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School of Arts and Sciences Program Coordinators Job Description

Program coordinators of interdisciplinary and/or cross-school programs, that have the School of Arts and Sciences as their home school, are vitally important in promoting and advancing the quality of teaching, scholarship and service in the School of Arts and Sciences and in the University as a whole. In the spirit of shared governance, the advisory boards for these A&S programs recommend a suitable program coordinator candidate to the dean of arts and sciences in the manner prescribed for department chairs in the Guide to Faculty Governance. A listing of A&S interdisciplinary and/or cross-school programs and their advisory boards, where applicable, is maintained by the A&S dean’s office.

Program coordinators are responsible to the dean for the normal operations of the program, including scheduling of classes, assigning instructors in collaboration with department chairs (or, in the case of Leadership Studies and Law, with the respective deans), preparing annual budgets, and participating in the annual mid-course reviews as well as in tenure/promotion reviews of faculty members with joint appointments (if so specified in the faculty member’s joint appointment agreement). Program coordinators represent their programs to the administration and in the School of Arts and Sciences Academic Council where they have full voting privileges.

The major responsibilities of program coordinators serving interdisciplinary and/or cross-school programs based in the School of Arts and Sciences include:

Direction of academic program

  • Serving as the public spokesperson for the program and representative of the program to the dean;
  • Collaborating with the dean to insure a self-perpetuating advisory board for the program, which will vary depending on the program’s administrative needs;
  • Leading the program in setting both short- and long-term goals, in establishing and executing assessment efforts, and in using assessment results to promote continuous program improvement;
  • Promoting the attainment of program, school and university goals;
  • Submitting the program's annual report.

Oversight of teaching and advising

  • Building a two-year schedule in cooperation with other programs, departments and schools;
  • Scheduling program courses and assigning instructors to these courses in collaboration with department chairs (or in the case of Leadership Studies and law the respective deans) and in cooperation with the A&S dean's office;
  • Monitoring course registrations and making appropriate adjustments in course schedules and instructor assignments in cooperation with other programs, departments and schools and with the A&S dean's office;
  • Ensuring the timely development, approval, offering and review of appropriate courses;
  • Overseeing program’s involvement with off-campus programs, including study abroad and internships;
  • Facilitating the assignment of faculty to major student advising, working with the Academic Advising office to reassign majors for faculty members that will be on leave,  and expediting the handling of drop/add and transfer-credit requests as well as other requests that require program approval;

Professional development of faculty and staff

  • Mentoring faculty and staff associated with the program and attending in this and other ways to the recognition and development of program faculty and staff, especially in relation to their teaching, scholarship and service responsibilities;
  • Collaborating with the dean in the recommendation and renewal of joint appointments to the program;
  • Participating in the annual, mid-course reviews, tenure/promotion reviews of faculty members with joint appointments (if so specified in the faculty member’s joint appointment agreement);
  • Collaborating in annual reviews of staff;
  • Participating in approved personnel searches in cooperation with the dean's office, other academic programs/schools, and Human Resource Services;
  • Supervising administrative assistants, directors, lab managers and other support personnel;

Management of program resources

  • Preparing budgetary requests and overseeing the maintenance of facilities and equipment and the use of other program resources;
  • Making arrangements for and/or hosting lecturers, pre- and post-doctoral fellows, visiting professors and events, or seeing that such arrangements and hosting are handled in an appropriate manner;

Facilitation of program relations

  • Serving as central figure available to address questions and concerns from students, faculty, staff, parents and others with the expectation of resolution of issues at the program level;
  • Seeing that the program's social relations and activities among faculty, students, and staff contribute toward the achievement of the academic objectives of the program, school and university;
  • Serving a critical role in the mediation of conflicts among constituencies in the program.

Timetable of Responsibilities

The regular ongoing responsibilities of program coordinators are fulfilled day to day throughout the entire year. However, some responsibilities are periodic rather than continuous. Specifics will vary from program to program and from year to year, but a general timeline of such periodic responsibilities is available.

Training and Development

Each program coordinator in the School of Arts and Sciences will typically learn the particular responsibilities of office from former and current program coordinators, will have ready access to the dean and associate deans, and will be encouraged to request from them any necessary information or desired forms of support. The dean will announce off-campus conferences and workshops that promise to be useful for individual program coordinators. To the fullest extent possible, the dean will support participation by program coordinators in such conferences and workshops. The dean may also arrange on-campus training opportunities from time to time, and is open to suggestions about such opportunities. Finally, program coordinators may request discussion and advice at Academic Council meetings on any matters pertaining to the fulfillment of their responsibilities.

Support and Recognition

In fulfilling their responsibilities as directors of academic programs and leaders of the faculty, program coordinators have the support provided by their own program budgets and the opportunity to request additional resources through the office of the dean whenever such support could make a crucial difference to student experience, program quality or faculty development. Such additional support may be made available, at the discretion of the dean, either to insure a margin of excellence for the program as a whole or to provide timely assistance to one of its faculty.
In recognition of the time it takes to fulfill the responsibilities of the program coordinator, program coordinators will typically receive reassigned time from the nominal teaching load in the school of Arts and Sciences. The extent of reassigned time may vary annually depending on circumstances in the home department and the size and complexity of the interdisciplinary and/or cross-school program.

Also, in recognition of the time it takes to fulfill the responsibilities of the program coordinator, it seems appropriate that the University's Committee on Committees, the Arts and Sciences Nominating Committee, and the president, provost, and dean should try not to appoint Arts and Sciences program coordinators to major school and university committees, and even more, not to appoint them as chairs of special ad hoc committees.

Program coordinators will be recognized and rewarded for the quality of their service to their program and to the School of Arts and Sciences.  Program colleagues will assess the program coordinator’s work in the second year of every three-year term, using the form and procedure approved by the faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences. This formal evaluation as well as annual performance evaluations will provide the principal means by which the dean will be able to attend, in the annual review process, to the unique contributions of each individual program coordinator.

As a final sign of recognition of the year-round responsibilities of program coordinators, the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences provides a stipend and a professional development fund.

Endorsed by the Arts & Sciences Academic Council – 4/6/10
Endorsed by the School of Arts and Sciences Faculty – 4/26/10