The Council of Academic Dean's Guidelines for Departmental Governance

These Guidelines are intended to outline the issues to consider when drafting or amending departmental governance and policy documents. The process of drafting and amending these documents should be open and transparent. The final department governance and policy document should be submitted to departmental faculty for ratification using procedures that are open, deliberative and consultative. The departmental governance and policy document and any substantive amendments thereto, must be approved by the divisional dean and the Office of the Provost.

General Consideration

Miami University Policy and Information Manual (MUPIM)

2.9 Department and Divisional Governance

These Guidelines provide guidance on several key issues that are important for creating strong governance and policy documents. Departmental governance and policy documents should be thorough without being overly complex. A department’s interests are best served by constructing a document that provides clear and efficient pathways for fulfilling departmental responsibilities.

MUPIM Section 2.9 provides:

Academic departments and divisions are authorized to adopt appropriate rules, policies, and procedures for the discharge of responsibilities and governance of the unit. All departmental and divisional rules, policies, and procedures that define or elaborate University rules, policies, and procedures must be consistent with University rules, policies, and procedures. To the extent that any departmental rule, policy, or procedure conflicts with any divisional or University rule, policy, or procedure, the divisional or University rule, policy, or procedure prevails.

Required Provisions

Departmental governance and policy documents must address each of the following required provisions.

I. Governance

This governance document is intended to conform to and will be interpreted in a manner consistent with all divisional and University policies, procedures and rules. The department follows all applicable state and federal laws, including anti-discrimination and equal opportunity laws. University policies, procedures and rules are published in the Miami University Policy Library.

II. Duties of the Chair

The department chair is responsible for the following:

  • Assigning teaching duties – establish and monitor individual faculty workloads/determining the size of classes (MUPIM 6.2, 8.2, and 10.2);
  • Ensuring annual evaluations of faculty (MUPIM 7.1);
  • Recommending merit salary increases (MUPIM 4.1);
  • Recommending approval/disapproval of external services (MUPIM 3.11);
  • Maintaining department personnel records;
  • Authorizing faculty absences (MUPIM 5.9);
  • Assuring faculty meet assigned duties and professional responsibilities/advising of known failures to comply with any applicable policies or guidelines, violation of standards of conduct, professional incompetence, or failure to carry out job responsibilities(MUPIM 8.3.B);
  • Addressing written complaints about quality of instruction (MUPIM 5.5);
  • Hearing cases of alleged academic misconduct (Student Handbook Chapter 1, Part V);
  • Maintaining and operating the department within budget;
  • Recommending personal leaves, research appointment, faculty improvement leaves (MUPIM 4.8, 6.7, and 6.8);
  • Recommending faculty rehiring after retirement (MUPIM 9.1);
  • Nominating faculty for graduate faculty standing (Graduate Handbook); and
  • Terminations of graduate award holders (Graduate Handbook).

III. Duties of Faculty Members

Faculty members are responsible for the following:

  • Adhering to Professional Ethics – devoting their energies to their scholarly competence, fostering honest academic conduct, assuring that the evaluation of students reflects true merit and showing due respect for the opinions of others in the exchange of criticism and ideas (MUPIM 5.3);
  • Adhering to the Statement of Good Teaching Practices (MUPIM 5.4);
  • Meeting all classes as assigned (MUPIM 5.9);
  • Establishing and maintaining regular office hours in order to be readily available to students and other staff members (MUPIM 5.7);
  • Fulfilling academic advising responsibilities; and
  • Fulfilling departmental, divisional and university service responsibilities including service on committees and performance of work necessary to departmental operation (MUPIM 7.4.A).

IV. Departmental Meetings

The department chair is responsible for calling and chairing department meetings. Departmental meetings shall be held at least once per semester. If the chair determines that formal procedures are necessary to conduct the meeting, the department will follow the rules established in the most recently revised edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.

V. Departmental Voting

All tenured, tenure track, lecturers and clinical/professional licensed faculty are entitled to vote on all departmental matters except as follows:

  • Annual Evaluation/Tenure Recommendation - Tenured faculty only may vote.
  • Formative Evaluation and Recommendation for Promotion to Professor - Tenured full professors only may vote.
  • Formative Evaluation and Recommendation for Promotion to Associate Lecturer, Associate Clinical Lecturer, and Associate Teaching Professor - Associate and Senior Lecturers, Associate and Senior Clinical Lecturers, Associate and Full Teaching/Clinical Professors, and tenured members of the faculty may vote.
  • Formative Evaluation and Recommendation for Promotion to Senior Lecturer, Senior Clinical Lecturer, and Full Teaching Professor - Senior Lecturers, Senior Clinical Lecturers, Full Teaching/Clinical Professors, Professors, and Associate Professors may vote. 
  • Hiring of Tenure Track and Tenurable Faculty - Tenured and tenure track faculty only. Lecturers, Clinical Lecturers, and Teaching (TCPL) faculty may serve on a search committee, but may not vote or rank candidates. TCPL faculty may not exceed 20% of the membership of the search committee.  
  • Graduate Student Advancement – Faculty must have Graduate Level A or B standing.

Faculty members must be present, in person or by electronic means (e.g., by telephone, Skype, FaceTime or videoconference[1]) to vote on tenure and promotion matters. Voting on all other matters may be taken in person or via asynchronous electronic methods. No voting by proxy is permitted. Votes taken electronically must be open for voting at least 24 and not more than 96 hours.

Written proposals must be distributed at least seven (7) calendar days in advance of the vote. Voting may be anonymous.

Note: faculty with administrative appointments still retain all departmental voting privileges (MUPIM 6.3) and retired/rehired faculty no longer hold tenure (MUPIM 9.2).

VI. Department Committees

Each department must establish the following committees: Promotion, Tenure, Curriculum and Academic Grievance. The chair, in consultation with the department, may establish and make appointments to such additional committees as are appropriate to the conduct of the department. Many academic departments house more than one academic discipline. In those instances, disciplinary expertise may help to inform curricular and hiring efforts. However, responsibility for the hiring and evaluation of faculty and for curricular development is the responsibility of the Department as a whole. Department committees should be appointed with an academically diverse composition and should not rely on discipline specific committees or subcommittees. Each committee should have:

  • Clearly defined responsibilities; and
  • Clearly established membership (including ex-officio)

A. Academic Grievance Committee (See Student Handbook)

    • Good teaching practices and/or Grade review
    • Applies to both graduate and undergraduate students – for additional policies for graduate students (See Graduate Handbook)

See Attachment #1 – model policy

B. Promotion and Tenure Committees

    • The chair may serve as an ex-officio member of the Tenure and Promotion Committees.
    • In the event the chair does not hold the rank of full professor, the dean will appoint a designee to perform the chair’s evaluation and recommendation of any candidate for promotion to full professor. The chair may provide, to the dean’s designee, his or her assessment of the candidate’s contributions to the department. The dean’s designee may serve as an ex-officio member of the committee evaluating and recommending the promotion of candidates to the rank of full professor.
    • If the department does not have a sufficient number of faculty members to form a promotion or tenure committee (MUPIM 7.8 B), the dean will appoint additional faculty from an appropriate cognate department.

C. Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (See MUPIM Chapter 11)

D. Graduate Curriculum Committee

VII. Promotion and Tenure Guidelines

Many departments provide effective guidance to probationary faculty by setting forth departmental expectations regarding teaching and advising, research, and service. Many academic departments house more than one academic discipline. In those instances, disciplinary expertise may be relied upon to identify quantitative guidelines for research within an academic discipline. The identification of quantitative guidelines for teaching and advising, service and collegiality are not discipline dependent but may reflect differing expectations for faculty with graduate program responsibilities. Responsibility for the evaluation and recommendation of faculty for tenure and/or promotion remains the sole responsibility of the Promotion and Tenure Committee as a whole.

The following introductory statement must be included in any statement of quantitative guidelines:

It is difficult, if not impossible, to suggest quantitative guidelines for what is a qualitative assessment. These Guidelines are aids rather than a substitute for the professional judgment of the candidate's colleagues. Thus, legalistic or formalistic interpretation or application of these Guidelines must be avoided. Achievement of the standards set forth in these Guidelines does not ensure a positive recommendation for tenure or promotion, as tenure or promotion is primarily a qualitative assessment. Similarly, there may be cases that do not meet the standards set forth in these Guidelines, which merit a positive recommendation for tenure or promotion.

VIII. Faculty Workload Policy (MUPIM 5.6)

There is no policy on teaching load that applies absolutely throughout the University. As a result each department is expected to articulate faculty workload within the parameters set by the academic division.

IX. Plan for Evaluation of Teaching (MUPIM 7.2)

The Plan must:

  • require student evaluations of all courses; and
  • establish multiple measures of teaching effectiveness including peer evaluations, chair evaluations, and teaching portfolios

X. Process for Non-discriminatory rotation for Overload, Summer/Winter Term Teaching Assignments

See MUPIM 6.5, Overload Teaching and MUPIM 6.6, Summer and Winter Term Teaching.

XI. Non-Renewal/Retention Decision

Departmental governance and policy documents should articulate the authority for:

Non–renewal of tenure track faculty

  • Non–renewal of Lecturers/clinically licensed faculty
  • Non–renewal of Visiting

Prohibited Provisions

Departmental governance and policy documents may not include:

  1. Statements mandating salary/raise practices not based on merit or otherwise in conflict with University/divisional standards (e.g., across-the-board salary raises or mandated raises for people about to retire);
  2. Inappropriate mandates or entitlements for summer or winter term teaching (e.g., entitlements for soon-to-retire faculty or other preferences not based on enrollment needs);
  3. Statements on workloads that are at odds with the teacher-scholar model for faculty development (e.g., this sort of research is encouraged or this sort of research is discouraged); and
  4. Statements governing the selection of the department chair.


New and revised departmental governance documents require the approval of the academic dean and the provost.

For additional information and resources (including template and action steps), please contact Carolyn Haynes, Associate Provost,