Mills Department Heads

Mills College department or program heads serve as leader of the academic program, advocate for students, mentor to faculty colleagues, and partner with other College administrative officers. Department and program heads interpret college policy, advocate for the department from a perspective of the best overall interests of the College, lead faculty in important processes that shape the curriculum and have an impact on the learning of students.

All of this is accomplished through effective communication. The Center for Faculty Excellence, Provost’s Office, and school deans provide support, mentoring, and, where appropriate, more formal professional development opportunities for department and program heads in helping them fulfill these roles.

Responsibilities & Duties | Assessment Resources

Responsibilities & Duties

The responsibilities and duties of the department head include those described below. In the performance of these duties the head is expected to seek the advice of departmental faculty colleagues systematically, conduct departmental affairs in an orderly manner through department meetings and the appointment of appropriate committees, and keep department members informed of their actions in a timely fashion.

The head is also expected to seek student feedback on matters of concern to those enrolled in the department's programs.* Each department head:

  • Has the responsibility for providing leadership toward the achievement of the highest possible level of inclusive excellence in the teaching, research, and service activities of the department.
  • Is expected to support the strategic goals of the College through all of the department’s programming decisions.
  • Is responsible for informing the department of the perspectives and actions of the Provost’s team and other administrators that might affect the department.
  • Adheres to the principles of faculty governance, especially the collaborative development of appropriate procedures for governance, within the department (e.g. policies and procedures regarding promotion, tenure and merit evaluations, long-range department planning, curriculum development, and program review).
  • Is responsible for assisting with the active recruitment of graduate students (when applicable) by creating and maintaining a productive partnership with the Office of Enrollment Management.
  • Is responsible for promoting the selection and retention of outstanding and diverse faculty and staff. This includes both full- and part-time faculty in both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as those teaching in non-credit and certificate offerings.
  • Should be receptive to questions, complaints, grievances, and suggestions from the members of the department, both academic and staff personnel, and from students. The head has the responsibility to take appropriate actions as required and in accordance with the policies and rules of the College.
  • Is responsible for preparing and proposing budget requests, establishing expenditure priorities, and fairly and equitably administering the department budget.
  • Is responsible for establishing teaching schedules in consultation with the faculty, appropriate deans, and Provost’s Office and assigning faculty to meet the needs of the curriculum.
  • Is responsible for supervising the attendance, time commitments, and work assignments of department faculty and staff.
  • Is responsible for the management and security of all departmental records and data, and preparation of reports in accordance with College procedures. 

*This section is adapted from Emerson College's Department Chair Duties and Responsibilities page.

Department & Program Assessment Resources

At Mills, a critical component of program development is measuring the educational effectiveness of our academic departments and their respective degree programs. In addition to conducting a program review every five years, programs annually assess student learning in relation to the learning outcomes specific to the undergraduate or graduate degree program itself.

Department & Program Heads Manual (PDF)

Department & Program Assessment Resources

Department Annual Report Form