Your First Semester as External Chair: A Roadmap for Success

Last updated August 3, 2020

Your First Semester as External Chair: A Roadmap for Success

Last updated August 3, 2020

Take the guesswork out of your first semester as an external department chair coming from outside the department or institution.


As an external chair, you have a steep learning curve ahead of you. You must build a trusted advisory network, run an effective mentorship program, clarify expectations for faculty and staff evaluations, start overseeing tenure and promotion, and synthesize enrollment trends and targets. As an external appointee, you have to move fast. No one will wait for you to catch up.

Join us for a one-hour webcast that will provide you with the roadmap to success for your first semester as an external chair. Our expert has served as a chair for three departments and will help you proceed with purpose and intention through the tasks that you need to accomplish as soon as possible, by early fall, and by the end of the fall semester.

Who should attend?

Department chairs, program heads, and anyone of a similar title who has taken over an academic department or program from a different department, program, or institution will benefit from this webcast. Academic deans interested in supporting external chairs on campus, as well as internal chairs in their first semester may also benefit from this training.


After introducing the unique opportunities and challenges of entering a department from the outside, our expert will offer a playbook for your first semester as an external chair.

1. As Soon as Possible:

  • Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within your unit
  • Analyze executive summaries of accreditation and internal program reviews
  • Familiarize yourself with the most important departmental and institutional policies and processes


2. Throughout the First Quarter:

  • Learn faculty and staff roles and responsibilities
  • Meet your stakeholders, build your network, and learn who you can trust


3. By the End of the Fall Semester:

  • Establish a mentorship program
  • Learn the written and unwritten rules surrounding tenure and promotion
  • Review guidelines and begin implementing evaluations for faculty and staff
  • Assign faculty and staff workload, hire personnel, manage the budget, and fundraise