. Goals should be broadly crafted so that a variety of responsibilities (some anticipated and others not) can be described in the self-evaluation later. The goals should illustrate the breadth and depth of the staff member's work and contributions. Goals should ideally reflect current work as well as new or improved areas of responsibility. You should talk with staff about ideas for refining existing work and learning or expanding skills. If you are a new chair, it's okay to challenge staff to approach issues differently or try new methods, but try to transition gently, in stages, using PATH goals. If you are an experienced chair, step back and identify areas where department work needs to be refreshed and how staff can help accomplish that using PATH goals.
The PATH is an important development and evaluation tool for staff. For most staff, the PATH, if done correctly, represents the single most comprehensive compilation of their work and records their performance with a level of detail that will otherwise be lost over time. Previous and current performance reviews in the PATH can assist you or a subsequent chair in justifying a promotion request or other type of recognition. For staff, they can be utilized to draft a resume for future employment opportunities or prepare for interviews. You and your faculty colleagues compile the Faculty Activity Report (FAR) for similar purposes. Think of the PATH as a parallel staff instrument. The format and process may be different, but the value in terms of professional development is the same.
It should also be noted that performance reviews can be critical in cases where a staff member is failing to perform satisfactorily. It may not happen frequently at W&L, but the potential for a supervisor to encounter a less than competent employee should not be dismissed. In that situation, the PATH will provide detailed documentation of performance and open a pattern of communication between you and the staff member, providing the opportunity to clarify problems and address what needs to happen to improve performance.
Managing staff expectations takes effective and consistent communication. As the department chair, you need to set aside time at regular intervals to talk with staff face-to-face and you need to be physically present in the office. In order for a department to function, the department chair and staff must work together. This may be something you took for granted as a faculty member, but as a chair your role in department functionality will be very different. While faculty largely function in individual spheres that occasionally overlap for meetings or other collaborative projects, staff function in an entirely different framework. Your input and direction will be required and you need to ensure that staff are kept fully informed about decisions in other areas of the University that affect their work.
Some department chairs in the College work with more than 1 staff member and/or staff that are 12 month employees. For other chairs, there is a single staff member (the administrative assistant) and she is a 9 or 10 month employee. If your support staff does not work during the summer months, you face a different administrative challenge than your colleagues who may be juggling multiple performance reviews and mentoring duties throughout the year. You cannot defer many administrative tasks until after graduation. You will have to plan collaboratively with your administrative assistant and be mindful of her workload as well as your own, both at the end of the academic year and the beginning (especially if there is a new hire). You also have to be cognizant of Dean's Office administrative deadlines and the end of the fiscal year. Many routine administrative duties will fall to you in the summer (interacting with campus visitors, monitoring the operating budget, distributing and opening mail, returning phone calls, coding in ESP, submitting work orders, ordering supplies, etc.).
During the academic year, staff members should not become an after-thought or low priority - this is often a serious challenge for new department chairs who are accustomed to working independently or gravitate toward faculty issues and concerns that are more familiar territory. Staff should feel comfortable approaching you with questions or concerns and should know that you will listen and act when necessary.
It is also imperative that you make a concerted effort to mentor staff. The key to effective mentoring is to understand the employee's work. If you delegate certain responsibilities to staff in order to off-load them, then you don't have full comprehension for purposes of performance review or mentoring. Supervisors don't need to do the work of staff, but they need to fully grasp what that work entails and how it is carried out. Too often, supervisors don't have a clue about what employees do on a day-to-day basis. As a result, they don't advocate effectively for their staff and they don't know how to solve problems when they surface.
The administration of budgets is a significant responsibility for department chairs. If you have experience managing organizational budgets - great, some of the specifics may differ, but overall you will readily comprehend the scope of your role in the budget process. If you don't have experience, please make sure you understand the framework and your obligations. It is not okay to delegate budget administration to your administrative assistant and not provide oversight. The ultimate responsibility for spending and managing department funds lies with you.
Each fall (generally in October and November), the University goes through a capital budget request process. Academic departments submit online capital budget requests that are initially reviewed and approved in the Dean's Office. In the College, capital budget items are equipment, technology (including software), and/or furniture that are not covered by operating or discretionary funds or a building/construction project. Computers for new hires and start-up funding should also be requested through capital. If you have any question as to whether an item falls under capital, please ask.
The College's portion of the overall University capital budget is limited and must cover a wide-range of expensive equipment (including equipment for the sciences and the arts). Requests are reviewed and approved based on existing demonstrated need. Department chairs are asked to prioritize capital budget requests and to be realistic in terms of needs and timing. Due to the tight capital allocation in recent years, department matches (usually out of discretionary funding) are anticipated for large cost items. Requests that are phased are also recommended - breaking down equipment requests into multiple years where feasible.
Preliminary conversations and tours with Associate Dean McCoy are highly recommended before capital budget requests are submitted. The review process conducted by the Dean's Office is significant so please allow plenty of time to prepare requests and obtain quotes/estimates for potential projects.
Final capital budget approvals are usually issued in the late spring with the funding to be released in early July. You can check the online system for request status and Associate Dean McCoy will notify you if a capital budget request has been approved. Capital accounts are administered in the Dean's Office so you do not need to manage funds during a capital project. Coordination among Facilities Management, the Business Office, the Dean's Office and your department may be necessary.
Each winter (January and February), the University goes through an operating budget request process. Academic departments submit online operating budget requests that are initially reviewed and approved in the Dean's Office. The Treasurer's Office conducts training sessions for the operating budget process each January - new department chairs should plan to attend one of these sessions.
Operating budgets run on a fiscal year basis (July 1 to June 30) and do not carry over year to year. This means that the department operating account has strict opening and closing dates. The operating budget covers day-to-day expenses for running the department. These include printing/copying, telephone charges, postage, office supplies, department memberships, minor equipment and entertainment. These operating accounts are also known as "11 fund accounts" or "11 accounts" because the designated W&L fund number for operating budgets is 11. Your department operating account should be reviewed at least monthly. You are ultimately responsible for spending and also in the best position to predict or observe patterns that could lead to overspending. Departments are expected to function within their operating budgets. Supplemental funding can and should be provided through certain discretionary accounts (see below) if department expenses exceed operating funding for a given fiscal year. It is not okay to run deficits.
The Treasurer's Office will populate department operating budgets based on set budget targets for the upcoming fiscal year. When compiling your operating budget for submission, you may move allocations per object line as long as the overall budget total is not affected. Please use the comment feature in the online budget system to note why changes are being proposed. Do not simply increase certain budget lines without making adjustments down in other objects. If you anticipate a need for a significant increase based on a specific expense (a service contract, increased cost of a certain item, etc.), you should alert Associate Dean McCoy before the operating budget submission is made. The Dean's Office must formally request specific operating budget increases to the Provost’s Office. These increases are made strategically based on demonstrated need and timing.
As chair, you need to be extra diligent about monitoring operating budgets during the last 2-3 months of the fiscal year. You should have a good idea of what expenses have been charged and what is still outstanding so that when expenses hit, the budget is not exceeded. If you anticipate an overage, make sure that the appropriate amount of funds is transferred in from a discretionary account (including using a budget savings from previous fiscal years). You should also be aware of Business Office deadlines - the cut-off for fiscal year transactions. This includes credit card charges and when they can be expected to post. Note that some expenses being paid in May or June will apply to the following academic year and should not be charged to the current fiscal year (a department membership for the upcoming year, supplies that will be used after July 1, etc.).
Many College departments, but not all, are fortunate to have discretionary accounts. These are accounts set up for donations, grants and gifts to the University that have been designated to support a specific discipline, field or department. Discretionary accounts are sometimes also referred to as endowed or restricted accounts. The difference is that endowed accounts generate spendable income (calculated annually and distributed monthly) while restricted accounts are spent down and eventually closed out. All of these accounts are also known as "12 fund accounts" or "12 accounts" because the designated W&L fund number for discretionary accounts is 12. Discretionary account balances are not allocated on a fiscal year basis. This means that funds carry over year to year. As chair, you should have viewing and signature authority for the discretionary accounts associated with your department. Please make sure you have appropriate access and understand the purposes and restrictions that apply to these accounts. If you have questions or do not have appropriate access, please contact the Dean's Office.
Some discretionary accounts are general funds, meaning they can be used to supplement any plausible departmental need as determined by the department chair or department faculty. Other discretionary accounts are limited in scope to specific categories of expenses or purposes as designated by the donor or grant organization. In cases where spending must meet certain criteria, you need to have a working understanding of authorized uses. Review the MOU (memorandum of understanding), grant agreement, or other gift document. If you have questions about the interpretation of restrictions, don't make a judgment call on your own - work with the Dean's Office and the Development Office to ensure the terms of the donation or grant are being upheld.
If your department has access to discretionary funding that specifically supports student or faculty needs, please make sure those expenses are being charged to the 12 account and not to your operating account. One of the most efficient ways to free up funds in a tight operating budget is to make sure eligible 12 account charges aren't posted to the operating account.
You should also be aware that Development staff are responsible for making gift reports. These reports can be a requirement for a grant or granting organization. Additionally, individual or family donors often want updates on projects or descriptions of how gifts have positively impacted the University. If you have success stories to share or want to communicate appreciation for funding, please contact the Dean's Office or Development Office. Keep in mind that gifts remaining unspent when there is a clear need does not encourage further donations. Hoarding funds for a future undefined need is not a good strategy.
Dean Hill typically delegates her signature authority over College accounts to department and program chairs for purchases up to $1,000. For amounts over $1,000 Dean Hill must sign (or Associate Dean McCoy for capital purchases). Any purchases exceeding $10,000, require the Provost's signature, but should be routed through the Dean of the College Office for preliminary review.
Please make yourself familiar with the purchasing policies and procedures on the Business Office website. Purchases of $500 or more generally trigger the purchasing procedures. Purchase requisition forms are required for any purchases over $1,500 or those using federal funds. Depending on the account to be charged and the amount either Dean Hill/Associate Dean McCoy or Provost Conner will sign the purchase requisition form. Please send all relevant documents (current quote or invoice, warranty language, purchase terms, etc.) to Associate Dean McCoy in one submission. She will coordinate the Dean or Provost signature as well as General Counsel review (as applicable - see Contracts below). Once a requisition is signed and finalized, the Dean's Office will send the original, fully-executed document to the Business Office and send an electronic copy (with all attachments) for the department's records. Please allow at least 2 weeks for turn-around and review (more time during the summer).
As a department chair, you may only sign University contracts for amounts under $1,000 if you have been expressly designated that authority in writing by Dean Hill. Individual faculty may not sign contracts committing W&L resources without chairs' signatures. This written delegation must be kept on file in your office and the Dean's Office as well as with General Counsel and the University Controller. In order to seek delegated authority other than a department chair, you will need to submit a written request to the Dean's Office stipulating a specific title for delegation (not an individual) and the scope of delegation (dollar amount, specific vendor, etc.).
Please route your contracts through the Dean's Office, even if you know it needs a signature from the Provost. All contracts involving a monetary commitment of more than $10,000 or unusual risks and liability must be reviewed by General Counsel in advance of execution (Note - this includes all equipment and service contracts with warranty terms and/or sales or purchase terms). Please send an electronic Microsoft Word or pdf copy of the contract agreement to Associate Dean McCoy and she will coordinate General Counsel review and the authorizing signature. If you have routine or regular contracts, General Counsel will work with you to create an approved template to expedite the approval process.
Once a contract is signed and finalized, the Dean's Office will send the original, fully-executed document to the Business Office, send an electronic copy (with all attachments) for the department's records, and send an electronic copy of the final document to General Counsel.
Decisions to issue University credit cards (SunTrust or ESP cards) are made by supervisors. As chair, that responsibility will fall to you. Any employee approved to receive a University credit card must sign an agreement regarding use with Sue Bryant in the Business Office. With some exceptions (travel, Lenfest grants, etc.), faculty and staff in your department will be making department-funded charges that impact the operating budget and should possess appropriate fiscal responsibility. University credit cards may not be used for personal charges. University credit cards are issued per person, not per department or program. It will be necessary for shared support staff to make card charges for more than one supervisor and department or program.
Department chairs are responsible for coding by the specified deadlines and for securing authorization from the Dean's Office if charges exceed $1,000. Any charges for the Dean's or Provost's offices should be coded using the designated letter codes: AAAAAA - to be coded by Dean the College (DOC) or BBBBBB - to be coded by Provost's Office. Numerical account codes for the Dean's or Provost's offices should never be entered by a department chair or by faculty or staff in your department. The letter codes trigger approval in the ESP system.
All College faculty eligible for receiving College conference travel funds (Dean's Office travel funds) are required to follow the procedures specified on the College conference travel webpage. Eligible faculty include tenured, tenure-track, and 1-year visiting replacements teaching 6 courses a year. As the department chair, you need to make sure all of your eligible faculty are aware of the conference travel requirements, especially new tenure-track and full-time visiting faculty. Please make sure you are familiar with the content on the College conference travel webpage so you can field questions. Encourage faculty to apply early for funds and not wait until a few days or even weeks before travel - once all Dean's Office travel funds have been committed, travel money is not available until the next fiscal year. You also need to remind faculty to promptly submit a travel voucher for each approved conference trip.
All personnel participating in Washington and Lee sponsored international travel must register their travel through the Center for International Education to include emergency contact information. This is done electronically through the Terra Dotta database system.
A travel voucher is the form that must be completed after conference travel. For conference travel funded by the Dean's Office, a travel voucher is required regardless of the payment method. This means even if all travel purchases were made on a University credit card, a travel voucher is still required. Please strongly encourage your faculty to follow the conference travel webpage information on travel vouchers. All vouchers must be fully completed, with itemized receipts attached, before submission to the Dean's Office. Your faculty should seek the assistance of the department administrative assistant if they have questions on how to complete the travel voucher form. Travel vouchers should be submitted directly to Virginia Garrett in the Dean's Office. Travel vouchers for approved College conference travel will be signed by Associate Dean McCoy after review.
A disbursement voucher is the form that must be completed for the payment of invoices (under $500 generally) or prepaid airfare and registration for approved College conference travel. Disbursement forms are signed by the person with signature authority for the account to be charged. For department funds, that will be you unless you are the faculty member submitting the disbursement voucher. Dean Hill must sign all reimbursements for department chairs (you cannot sign a reimbursement to yourself). For Dean's Office funds, that will be Dean Hill or Associate Dean McCoy.
Please know that cash or gift cards for employees are taxable income if paid with University funds. Please do not use department operating or discretionary funds to purchase gift cards for any W&L employees, including support staff or custodial staff. You may purchase a gift item (under $50) if done infrequently (once per year) or take up a collection.
Please review the University Export Control Guidelines and make any of your faculty and staff who travel internationally aware of this issue. Compliance with export controls must be done before traveling, engaging in science or technology-based research, or engaging in any other activity that may be export controlled. If you or another faculty member in your department is planning to ship any equipment to an international destination, please consult with the Office of General Counsel prior to shipment.
3D printers are an exciting advance in technology and can be useful to faculty and students in a number of programs. However, this technology has emerged and become sought after in such a relatively short time that government regulators and agencies concerned with security issues (capacity to print weapons, bio toxins, etc.), potential environmental health risks, and intellectual property risks, raised by the printers have not yet caught up with the technology. W&L has put a 3D protocol into place so that the University can prudently assess the purchase of these printers and related security, health/safety, and/or compliance issues based on current knowledge and regulations. If your department or any faculty in your department anticipate purchasing a 3D printer for use on campus, please contact Associate Dean McCoy.
The University has a Vehicle Use Policy that applies to any travel for the purpose of conducting University business, whether in a W&L owned vehicle, your personal automobile or an Enterprise rental car. Travel to off-campus meetings, field trips or field work, and professional conferences all fall under the policy. As the department chair, you need to be familiar with the policy provisions, including the self-reporting and insurance requirements (including the $500 department deductible for damage to rented or W&L vehicles). If you or one of your faculty/staff members gets a ticket while using a vehicle for W&L business, the ticket must be paid by that person from personal funds, not department funds.
In the event faculty or staff in your department are injured at work, you have certain responsibilities as the supervisor to ensure that incidents are reported and workers compensation claims are addressed. All job-related accidents or injuries (no matter how minor) should be reported to Paul Burns, Director of Environmental Health and Safety. A faculty or staff member may not feel a report is merited for a minor injury, but if that injury becomes more serious later (requiring medical treatment) the lack of a report could mean workers comp insurance won't cover the expenses.
The Office of General Counsel has information on incident/accident reporting.
The Provost's Office is the chief academic unit on campus. Marc Conner serves as the Provost and Paul Youngman is the Associate Provost. The deans of the College, Williams School and Law School all report to the Provost. Additionally, various other offices with significant academic responsibilities report to the Provost: University Registrar, ITS, University Library, Center for International Education, University Athletics, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.
Registrar: Scott Dittman, University Registrar
The University Registrar Office administers class registration, grade collection and distribution, academic records, classroom spaces during the academic year, and the University catalog. The office also handles requests for transcripts, various student forms/applications and assists in the administration and interpretation of academic policies, including FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). In addition to Scott Dittman, the Registrar Office staff include Associate Registrar Barbara Rowe (course scheduling and classroom assignments), Assistant Registrar Debbie Alden (degree audits and transfer credits), and Records Specialists Karen Hite (transcript requests, major declarations and adviser changes) and Joanna Smith (certifications, drop/add).
Institutional Effectiveness: Bryan Price, Assistant Provost
The IE Office is responsible for data collection, analysis and reporting to support internal and external data needs of the University. IE works closely with the academic deans and department and program chairs on general education and department/program outcomes assessment as well as fulfilling all SACS accreditation requirements. The office produces a variety of online data material: University Fact Book, Academic Indicators Dashboard, and Undergraduate Academic Indicators Report. The office also administers the Consumer Information Portal (required by federal law) and provides access to national assessment resources, like the Common Data Set and Institutional Effectiveness reports and National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) reports. A Community Engagement Database centralizes and tracks all campus outreach activities.
International Education: Mark Rush, Director
The Center for International Education administers opportunities for overseas learning by W&L students; provides logistical support for faculty international research, teaching, and curricular development; and works with international students, faculty and visitors coming to campus. In addition to Mark Rush, the Center for International Education staff include Cindy Irby (study abroad), Latha Dawson (spring term abroad), and Hunter Swanson (international students).
Information Technology Services (ITS): David Saacke, Chief Technology Officer
ITS handles all aspects of University technology use and implementation, ranging from individual office computers to classroom technology to the University network and servers. The unit is organized into groups: Core Systems, Academic Technologies and Client Services, Enterprise Applications, Network and Telecommunications and Project Management. Additionally, there is a technology integration specialist in Client Services with responsibilities in specific areas of the College: Tom Marcais (STEM), Zach Nix (Humanities) and Bob Shaeffer (Macintosh). Academic Technologies (Julie Knudson, Director) assists faculty in their use of technology to achieve pedagogical goals, conducts workshops and training sessions for the university community on existing and new technologies, makes technology equipment available for use in the classroom on campus, afield or abroad, and instructs students, faculty and staff in the use of technology resources.
John Tombarge serves as the University Librarian and oversees faculty librarians who cover a wide range of services, including course reserves, scanning and printing, interlibrary loan, digital collections, and special collections and archives. There are departmental liaisons who are responsible for developing and maintaining collections in certain areas or disciplines. These subject librarians can also prepare research guides and give presentations. Additionally, librarians can help students with software training and design set-up for the creation of posters. There is an acquisitions process for requesting books or periodicals. Please be aware that academic departments are not entitled to a portion of the acquisitions budget each year since there are no specific allocations, but every department can request materials with appropriate justification. Certain rooms in Leyburn can also be reserved online for small groups or meetings.
Digital Humanities - Faculty interested in employing digital tools in their classes should contact DHAT (Digital Humanities Action Team), staffed by both librarians and IT professionals.
Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics
The Williams School is made up of four academic departments: Accounting, Business Administration, Economics and Politics as well as the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship and the CommCenter. Fellow department chairs in the Williams School are: Afshad Irani (Accounting), Sandy Reiter (Business Administration), Linda Hooks (Economics), and Lucas Morel (Politics). Dean Rob Straughan works closely with Associate Dean Elizabeth Oliver. The Williams School manages its own classroom spaces and final exam procedure. The Williams School also has its own Board of Advisors made up of parents and alumni who are industry leaders across the country and the world.
W&L's School of Law is one of the smallest nationally recognized legal programs in the country. It offers the Juris Doctor degree and, for international law graduates, the Master of Laws degree in United States Law. Brant Hellwig serves as the Dean, Johanna Bond as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Paul Rollins as the Associate Dean for Administration and Student Affairs. The Law School administers its own law library as well as three Centers - Center for Law and History, Frances Lewis Law Center and the Transnational Law Institute. There are opportunities for collaborative work between the undergraduate side of campus and the law school and some undergraduate faculty do teach in the Law School. Qualified upperclassmen can take certain law courses.
Sidney Evans serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Student Affairs is the umbrella unit that includes a number of offices that focus primarily on student issues and day-to-day needs: Student Life, Student Health and Counseling, Career Development, Student Activities, Residential Life, Dining Services, and Greek Life. The director of Public Safety also reports to Student Affairs.
Student Affairs uses a class dean model, meaning that each class of students is assigned a specific Student Affairs dean as a primary contact: Associate Dean Tammy Futrell (seniors), Associate Dean Tammi Simpson (juniors), Assistant Dean Megan Hobbs (sophomores), and Associate Dean Jason Rodocker (first-years).
All new hires (faculty and staff) will need to obtain a University Card from the Office of Student Affairs (no longer Auxiliary Services). It is used as a library card, as a meal plan swipe, and for building access. However, the University Card and network credentials are not given out until after the new hire has attended an individual orientation session with HR staff.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. § 1681) is an all-encompassing federal law prohibiting discrimination based on the gender of students and employees of educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual assault. Lauren Kozak is the Title IX Coordinator, based in Student Affairs. She oversees the implementation and enforcement of W&L's obligations under Title IX and helps educate the University community on related issues. Mary Main serves as the Assistant Title IX Coordinator for Employees and Elizabeth Knapp serves as the Assistant Title IX Coordinator for Equity in Athletics.
Steve McAllister serves as the Treasurer and Vice President for Finance. The Treasurer's Office is responsible for all financial administration and reporting. The office also administers the University operating budget, the educational grant program, University housing loans, and relocation/moving. A number of campus offices report to the Treasurer: Business Office, Human Resources, University Facilities, and the University Store. Ordinarily, the deans or the Provost approach the VP for Finance on behalf of chairs and department faculty for programmatic purposes, but individual faculty may contact Lori Oliver about the educational grant program directly.
Business Office: Deborah Caylor, Associate Treasurer and Controller
As a department chair, you can expect to interact regularly with Business Office staff. Please make yourself familiar with the Business Office website. You should pay particular attention to:
Purchasing and Surplus
Fontanne Bostic, Fixed Asset/Purchasing Manager, in the Business Office handles a wide variety of campus services - Purchasing, Faculty Housing, Surplus Sales, and Vehicles/Ground Transportation.
Please make sure you are familiar with the Purchasing requirements. This is a two-step process for big ticket items ($1,500 and up) and for equipment purchased with federal funding. A signed and authorized purchase requisition form must be submitted to Fontanne Bostic initially. The requisition generates a purchase order and order number from the Business Office to the vendor. After items are received, the invoice must then be signed and sent to Fontanne Bostic which will initiate payment with the Business Office. Both the purchase requisition and invoice must have an account number listed and an authorized signature. Many purchases involving purchase requisitions involve expenses that exceed department chair spending authority and those should be sent to the Dean's Office for the Dean's approval. Additionally, if a department operating account will be charged ($1,500 and up), the department must also secure pre-approval from the Treasurer's Office. For smaller purchases or services, a disbursement voucher is sufficient. If the payment involves a contract, the reviewed and signed contract must be attached to the voucher. A W-9 form must be on file in the Business Office for all payments to individuals involving services, rents, prizes and awards or reimbursements.
Any and all surplus items, including equipment and furniture, must go through the designated University surplus protocol. Faculty and staff may not personally buy items from the University unless through the standard auction procedure. Departments will be allowed to tag or claim items prior to an auction as long as they can house the items (nothing goes to University storage). Faculty and staff cannot donate or otherwise give away University property. In the case of highly specialized equipment with residual value beyond any local market, the Treasurer's Office and Dean's Office have developed a special protocol - please see Associate Dean McCoy for details.
University Facilities: Randolph Hare, Executive Director
University Facilities is responsible for the planning, design, construction and care of the University's buildings and grounds. Faculty members are most familiar with the Maintenance and Operations division (custodial, carpentry, HVAC, electric, landscaping, moving, locks, paint) - they basically make sure the University is fully operational. Their work is usually generated through the work order (WO) system. As a department chair, you will also work with the Dean's Office on projects and issues involving University Planning (space needs and allocation, project and master planning and design) and Capital Projects (capital budgets and project management for upgrades, renovation and construction). You may also become involved in projects and issues involving Energy Initiatives, Engineering, or Environmental Health and Safety.
Human Resources: Mary Main, Executive Director
Human Resources is responsible for employee recruitment, salary and benefits administration, employee relations, workforce development and work-life programming. The office maintains the Employee Handbook - a document you should be familiar with as department chair. Questions involving department management and other HR policies should be directed to Mary Main. For additional information see - health benefits, payroll, HR operations generally (Kim Austin), employee disability accommodations, leaves and retirement benefits (Deborah Stoner), performance management and workforce development (Sherry Wright), hiring and recruitment (Wanda Scott), and work/life issues (Anne Remington).
Jennifer Kirkland serves as University General Counsel (the chief legal officer for the University) and Jana Shearer is the Assistant General Counsel. General Counsel is responsible for advising the President, the Board of Trustees, the deans, and the administration on all legal matters pertaining to their responsibilities on behalf of the University. The GC Office also provides a wide variety of legal services, including: (1) oversight for statutory/regulatory compliance issues and programs; (2) review and revision of University policies, procedures, and handbooks; and (3) education and training of administrators, faculty, and staff on legal issues affecting the University's programmatic goals.
University Advancement and University Development
Dennis Cross serves as the Vice President for University Advancement. Advancement is the umbrella unit that includes the Development Office and a number of other offices on campus with responsibilities for fundraising, donor relations, corporate and foundation support, and charitable gift planning. Tres Mullis is the Executive Director of the Development Office and Senior Director of Development Nancy McIntyre serves as the College's primary development officer, working closely with the Dean's Office and department chairs. University Advancement also oversees Alumni Affairs, Communications and Public Affairs, Special Events, Special Programs, and University Collections.
Corporate and Foundation Relations
The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations assists faculty members in pursuing external grants and fellowships. They can help research suitable funding opportunities, review and critique proposals, aid in proposal submission, and offer grants-related training and information sessions. Please remember to use the Faculty Grant Routing Form to alert these professionals and the Dean to on-going applications for grants and fellowships.
Sally Stone Richmond serves as the Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid (reporting directly to the President). There are other staff members on the Admissions team ranging from associate deans to young alumni who serve as admissions counselors. As chair, you may be invited by Admissions to various recruiting events or be asked to meet with prospective students and parents to talk about your department. This is an important opportunity to publicize your academic programs and to recruit the best students.
Jim Kaster serves as the Director of Financial Aid. Miranda Edwards handles the student employment (Work Study program) arrangements on campus. In the event your department needs new or additional student assistance, you must develop a position description, including any specified/needed skills (if applicable), and submit that to Miranda. Financial Aid staff also work closely with the Development Office on scholarships. You will have some contact with one or both offices regarding student selection for department level scholarships.
- Faculty Handbook
- Tenure, promotion and annual reviews of faculty
- Faculty leaves and retirements
- Pre-tenure leave
- Lenfest Grants
- Teacher-Scholar Development Cohorts
- Faculty conference general questions
- International Visitors
- Responsible Conduct of Research
- Institutional Review Board (IRB)
- Student Handbook
- Summer Research Scholars (formerly the Robert E. Lee Summer Scholars program)
- Student Summer Independent Research (SSIR)
- Disability accommodations
- Student entertainment funds ($100 max per faculty member) - 11-7570-130041 or Business Office
- Petitions concerning academic matters for the Committee on Courses and Degrees
- Petitions concerning academic matters for the Faculty Executive Committee
- University Lectures
- Social Media Guidelines
- Document Retention and Disposition
- General maintenance issues or requests
- Room reservations
- Performance reviews of College staff
- Parental Leave
- Workers Comp
- Grievance Procedure for Non-Faculty Employees
- Computing Policy
- Telecommunications Policy
- Intellectual Property
- Employment Benefits
- Employee Handbook
- Retirement Benefits
- University Credit Card
- Interview Evaluation Form for College Faculty Candidates (First Round Interview)
- Interview Evaluation Form for College Faculty Candidates (Campus Interview)
- Reference Form for College Faculty Candidates
- Domestic Travel (Non-Spring Term)