University Senate Proposed: March 7, 2003
REVISED RESOLUTION TO ADOPT GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR THE
ADMINISTRATIVE CONDUCT OF DEANS AND DEPARTMENT CHAIRS
WHEREAS administration, faculty and staff of all academic units of the University constitute a scholarly community with a sense of a shared mission, and
WHEREAS the increased complexity of academic administration poses significant challenges for those who hold administrative positions in the University, and
WHEREAS it is the responsibility of all members of the academic community to fulfill the mission of the institution in an atmosphere that fosters collegiality in research, teaching and learning, and
WHEREAS the unique leadership position of a Dean or Department Chair raises additional expectations concerning the proper discharge of such responsibilities, especially in balancing academic and financial considerations, issues of shared governance, the use of power in the relationships with faculty, and the pivotal role in nurturing young faculty in their careers;
Proponent: Faculty Affairs Committee
Guidelines for the Administrative Conduct of Deans and Department Chairs at Columbia University
The shared traditions and basic values of an academic community empower its members to discharge their responsibilities to fulfill the mission of the institution in an atmosphere that fosters collegiality in research, teaching and learning. A complex administrative structure is required to support this mission. Top administrators of schools and departments must be able to strategically manage a complex budget, obtain external support, engage in fundraising activities, and resolve complex personnel issues.
It may be expected that a Dean or Department Chair, who has come from the academic tradition, will make an effort to assure that his (her) basic values are in harmony with those of the faculty, and will support their academic aspirations. Similarly, these administrators would be expected to observe the common norms of civility, as outlined in the Faculty Handbook (p.222, Columbia University, 2000).
However, the unique leadership position of a Dean or Department Chair raises additional expectations concerning the proper discharge of such responsibilities, especially in balancing academic and financial considerations, issues of shared governance, the use of power in relationships with faculty, and the pivotal role in nurturing young faculty in their careers. These guidelines are intended to outline such expectations, the observance of which will enable all members of this academic community to discharge their responsibilities in a harmonious atmosphere in order to fulfill the mission of the university.
Guidelines for administrative conduct
Deans and Department Chairs are members of the scholarly community of Columbia University and are expected to adhere to the basic guidelines on faculty and staff relationships, which have been published in the Faculty Handbook (p.222, Columbia University, 2000). Indeed, they should exercise strong leadership in ensuring at all levels that “an atmosphere of scholarship and rational discourse” is preserved in their unit.
Paraphrasing the Handbook: (Deans and chairs) may not use (their) position to cause interference with personal security, property, or freedom of movement, expression, or assembly in (their units). Under no circumstances should deans or department chairs verbally assault, insult, or publicly humiliate any faculty or staff member.
2. Collegiality in governance
Deans and department chairs are expected to provide democratic leadership, keeping in mind that their position is a transient one and that members of the faculty share a lasting responsibility to fulfill the mission of the university, along with a responsibility for the governance of the University. It is important that all units have clearly stated, regularly updated by-laws posted on their websites, with the date of the last revision. It is also important that these by-laws be strictly adhered to and all their provisions observed. It is essential, for example, to schedule regular meetings, and to assure input for faculty members in setting policy, in planning, and in decision making.
Furthermore, in accordance with the recorded by-laws, deans and chairs are expected to consult with faculty on policy matters that affect their school or department, including the recruitment of new faculty prior to the conclusion of negotiations, and to report regularly and fully to the faculty.
3. Familiarity with University policies and organizational structure
In order to be effective administrators, able to act for the benefit of the faculty members in their units, deans and department chairs are expected to familiarize themselves with University policies, particularly those that pertain to appointments and promotions, leaves of absence, termination and grievance procedures. In this regard it is particularly important for deans and chairs to understand the steps to be taken in preparation for an ad-hoc review for an appointment with tenure, and to present the most effective case possible for the candidate.
Similarly, it is reasonable to expect deans and chairs to be thoroughly familiar with the organizational structure of the University in order to function in a manner that is supportive of the faculty members in their units, and to represent their unit’s interests effectively to the central administration.
4. Impartiality in the use of power
To the extent that deans and department chairs control faculty workloads and salaries, they should be particularly mindful to exercise fairness at all times in assigning academic and administrative duties. They should not penalize dissenting faculty by withholding appropriate salary increases, blocking academic advancement, or withholding adequate space for them to perform their academic duties. Similarly, deans and chairs are expected to exercise fairness in allocating resources (funding, secretarial support, office equipment, supplies) to faculty members.
Deans and chairs should be open to hearing individual faculty needs and concerns, and when appropriate to act on them effectively. Annual salary discussions with members of the faculty and staff are among the responsibilities of deans and chairs, or their designated administrators.
5. Assistance in faculty development
Deans and department chairs are expected to foster faculty development, especially of junior faculty, to enable them to reach their full potential and be eligible for academic advancement. Deans and department chairs should assure that proper credit is given to junior faculty and research staff in publications reporting on joint research projects. Whenever possible deans and department chairs are expected to use their fiscal power and connections with colleagues in the field to help junior faculty gain access to all available opportunities for development and establish their own reputations.