Dear Chairs and Directors:
The College of Arts & Sciences Chair Handbook is intended as a resource to help both
new and experienced chairs navigate the many challenges you face in your governance
role. The handbook is a guide, not a rulebook. Its purpose is to provide you with
insider knowledge of how things really work--the nitty-gritty information you won't
find in a policies and procedures manual. New chairs are advised to read the document
in its entirety. Experienced chairs may want to pick and choose topics from the menu
bar on the side.
Portions of the handbook address differences across departments. It is hoped that
this information sharing will stimulate lively conversation among chairs as you learn
of different practices you might like to incorporate into your own department. Discussing
best practices with your peers is a marvelous way to learn and to build a supportive
network of colleagues who understand the peculiar struggles of leading and managing
faculty, staff, and students.
The handbook is very much a work in progress. The topics selected for inclusion are
based on suggestions from CAS chairs. I particularly want to acknowledge Frank Andrasik,
Stan Hyland, Eric Link, and Abby Parrill for their assistance with this endeavor.
As inaugural members of the Chair Leadership Group, they spent many hours last year
reflecting on the art (or is it a science?) of chairing and provided my office with
a multitude of insights on the types of information chairs need. You, too, are encouraged
to submit ideas for topics. Please send your questions, comments, and suggestions
Henry A. Kurtz, Dean
College of Arts & Sciences
The University of Memphis