Office for Faculty Development

Working with Administrative Staff and Other Support Staff

The daily life of the chair can be made easier through effective use of support staff that might be available in the department. Chairs may supervise part-time and full-time employees who are temporary or permanent staff and may be members of either the Classified Staff Union or Professional Staff Union. Their bargaining agreements, available on the Human Resources website, contain guidelines/regulations concerning their hiring, evaluation, merit, and supervision. Non-benefitted temporary employees may include hourly, salaried, or seasonal student and non-student workers.

As the department chair, you are also responsible for overseeing professional and classified staff in your department. The professional staff may be directly under your supervision, whereas the classified staff may report to a professional or another classified staff member. In either case, you are ultimately the individual who ensures that specific departmental tasks assigned to professional and classified staff members are adequately and competently fulfilled. In addition to periodic meetings with these individuals where you discuss particular challenges or issues that might arise during the semester, it is important that you review your professional staff annually. The department business manager and the lab manager are examples of professional staff positions.

As the supervisor, you are responsible for determining the goals for the year and the priorities you need the staff member to follow. Classified staff are reviewed on their hire date and professional staff are reviewed in July. At this annual review, communicate clearly how the staff member's performance compares against your expectations for the role, and also register any issues raised by the staff member. Let the staff member know the ways in which s/he has met expectations, and the areas in which there could be improvements. This review should also be written up formally and a copy placed in the personnel file. However, there are specific rules about documenting performance; please contact HR for more information. 

Whenever assigning a particular task, be sure to give clear detailed instructions:

  • If not obvious, explain the context of the job.
  • Explain step by step what needs to be done.
  • Clearly indicate the day or time by which you need the job done.
  • Give ample lead time. The occasional rush job is understandable, but not as a common practice.
  • Ask if s/he has any questions about the job.

Additional Sources of Help

·       Talk with your Dean’s Office

·       OFD can also point you in the right direction to get the help that you might need