Department Chair and Program Director Guide

Section Three – Chair Approval Items and Budgets

Introduction – 3:1

The following items need the approval/signature of the Department Chair. Please check the Faculty Handbook for information, and contact the Provost’s Office for the current forms.

Course Approval – 3:2

On-campus and study away course approval forms are available online at the Curriculum Committee’s website:

Lecture Series Funding Requests – 3:3

The Lecture Series is chaired by Joaquin Villanueva ( In order to make a request to the Series, submit proposals using the Application for Lyceum and Lefler Lecture Series form:

Academic Assistants – 3:4

Each department and some interdisciplinary programs have the opportunity to appoint an academic assistant(s) for a semester or full-year appointment. Appointment of the academic assistant is done by the department and is based upon the following criteria:

  1. Academic excellence in major field and in general studies.
  2. Potential for excellence in academic discipline.
  3. Expressed interest in the appointment by the appointee.

The specific responsibilities for academic assistants will vary somewhat among the departments/programs; however, generally the responsibilities fall into one or more of the following areas:

  1. Conducts own research project.
  2. Conducts or assists with a specific departmental research project.
  3. Assists with teaching specific course content.
  4. Serves as student resource person for departmental decisions.

Identification of academic assistants happens at the beginning of each semester, and the information shared with Karissa Winter ( or 507-933-7675) as soon as possible. The appointment comes with a stipend, the amount of which varies depending on the length of the appointment and number of students receiving appointments. 

Budget Information – 3:5

Department Budgets

In early fall, every department submits a non-personnel operating budget request for the upcoming fiscal year which begins June 1. This request includes educational supplies, expenses, printing and offices supplies, and major items of equipment, and student summer work. The budget request asks for definite allocations to cover both equipment and expendable items along with rationale. The Provost's Office team reviews departmental requests, requests additional information from departments, and makes a budget recommendation for consideration by the IBC (Internal Budget Committee), Finance Office, Cabinet, and Board of Trustees. The chair/director typically receives notice about budget approval amount during the late spring/early summer. It is the responsibility of the department budget manager to operate within these allocations and to monitor monthly charges on MyGustavus.

The Finance Office processes all purchase orders for instructional materials. It also arranges for maintenance and repair of office equipment, the cost of which is charged to the department. There is no charge for business stationery/copier paper, available through Print Services in the Jackson Campus Center.

The Book Mark handles all orders for class texts, while requests for desk copies are made directly to the publisher by the instructor or department. Most clerical supplies, from folders to paper clips, are available at the Book Mark. The individual faculty member may take care of their own needs in this area, but in the interest of efficiency, departments should order and have on hand frequently-used supplies necessary for instruction.

Library Budgets

The major responsibility for ordering books to garner and maintain adequate resources for their departments, within limits of available funds, rests with the respective departments. Chairs are informed of the amount allocated for each fiscal year and are sent subsequent statements of balance unspent. Februarty 15 is the deadline for making departmental orders for each fiscal year. Please be alert to messages from Kate Sonsteby ( or 507-933-7560) regarding departmental acquisitions.

Research, Scholarship, and Creativity and Presidential Faculty/Student Collaboration Grants

Applications are typically due each February. See the Kendall Center Website for more information:

Department Chair Stipends

Each department chair/program director receives additional compensation in the form of a stipend. This is paid out over the 9-month period of September through May. This stipend is paid as taxable income through payroll.

The conferral of these funds acknowledges the administrative work and responsibility undertaken by chairs and directors on behalf of their department/program and the College. The amount granted, determined by the Provost, is determined, in part, by the number of faculty, number of students, size of the departmental budget, and complexity of the academic program. The amount allocated to each department chair fund is reviewed on a regular basis (approximately every five years), in collaboration with appropriate faculty governance committees.

Selling Inventory and Equipment – 3:6

If an academic department wishes to dispose of or sell items in their inventory, here is the process:

  1. A department member identifies items to be sold or disposed of and notifies their chair.
    a. Note that only departmental items (e.g., scientific equipment, specimens, maps) may be sold or disposed of. Items such as furniture are not considered departmental; their disposition will be determined by Facilities.
    b. If an item is used by another department or program, the chair will initiate a conversation with that department.
    c. If an item is potentially usable by another department or program, the chair should notify other chairs/program directors that this item is available for interdepartmental transfer. Transferring equipment for use by another unit should take precedence over sale or disposal.
  2. If the item is capital equipment (original purchase price >$5000):
    a. Complete an equipment divestment form, which goes to Dean Sarah Bridges ( or 507-933-6514) to begin the process of approval and inventory control.
    b. If the intention is to dispose of the item, the item can be recycled/scrapped using the procedure developed by Facilities. Indicate “disposal” on the equipment divestment form.
    c. If the intention is to sell the item, this should be indicated on the equipment divestment form. The department chair or designee (one individual in each department) manages the sale of the item. See details for sale protocol, below.
  3. If the item is not capital equipment (original purchase price <$5000):
    a. Item may be disposed of without permission from the Dean. No need to fill out an equipment divestment form.
    b. If the intention is to sell the item, the equipment divestment form must be completed. The department chair or designee manages the sale of the item. See details for sale protocol below.

Sale Protocol

  1. Department chair or designee decides a mechanism for sale (e.g., eBay, private transaction).
    a. The list price includes sales tax. If a buyer is a registered tax-exempt organization, deduct the sales tax from the price after receiving the State Sales Tax Exemption Form from the buyer.
    b. If the chair or designee has a question about potential conflict of interest for a private transaction, contact Dean Sarah Bridges ( or 507-933-6514).
  2. Department chair or designee informs Finance of the final sale price, using the equipment sale form. Finance will assume that sales tax is deducted unless the department includes a State Sales Tax Exemption form from the buyer with the equipment sale form. Funds are deposited into an equipment sale account, managed by the Provost’s Office. Funds expire at the end of the fiscal year during which they are received. Departments will have immediate access to funds received for sales less than $500 and may allocate the funds toward any departmental need. If a sale is for $500 or more, a department may request allocation of funds for a specific purpose, subject to approval by the Provost’s Office and/or Research and Sponsored Programs Office, as appropriate.


Course Scheduling and Staffing – 3:7

Department chairs/program directors have the responsibility of submitting department course schedules and associated staffing to the Registrar for each term (i.e., fall, January, spring). In order to facilitate this process and for planning purposes, each fall the Provost’s Office requests responses to course scheduling and planning documents in which each department chair articulates a plan for departmental course offerings for the following academic year. This plan is informed by course enrollment and majors information, and the associated departmental non-tenure-track staffing needs to carry out this plan. Program directors complete similar documentation relevant to interdisciplinary programs that focus upon needs for program course offerings.

The Provost’s Office considers this information holistically as it plans for academic program offerings for the following academic year, and makes decisions about proposed non-tenure-track positions and associated teaching loads. Generally, non-tenure-track positions are approved in January and searches are conducted February-April, with an anticipated start date of September 1.

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Last modified: 10 August 2022 by Shanon Nowell