Department Chair Duties

Section: II. INST- 115
Approved By: Dr. Ivan Harrell, 07/27/23
Prior Revisions: 12/16/11
Initial Adoption: Unknown


The goal of this policy is to clearly outline the duties of a department/program chair. Having a clear delineation of duties prevents uncompensated and invisible labor. Tacoma Community College recognizes that invisible labor is often disproportionately endured by people of color, women, and other marginalized groups. If a chair is asked/required to do additional duties, then those additional duties should be compensated in the form of a stipend or additional release time. This policy outlines core responsibilities for all department/program chairs. Additional duties and corresponding compensation and/or release time are articulated in the Tacoma Community College-Tacoma Community College Federation of Teachers Faculty Negotiated Agreement (“Faculty Negotiated Agreement”) or related Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs).

To Whom Does This Policy Apply

This policy applies to all academic employees at Tacoma Community College.


  • Faculty Negotiated Agreement sections 0.20(b)(3); 4.30; 6.22(d); 8.50


Per the Faculty Negotiated Agreement 0.20(b):

  1. Academic Employee – Any professor, counselor, librarian, department lead, or vocational professional/technical program lead, who is employed by the College, with the exception of the President and any other administrator in the College.
  2. Department/Program Chair – An academic employee who performs noninstructional duties and provides leadership for an organizational unit of faculty. Chairs of professional/technical programs are appointed by management in consultation with program faculty. Chairs for other organizational units are elected in accordance with 8.5.


Department/Program Chair Job Description:

Department/Program Chairs provide leadership within the department/program and advocacy on its behalf to the college and the community. Successful Department/Program Chairs model good instruction, promote and lead curriculum development, represent the department/program to others and work with Deans or Management Supervisors on administrative issues such as Institutional Effectiveness, assessment, hiring, budgeting and scheduling. These functions require knowledge of campus policies and practices as well as current professional expertise. Chairs will show a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness in the workplace.

Core Responsibilities:

The Department/Program Chair coordinates department issues and concerns with the Dean or Management Supervisor and department faculty as outlined in the Faculty Negotiated Agreement and fulfills the following responsibilities with the exception of any non-applicable duties as identified by the Chair and Dean or Management Supervisor.

Department/Program Coordination and Leadership
  • In collaboration with the Dean or Management Supervisor, build, monitor, and adjust the annual class schedule in light of student need, curricular requirements, and budgetary concerns.
  • Assist in the assignment of class enrollment permission codes, as needed.
  • In collaboration with department/program faculty and Dean or Management Supervisor, determine and prioritize purchasing needs
  • Attend chair meetings held by Dean or Management Supervisor or Provost
  • Assist in reviewing, updating, and revising department/program information and marketing material, in coordination with campus stakeholders.
  • Maintain ongoing collaboration with Student Affairs staff to support student success and program effectiveness.
  • Direct departmental/program-level program review, accreditation tasks, and assessment projects.
Department/Program Faculty/Personnel
  • Coordinate with the Dean or Management Supervisor on orienting new faculty to program policies, curriculum and teaching duties.
  • Assist the Dean or Management Supervisor with coordinating the observations of full and part-time faculty.
  • Recommend professional development activities for faculty.
  • Encourage and mentor full and part-time faculty in participation in College initiatives and committees.
  • Hold quarterly meetings with department/program members, set agenda for meetings and record minutes.
  • Provide ongoing mentoring of new and part-time faculty (as needed), respond to on-going questions and need for support of part-time faculty.
  • Assist Dean or Management Supervisor with the development of position descriptions, the recruitment, screening and selection of part-time and full-time faculty.
  • Make quarterly recommendations regarding hiring of part-time faculty.
  • Make recommendations on multi-quarter appointments for part-time faculty.
  • Orient part-time faculty to teaching and working spaces, including possible discipline- specific safety practices.
  • Assist the Dean or Management Supervisor with the tracking of faculty workload and class/program enrollments, and adjusting instructor schedules, as needed.
  • Coordinate department/program faculty in reviewing, revising and updating course information and content to maintain accuracy and currency.
  • Attend Curriculum Committee as needed to present course revisions or additions.
  • In consult with appropriate faculty and administration, coordinate and assist in the development, revision, implementation and evaluation of curriculum.
Student Relations
  • Respond to information inquiries and refer students to appropriate resources.
  • Listen to student concerns and help facilitate resolution in accordance with college policy.
Possible Other Responsibilities:

Possible other duties may be eligible for additional compensation or release, as articulated in the Faculty Negotiated Agreement or related MOUs.


Procedure for this policy is defined in the Tacoma Community College Federation of Teachers Faculty Negotiated Agreement sections 4.30 (Compensation for Chairs), 6.22(d) (Job Responsibilities), and 8.50 (Selection of Chairs).