Ask Your Union: Chair Eligibility and Selection

February 2021

Who is eligible to become a Department Chair, Assistant Department Chair, or Coordinator?

The eligibility of a Department Chair, Assistant Department Chair or Coordinator is described in the collective agreement, namely:

10.6.1: A Department Chair, Assistant Department Chair or Coordinator must be a regular faculty member who has met the conditions of Article 10.3.6.1 and who works a minimum of one-half time, unless otherwise mutually agreed to by the parties, and shall be appointed by the President or delegate on the recommendation of the faculty of the department or program. Owing to the unique circumstances existing in the Library, the Association agrees that the position of Chair of this department may be held by a person holding a part-time appointment.

This means that the Department Chair, Assistant Department Chair or Coordinator is someone with a regular or continuing contract, with at least half time work, who has completed their regular evaluations. Further information about contract types can be found here and in the Collective Agreement.

There may be times where there are no candidates who meet the necessary qualifications as per the collective agreement. In these circumstances, the department should contact the LFA for a variation to the requirements that would allow people with different qualifications, such as a reg-in-temp contract or less than half-time work, to apply. If an agreement can be reached on the exception, then all of those who meet those qualifications would be invited to apply for the position under these new (temporary) qualifications.

How are Department Chairs, Assistant Department Chairs and Coordinators selected?

As outlined in the collective agreement:

10.6.2.1 The faculty member shall be selected for recommendation by a process agreeable to the faculty of the department or program.  

The process can vary depending on the department, but it should be one that is established and agreed to by the department members, before the candidates are called, and one that abides by the principles of democracy, fairness and transparency. The LFA would be happy to help the department develop this process, and the Division Assistant or the LFA can assist with voting to ensure the confidentiality of the vote if there is one.

Ideally, the new Department Chair should be selected at least one term before their term begins (most terms begin May 1 so selecting the chair before the Spring term begins) because under the new collective agreement Department Chairs now receive one-quarter release time in the semester preceding the appointment. This is described further in Article 10.6.7.

Please contact the LFA if you have any questions about the eligibility or selection process for Department Chairs, Assistant Department Chairs, or Coordinators.