Step 1

1.4. Length of Term and Transition

Depending on your Faculty, your term as Chair may be 3 or 5 years. Besides consulting this guide, we suggest that you read the following documents at the beginning of your mandate:

  • Department’s workload
  • Department’s budget and end-of-year financial statement
  • Course schedule (to better understand enrolment and sections)
  • Colleagues’ annual reports
  • Job descriptions for support staff in your department
  • Applicable collective agreements (APUO, APTPUO, OSSTF, CUPE, etc.)

Regardless of the length of your term, you should expect that your first year as chair will be a learning year. If your predecessor has left you a calendar of key dates and events (see section 3.4), it will certainly be helpful. The second year will be much easier – if you have a 3-year term, this second year is the year you need to start implementing changes and suggest new projects. If you have a 5-year term, you have more room to manoeuvre to put your ideas in place.

Whether you hold the chair for 3 or 5 years, it is imperative that you prepare your transition by:

  • Advising anyone considering the position to review this guide;
  • Going through the calendar of key dates and events you have created or added to (see section 3.4) with her;
  • Thinking about ways to help transition the new Chair, especially if the person has not chaired the department before;
  • Inviting the prospective Chair to observe or participate in one or more key tasks: for example, planning out the course schedule for the next year (an especially important topic with which the incoming chair should be relatively familiar);
  • Discussing things that are on the horizon that will need to be dealt with during the new person’s tenure as Chair (including promotion files which are ongoing);
  • Discussing issues especially relevant to your department;
  • Ensuring your files are in order, so it's easy for the next Chair to find things.
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