As chair, you oversee grade sheets and grade records, course evaluations, new departmental courses, independent study forms, and departmental awards.
1. Grade Sheets and Grade Records
Chairs should remind faculty, including block- and year-visitors, to turn grade sheets in to the Registrar’s Office by the due date (typically, the first Wednesday of the following block) and to keep records of grades for each class. Senior grades for Block 8 are due by 2:00 PM of the last day of class. Late grades cause serious difficulties for students receiving financial aid, applying for scholarships or awards, or applying for graduate school. Chairs should remind faculty to inform the Registrar’s Office of off-campus addresses and other contact information (i.e., email) in the case of summer vacations, sabbaticals, or other forms of leave from the College and should keep such a contact list of faculty themselves.
2. Course Evaluations
The College’s policy on course evaluation, as approved by the faculty and Board in 2011, is explained in Part Four, II.D. of the Faculty Handbook. Departments have constructed a variety of procedures for distributing, collecting, and reviewing course evaluations. Some departments have a single form for use by everyone in all courses throughout the department, while other departments allow faculty members to construct their own evaluation forms. According to the Faculty Handbook, all faculty members should share their evaluations with their chair and/or with other designated faculty.
The purposes of the course evaluation procedure are to promote the improvement of teaching and learning and to establish a common expectation for systematically improving teaching across the faculty and departments. The purpose of department or program chair (or designated faculty member) reviews of course evaluations is to foster constructive, mutually helpful discussion about teaching and learning effectiveness within each department.
3. New Department Courses
Part Four, IV. of the Faculty Handbook describes the procedure for proposing new courses. Many new courses are first taught under a general topics rubric before going through this procedure.
4. Independent Study Forms
Courses for independent study require approval by the Chair and consent of the instructor.
5. Department Awards
Many (but not all) departments confer a variety of awards to students each year. Some departments decide on the recipients at department meetings, while others have committees to determine recipients. The Registrar’s Office sends out a notice to each department detailing which awards will be presented or noted at Honors Convocation and the date by which it must receive the names so that they can be included in the Honors Convocation program. The Dean must approve the creation of a new departmental award. Some departmental awards are presented at other times during the year, such as at a department graduation reception.