The report of the Course Release Task Force and discussions at the department chairs and program directors meeting this past winter term identified several key issues to be addressed in a revised structure of compensation for chairs and directors:

  • Time is the most significant resource chairs and directors identified as a need in fulfilling their roles. In general, course releases are seen as addressing this need for time most effectively, and were viewed as preferable to a stipend, even if time provided by a course release doesn’t perfectly align with the cycle of responsibilities.
  • For some small departments and programs, a course release for the chair or director can create curricular pressures that diminish the value or attractiveness of the course release as compensation. Flexibility in compensation, with some choice between a course release or stipend was seen as desirable in these cases.
  • While there are some regular tasks that all chairs and directors must manage, other regular administrative demands vary depending on the size and complexity of the department’s or program’s curriculum and/or number of student majors and minors and faculty and staff personnel.
  • There are unpredictable and extraordinary demands that can be time-consuming and stressful.
  • There are notable inequities especially among programs in terms of the director’s workload (shaped by the size and complexity of the program) and the current structure in which some programs receive a full course release, some a partial course release, and some no course release for directing. There are instances in which a director of one program receives a full course release while a director of a program with roughly similar numbers of students and curricular structure receives none at all.

This revised structure of compensation for chairs and directors aims to provide greater equity and flexibility, with tiered levels of compensation reflecting variations in workload, and some flexibility in the form of compensation.

In addition to this basic structure of compensation, there are times when unusual demands and workload justify additional compensation for a chair or director beyond the regular compensation. In all such cases, as currently, chairs or directors can submit a proposal to the Provost for additional course release(s).

The revised regular structure of compensation for departments is as follows:

  1. Large departments, e.g., those departments with more than 100 majors total (both juniors and seniors) OR that have offered an average of more than 50 courses per year over the preceding 3 years, may propose to add an “associate chair” position.
    • Departments wishing to propose an associate chair position should submit a proposal to the dean describing the associate chair’s responsibilities (e.g., their “job description”) and a brief explanation of the need for the position.
    • Depending on the scope of duties, the associate chair could earn ½ course per year or 1/3 course per year. Instead of the course release, the associate chair could opt to receive a stipend of $4250 (1/2 CR) or $2750 (1/3 CR).
    • The associate chair would typically be expected to serve a 3-year term, but appointments for one- or two-year terms could be considered in individual cases to accommodate personal circumstances (sabbatical leaves, leading OCS programs, etc.).
    • For any given year or for their full term, an individual chair could also propose to assume all chair and associate chair duties and receive the compensation for both positions.
  2. In all other departments, the chair will receive one course release in compensation for their chairing duties.
    • However, departments with fewer than 100 majors or fewer than an average of 50 courses offered per year, but that have unusually complex programs or ongoing administrative demands, may also propose to add an associate chair position. They should discuss this with the dean before submitting a proposal.
  3. Chairs of small departments, e.g., those with an average over the preceding 3 years of fewer than 20 courses per year, can opt to receive a stipend of $8500 instead of a course release. This recognizes the burden that losing a course can impose on a small department.

The revised regular structure of compensation for interdisciplinary programs is as follows:

  1. Directors of programs with a total of more than 20 majors (juniors and seniors) will receive one course release per year.  
  2. Mid-size programs (e.g., those that offer a major but have fewer than 20 majors total, or those that offer only minors and have more than a total of 20 minors) will receive ½ CR per year or a stipend of $4250.
    • Those programs that fall in this category but have dedicated FTE appointed in the program that includes junior faculty will receive 2 course releases over a three year period or may choose an annual stipend of $5675.  
    • Programs that currently get 1 CR per year but fall in this category will be phased into this new structure of compensation over several years: The current director (if continuing) or new director starting next year will receive one course release (or equivalent stipend) each year during their three-year term, as currently. The following director will receive 2 course releases over 3 years. Subsequently, the compensation will be ½ course release per year.
  3. Small programs (those with fewer than a total of 20 minors) will receive 1/3 CR per year or a stipend of $2750 per year.

When there are special circumstances, programs directors can make a proposal to the Provost for additional support.

A few additional considerations:

  • The level of compensation for chairs and directors will be based on the average number of courses or total majors over the preceding three years.  As departments and programs grow or shrink, the chair’s or director’s compensation will be modified to reflect new circumstances. However, any changes would be based on trends in the rolling average of courses or majors over a 5+ year period. Annual spikes or dips in the number of students or classes won’t lead to a modification in chair or director compensation.
  • Course releases are intended to provide the time that chairs or directors need to fulfill their administrative duties and should be taken during the time that the chair or director is serving in that capacity. If a chair or director can’t take a course release in a given year because of curricular pressures in their department or program, they should receive a stipend in compensation for their work in that year, rather than “banking” a course release for the future.

HOWEVER, associate chairs or directors receiving fractional credit (1/2 or 1/3 course release per year) can accumulate (or “bank”) the fractional credit to make up a full 6-credit course release. That full course release should be taken at some point during the term of appointment as director or associate chair, and can be taken at whatever point in the term as director or associate chair it would be most useful (including the first year). In some cases the period of appointment won’t correspond to the period necessary to accumulate the equivalent of full 6-credit course(s) (e.g., serving 2 years as a director that gets 1/3 course release per year, or 3 years for one that gets 1/2 course release per year). In those cases the director or associate chair may take a course release while still a bit short (and “owe” a fractional course credit) or “bank” the fractional course credit to be combined toward a course release later. 

  • If a chair or director is on leave or leads an OCS program during their term as chair or director, and someone else has to step in for them, normally the compensation would be split between them (for example, 2/3 of an $8500 stipend or .67 course release to one of them, and the remaining .33 to the other).
  • PLEASE NOTE:  Remember that it takes more than a single individual (the chair or director) – or even two (with an associate chair) – to make a strong department or program, and that however compensated, the chair or director can’t and shouldn’t do everything. You need to engage your faculty in the governance and activities of your department or program – and that includes some kinds of administrative activities. Even having an associate chair or director doesn’t obviate the need to have other members of the department or program engaged and contributing to the shared responsibilities for its good functioning!