Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

February 17, 2011

Blair elaborates on dept. chair evaluations

Following publication of the Feb. 3 University Times, Andrew Blair, vice provost for Faculty Affairs, provided an elaboration of the discussion at the Jan. 25 Faculty Assembly regarding the evaluation process for department chairs.

Blair told the University Times:

In most University departments, all faculty, regardless of tenure status, are asked to fill out an online survey evaluating their department chair at the end of each chair’s three-year tenure.

The exceptions are the School of Medicine, where chairs are not evaluated because their roles vary widely, and the School of Arts and Sciences, which restricts the survey respondents to its tenure and tenure-stream faculty because that is the group defined as voting faculty in the school’s bylaws.

At Pitt-Greensburg, the three current division heads, which are the equivalent of chairs at the regional campuses, were appointed in 2008, and thus have not yet completed their initial three-year tenure, which will trigger their evaluations.

At the School of Dental Medicine all chairs are being evaluated according to schedule, subsequent to the school’s recent departmental reorganization.

Blair also noted that in August 2002 then Provost James V. Maher sent a letter to faculty spelling out the details of the evaluation process. Blair said an ad hoc working group conducted pilot evaluations of Provost-area deans and chairs during 2002-03, with the first evaluations of Arts and Sciences chairs occurring in spring 2004.

He said the group “worked with the dean to identify department chairs to be evaluated.”

The Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures, which was discussed at the Jan. 25 Faculty Assembly, was not included in the first round of Arts and Sciences chair evaluations, he noted.

Following the first round of evaluations, Blair said, “We soon evolved into our current, after three-year cycle to make the process more routine and tractable.”

(For related information, see letters to the editor, this issue.)

—Peter Hart

Leave a Reply