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Department Chairs

Department Chairs are chosen by the Provost and Dean of the Faculty after consultation with members of their departments. All members of the Provost’s Office work in close collaboration with Chairs and are always ready to provide support. Other essential partners are the Division Chairs and Interdisciplinary Programs Representatives. Being a chair allows a faculty member to play an essential role in maintaining the excellent standards of a Swarthmore education and to find many opportunities for leadership and mentoring. Information about current faculty serving as chairs as well as administrative support staff is available here.
Chairs should familiarize themselves with typical tasks and responsibilities
of their role by reading the Notes for Chairs [pdf].
Chairs are encouraged to consult the many resources available to better understand their mission. The Provost’s Office also has funds available for chairs (or soon-to-be chairs) interested in attending workshops for chairs at their professional conferences, academic leadership conferences, and workshops. The Provost and Dean of the Faculty as well as the Associate Deans of the Faculty are always available for thought-sharing and advice.

Essential Information for Chairs

New Chairs Information Session

Two weeks before the beginning of classes, new chairs, as well as those who wish to refresh their knowledge about departmental administration, are invited to a half-day orientation session led by the Associate Deans of the Faculty. In addition, the Provost and Dean of the Faculty convene the chairs to meetings regularly throughout the year for information and discussion.
A typical orientation program includes presentations concerning (presenter information provided for follow-up contact information):

  • Assessment (Cat Norris, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Programs and Research)

  • Reviews, Promotions, and Faculty Searches (Ameet Soni, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Diversity, Recruitment, and Retention)

  • Equal Opportunity and Talent Management (Paula MacDonald and Ashley Roberts, Human Resources)

  • Title IX and reporting requirements (Bindu Jayne, Title IX Office)

  • Operations and Budgets (Provost's Office)

  • Payroll (Karen Phillips and Susan Watts, Payroll)

  • Advices from Academic Administrators (AAs and ACs)

  • Advice from Previous Chairs/Division Chairs