Academic Leadership Hiring

To ensure consistency across the university, the provost has final authority on hiring of academic leadership positions. The below outlines approvals for academic associate deans and TTF administrator area heads with budget and/or personnel authority (including CAS department heads).

Provost approval is required prior to dean negotiation with candidate. In situations where deans were in conversation/negotiation with candidates before this process was established in May 2018, deans should insert the provost at the next opportunity, using this process.

The Office of the Provost (OtP) anticipates responding to proposals within a week. If proposals are more urgent, deans should indicate that and include a rationale for the urgency.


  1. School/college/department engages in usual process for nominating/determining position.
  2. Dean confirms/chooses final candidate. (Steps 3-4 must happen BEFORE the dean contacts the candidate).
  3. Dean submits recommendation - including candidate information, candidate CV, and recommendation memo - to OtP via the online form. Deans’ recommendation memos are expected to detail the faculty member’s qualifications for the position. At minimum, the memo should include consideration of each candidate’s rank, leadership, and research, as noted in Considerations below.
  4. OtP reviews, talks with dean if necessary, and approves/decides.
  5. OtP informs dean of decision. 
  6. Upon approval, dean negotiates with candidate.
    • If the negotiation result is within expected/approved parameters, school/college creates and sends school/college offer letter. (This document will outline the parameters of the role, compensation, etc. Each school/college is free to create their own template.) 
    • If the negotiation result is outside expected/approved parameters, dean resubmits to OtP (see items 1-3 above)
  7. When candidate accepts, dean emails OtP ( copy of signed school/college offer letter.
  8. OtP sends provost welcome letter to new appointee, with cc to the appropriate dean(s). (This standard letter will emphasize the importance of the candidate’s role and outline provost-level expectations.)
  9. College processes PRF as usual, with OtP approval note attached. 


Recommendations should speak to consideration of the following:

Rank: The general preference is that such leadership positions are assumed by full professors, but OtP acknowledges this is not always possible or preferred. For example, some positions may provide development opportunities for associate professors.

In cases where associate professors are nominated to serve in leadership positions, the appointment letter from the school or college must include a clear statement of the expectation that the faculty member will continue to make progress toward promotion. The details of the arrangement should be agreed upon by the dean, faculty member, and the faculty member's department head. The final arrangement will be added to the terms of the administrative appointment and approved by the provost. At minimum, the arrangement should include:

  • Scheduled time for research mutually agreed upon by the dean and the faculty member
  • A timeline for promotion
  • If appropriate, a memorandum of understanding specifying how the faculty member’s service will be counted in the promotion review (specifically how it may replace teaching and/or research expectations)

Leadership: Heads should have demonstrated administrative skills (e.g., dealing with paperwork, responding to emails, being organized, etc.). This means that a new head should have held one or more minor administrative posts (e.g., Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Undergraduate Studies, member of a department executive committee, etc.).  In addition to administrative skills, heads should have leadership skills (evidenced by service on committees outside the department, comments by colleagues about the head’s leading by example, etc.). Such leadership positions should not be honorific appointments or based on “turns.”

Research: Generally speaking, those in such leadership positions should have a plan for maintaining their research while serving as head or associate dean. The possible exception might be for someone who has decided to take the administrative route with the intention of reducing research activities and who understands the possible impacts of reduced research activity should they return to the faculty. Ideally, heads should have an active research agenda and be prepared to balance it with their work as heads. 

Reappointment: If a dean wishes to reappoint a head or associate dean it should be in light of a review of the person’s work in the role.