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E. Academic Departments, Programs and the Responsibilities of Chairs

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Organization of the College

The Faculty are organized administratively into departments and program committees. Program committees are groups of faculty drawn from different departments and disciplines who administer some interdisciplinary majors and minors. In keeping with the spirit of a liberal education, faculty at Knox are encouraged to think of themselves as members of the College Faculty, not just the separate departments.

Department and program chairs are appointed by the Dean of the College in consultation with the President and usually with the advice of the individual members of the department/program. The term of appointment may vary depending on the situation within the department but normally an appointment is for four years with the possibility of renewal.

The duties and responsibilities of chairs include those listed below. Chairs are not expected to perform all these duties unassisted. Rather, they are encouraged to distribute the various duties among the members of the department/program so that everyone carries an equitable load. All senior members of the department/ program should consider it part of their responsibilities to assist junior colleagues with professional development. All members should share the responsibility for assisting department/program chairs in the execution of their duties and for promoting the welfare of the College and the department/program. Where the Chair of a Program Committee holds the only line position in the Program, duties with regard to personnel are few.


  • encourages development of curricular offerings which are rigorous and appropriate to the needs of the College, both students and faculty;
  • assigns teaching duties to members of the department and submits the department's scheduling of classes (less a duty of program chairs);
  • submits requests for any changes in courses or requirements for the major or minor;
  • oversees the advising of students majoring in the department/program, making sure that graduation requirements. graduate study and career opportunities are publicized;
  • recommends to the Curriculum Committee substitutions for major or minor requirements in individual cases;
  • in consultation with the Dean, conducts regular departmental/program reviews and evaluations.


  • assumes a major role in the process of recruiting, hiring, and orienting new faculty members;
  • encourages the professional development of all members of the department/program in both teaching and scholarship;
  • advises the department/program's newer faculty members of their progress. Chairs should: discuss with new faculty members the College's expectations in regard to teaching and scholarship; visit the classes of new faculty members (and others under consideration for renewal of contract); and discuss with the member their perceived strengths and weaknesses;
  • submits departmental recommendations on hiring, retention, tenure, and promotion and advises the Dean on the general performance of members of the department/program and on requests for leaves of absence.


  • presides over the affairs of the department/program, its performance, academic program, budget, space allocation, equipment, library book requests, etc.;
  • promotes the general morale of the department/program, and organizes co-curricular activities (speakers, social functions, etc.);
  • supervises departmental/program employees including laboratory technicians and student assistants.
Knox College

Printed on Friday, July 20, 2018