The faculty is organized into academic departments that represent the principal components of the curriculum. Each department groups together those persons who are appointed to teach, to do research, and to give advice and counsel in designated academic disciplines.
Excepting only interdisciplinary appointments, each member of the faculty is a member of a department. Any proposed alteration in the department structure may be referred to the faculty meeting after consideration by the affected departments and divisions.
The responsibilities of the departments are: to ensure that courses are taught, students are evaluated, and high standards are maintained; to make recommendations for improvement in the curriculum or facilities; to promote research and scholarly development in the subject area; to represent the subject area in the intellectual life of the College outside of the classroom; to promote, together with the President and the Provost, the recruitment and retention of faculty members; to advise the Vice President for Library and Information Services on research-materials acquisition; to advise majors on curriculum; to prepare budgets; and to perform routine program administration (e.g., ordering texts and supplies, turning in grades).
Each department has a chair or an acting chair in residence. The chair is appointed by the President on recommendation of the Provost after consultation with members of the department. The appointment shall be for a specified term, ordinarily for three years beginning on July 1. When possible, the office of chair is shared among members of a department; however there is no limit to the number of times a chair may be reappointed. The President may appoint an acting chair when necessary.
Departmental chairs supervise the administration of departmental responsibilities and act in accord with general departmental agreement. The chair has a particular responsibility with respect to faculty recruitment and hiring, and shall consult with the Provost regarding appointments, salaries, promotions, tenure, and other matters relating to the status of members of the department on limited appointment. The chair is responsible for the preparation of the departmental letter that is a necessary element in reviews of departmental colleagues for First Reappointment, Second Reappointment, Appointment Without Limit, and Promotion. The chair is also responsible for the preparation of such reports, evaluations, etc., as may be requested by administrative officers of the College. In general, the chair acts as the representative of the department.