Departmental Responsbilities

1) What are the responsibilities of a chair?

The department chair is responsible for providing leadership in the unit’s areas of teaching, research, and service. This key position represents the needs and aspirations of the unit to the rest of the university.

The department chair also is accountable for the administrative affairs of the department and in that capacity is responsible to the dean and to the department faculty for competent management of administrative, fiscal, academic, and personnel affairs. This includes meeting any requirements created by the departmental and college missions; and oversight for grant and contract compliance, departmental budget, evaluation, intervention, and discipline for faculty and staff, course scheduling, oversight of students who enroll in departmental courses, and policies related to privacy and IT security.  A department chair also is generally responsible for oversight of hiring, evaluation, and termination of all faculty and staff positions within the unit.  This may include the management of search processes, being familiar with personnel policies such as privacy regulations and conflict of interest management, and working with unit and central Human Resources and the Office of the Provost on policy implementation.

These areas must be managed according to departmental by-laws; University policies, Regulations, and governance documents; any relevant collective bargaining agreements; and applicable state and federal laws. 

Accordingly, department chairs should be familiar with the policies and Regulations of the University, as well as the governance structures of UF, the college, and their unit. They should also contact appropriate offices on campus if they have questions or need additional resources.

NOTE: Regular discussions of specific responsibilities and expectations with the college dean (or designee) will enable a more comprehensive understanding of an individual chair’s role and the dean’s expectations.

 

2) Is a chair authorized to sign contracts or other agreements with outside companies, donors, or others on behalf of the department or college?

No. Contracts with outside vendors, donors, or other entities are governed by several offices on campus.

1.  Research agreements are negotiated and administered by the Division of Sponsored Research. All research agreements should be sent to DSR for review and processing: http://www.research.ufl.edu/research.

2.  Gift or Donor Agreements are negotiated and administered by the University of Florida Advancement: http://www.uff.ufl.edu

Arrangements in which the donor receives a benefit from the University in return, which may be service or support agreements and not an outright gift, should be processed through Purchasing or, in the Health Sciences, the SVPHA’s Office of Contracts and Related Services (CRS): http://contracts.health.ufl.edu

3.  The Health Sciences Center has a separate office of contract compliance: http://www.contracts.health.ufl.edu

4.  Technology and Intellectual Property Licensing Agreements are reviewed and signed by the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) on behalf of the UF Research Foundation (UFRF): http://research.ufl.edu/ufrf.html.

5.  Material Transfer Agreements (transfer of proprietary materials [e.g., biologics]) and some trademark agreements are also reviewed and signed by OTL. These types of agreements should be sent to the Director of OTL for review and processing: http://www.research.ufl.edu/otl

6.  Any agreement that is international in nature i.e., for services abroad, international collaborations, study abroad, international exchange programs, and/or international affiliations are subject to review by the UF International Center (UFIC) and the Office of the General Counsel. All international agreements should be sent to the UFIC: http://www.ufic.ufl.edu

7.  Construction Agreements may originate in Facilities, Operation and Development and are then reviewed by Office of the General Counsel and signed by Business and Finance.

8.  Requests for Construction Agreements should be sent to the General Counsel’s Office, for review and processing. Website: http://www.generalcounsel.ufl.edu

9.  Leasing Space agreements require the involvement of Purchasing and, in some cases, approval by the Provost. Website: http://www.purchasing.ufl.edu

10.  Other General Contracts or Agreements should be put through Purchasing, as they are subject to a variety of University, state, and federal regulations and laws. Contact the Purchasing Department http://www.purchasing.ufl.edu/ when outside vendor contracts are necessary.

3)  What are the chair’s obligations and responsibilities when faculty grant funding runs out?

A department or college is not obligated to support a faculty member or staff who have been funded by “soft money” (e.g., contracts and grants, sponsored research funds, grants and donations trust funds, and special funds such as those allocated to meet enrollment demands) unless some specific provisions have been agreed upon, or the faculty member is tenured.  With appropriate notification of the funding termination, the chair may work with the faculty member to try to find another source of funding or to close out the project should further funding not be available. However, any requirements regarding employee termination must be followed, and could involve additional support during the notice period.

4)  How should a chair handle employee annual evaluations?

It is important to provide honest, accurate and specific feedback for all faculty and staff in their annual evaluations.  Annual evaluations provide an opportunity to assess the employee’s work and set performance expectations for the upcoming year. They will figure into any eventual tenure, permanent status, and/or promotion decisions, and can be very important in cases where unproductive behaviors must be documented.

Should merit raises be allocated, the raises should be consistent with performance evaluations and annual reviews. The chair may seek the advice of a committee in gathering information for evaluations, but the final evaluation is the chair’s assessment, not the committee’s.

TEAMS and USPS performance appraisals information can be found on the HRS Web site:  http://www.hr.ufl.edu/emp_relations/performance/default.asp

NOTE: Faculty evaluations are also governed by the collective bargaining agreement (if in-unit), departmental by-laws, college policies, and/or university regulations. In-unit faculty and staff evaluations have time lines. Chairs should ensure they are familiar with these time lines to avoid violations of any relevant collective bargaining agreements.

5) What is a chair’s responsibility for assigning faculty work and making sure that faculty effort is reported in line with federal and state requirements?

The department chair is responsible for making annual faculty assignments.  The faculty member’s professional obligations and responsibilities are comprised of these assigned duties, and those other duties and responsibilities attendant on and pertinent to university employment. (Florida Statutes relating to this requirement are 1008.46 and 1012.945.) Accuracy in the match of assigned duties and actual effort is important to faculty evaluation for promotion, merit awards, tenure and/or permanent status. 

The Effort Tracking (EFT) system collects critical information for UF in order to comply with federal and state requirements, including tracking contract and grant commitments.  Faculty and staff should take every precaution to ensure that effort reported is as accurate as possible, and reflects the proportion of time spent each semester on the individual’s assigned responsibilities.  

Instructions for completing the semester faculty assignment report (FAR) and meeting the requirements of the Effort Reporting system: http://www.hr.ufl.edu/training/myUFL/toolkits/EffortReporting.asp

6) What are a chair’s responsibilities regarding faculty or staff with disabilities?

Chairs should ensure that faculty and staff in their units adhere to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

An individual with a disability is defined as any individual who:

  1. Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, for example: walking, hearing, seeing, speaking, learning or caring for oneself.
  2. Has a record of such impairment or is deemed as having such impairment.

The ADA requires that individuals with disabilities be provided equal access to public programs and services. The ADA upholds and expands the standards of compliance to employment practices, communications, and all policies, procedures and practices that impact the treatment of individuals with disabilities. For more specific information, see http://www.ehs.ufl.edu/programs/ada/