Job Description of a Department Chair
What a Department Chair Needs to Know and Do
The department is the academic and functional unit of the medical school. A departmental chair, appointed by the dean, is the academic and administrative leader of this unit and serves as a representative of the dean and medical school. The chair directs the faculty of a department in carrying out its missions of teaching, scholarly work, and professional activities. The responsibilities of a chair include the following points.
- The chair is responsible for the department and its faculty. This responsibility includes: recruitment, mentoring, development, annual review, retention, satisfaction, management of conflict of interest and commitment, policy and procedural compliance, salary components and increases, human resource procedures, and safety of the departmental faculty and staff. A chair must listen and communicate effectively with faculty and staff. The chair should seek out appropriate honors, awards, and national placements for faculty and staff. Satisfaction of the department's many constituents and stakeholders is an important objective. The chair and faculty must understand and adhere to Regents' Bylaws and Medical School Bylaws and, when appropriate, Medical Staff Bylaws and Faculty Group Practice Bylaws.
- As the leader of the department, the chair must be a role model for collegiality, collaboration across the organization, integrity, scholarship, and professional competence. The chair must be fair and enjoy the confidence of the faculty, staff, students, and trainees. A chair should avoid conflict of interest, conflict of commitment, and the appearance of such conflicts.
- The chair is responsible for departmental educational programs particularly those for undergraduate students, medical students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, residents, and continuing medical education.
- The chair must be a leader with national professional impact in his or her field. Clinical chairs are expected to recruit, maintain, develop and deploy faculty and staff so as to deliver with excellence an appropriate range of professional services and to foster the development and maintenance of expertise in emerging areas of importance in the relevant discipline.
- As the leader of the department, the chair must have a strategic vision for the department and faculty concordant with that of the medical school and health system.
- A core responsibility of a department chair is successor planning to train, develop, and mentor individuals who could successfully succeed the chair or assume positions of leadership nationally.
- The chair and department are expected to participate robustly in cultural and organizational needs and activities of the medical school.
- The chair is responsible for implementing the missions of the medical school, specifically programs and initiatives of the Dean and the Medical School Executive Committee. A chair may have parallel responsibilities managing an interdepartmental or extra departmental unit such as a center or a facility with parallel expectations as held for his or her departmental duties. Ultimately the chair must maintain the confidence of the Dean and Executive Committee.
- The chair is responsible for maintaining a sound budget for the department, consistent with rules and intent of the medical school and university. The chair is charged with fiduciary and regulatory agency compliance related to the departmental activities. Physical and financial resources of a department must be managed effectively and wisely by the chair.
- The chair should be successful at philanthropic development.
A department chair is a leader in his or her field with national impact in terms of scholarly contribution and roles in peer organizations. A chair will have a doctoral degree in basic science or medicine, or the equivalent, with appropriate qualifications in the relevant department and full-time membership on the medical school faculty.