Academic Unit Leader Appointments
CAFE Guidelines for Terms, Appointment and Reappointment of Academic Department Chairs
- Academic unit leaders only: These policies and guidelines are intended to apply only to chairs of academic departments. Appointment processes for chairs and directors of non-academic departments or units in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will be consistent with regulations and human resource policies of the University of Kentucky. Non-academic appointments processes may or may not include formal search committees. Participation of, and consultation with, faculty and staff associated with such non-academic units will be in a format determined by the dean or college administrator to whom that chair or director will report.
- Ongoing evaluation: The Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will continue to conduct performance evaluations of academic unit leaders annually. It will include an instrument that allows faculty comment and evaluation of chair performance.
- Term length is six years: In most University of Kentucky colleges, chairs are appointed for four-year terms. The Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has, by university regulation, six-year terms for chairs. The most common justification has been that leadership of outreach/service, and management of complex facilities, funds and programs demand more experience and management skills from our chairs.
- No absolute limit to number of terms: University regulations indicate that chairs may be reappointed for multiple terms, but suggest that sufficient justification of the academic benefit must be presented to reappoint. Furthermore, university regulations state: “Reappointment beyond the second term may occur under exceptional circumstances when it is deemed to be in the best interests of the University. This practice may vary from discipline to discipline.” The practice in CAFE has been to include demands of land-grant and mission-specific program advancement among those “exceptional circumstances.”
- Reappointment and new appointments:
- Near the end of a current chair’s term the Dean will inform the faculty and schedule a meeting between the faculty and the college deans, in the absence of the current chair, which will include discussion of options for reappointment vs. new appointment, and an internal vs. national search.
- Following the open meeting, the Dean will provide an opportunity for individual comment by faculty and staff of the department, including anonymous comment.
- University regulations require that the Dean appoint a search committee for either reappointments or new appointments. Typically such committees will be chaired by another chair or college administrator. Department faculty will constitute a majority of the committee members, but other faculty or staff may be appointed from outside the department. Some chair search committees in CAFE include a stakeholder not employed by the university. Students and staff should be included in the process.
- With the search committee, the Dean will review or revise the position description, and determine a search process appropriate to the circumstances. The search committee will be asked to identify candidates, including the current chair, and invited to comment on their strengths and weaknesses to the Dean. They will not be asked to rank candidates if there is more than one.
- The Dean will negotiate an agreement with the reappointed chair or the new appointment and forward a recommendation to the Provost.