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  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

1.5 Academic Administration

The Bylaws of Cornell University, in the Article “Deans, Directors, and Other Academic Officers,” states:

“Deans, directors, and other heads of separate academic units shall have administrative responsibility for their respective units, including the personnel and all programs of instruction and research therein. They shall recommend persons to the President for appointment or election to the professional staff in such units.

“Deans, directors, and heads of separate academic units are responsible for control of expenditures for their respective units and the subordinate schools or departments therein, within budgets developed by the President and approved by the Board of Trustees.  …

“In those colleges, schools and other separate academic units which are organized on a departmental basis, as designated by the Board of Trustees from time to time, there shall be a chairperson or other head of each such department.  They shall be appointed by the dean or other head of the particular academic unit and shall be responsible to that officer for the coordination and promotion of instruction, research and extension and for supervision and coordination of personnel, fiscal and similar administrative matters in their respective departments.”

Academic Dean

 The Bylaws Article on “The Provosts” includes:

“Under the President, the Provost shall be the chief educational officer with responsibility for oversight of all academic programs, and the chief operating officer with responsibility for providing general supervision of all units of the University, other than those reporting to the Provost for Medical Affairs.”

Deans represent their colleges in interactions with the Provost‟s Office. They are responsible for effectively executing the responsibilities the provost designates; for example, carrying out academic and nonacademic affirmative action plans, complying with government and university regulations, and allocating space controlled by the college. They are responsible for controlling appropriated funds and allocating them among the departments and academic units in the college and for approving individual salary levels recommended by chairpersons.

They select department chairpersons, as well as approve or recommend approval for all other appointments, reappointments, promotions, and changes in status of the academic and nonacademic staff. They are the final authority in the college for resolving disputes between faculty members and their chairpersons. They must approve proposals for sponsored research by faculty who have their primary appointment in the college.

Chairperson or Director of a School

Department chairpersons and directors of schools represent the department or school to the office of the dean.  They are responsible to the dean for effectively executing the responsibilities the dean designates; for example, assigning faculty members to courses of instruction or extension work, allocating and controlling funds appropriated to the department or school, recommending salary levels within University guidelines to the deans, recommending to the dean appointments, reappointments, promotions, and changes in status of the academic and nonacademic personnel of the department or school, and allocating space. They must approve proposals by members of the department for sponsored research.

Director of an Intercollege Center

 The responsibilities of directors of centers usually are defined in a charter for the organization. In some centers the authority for basic policies resides in an executive or governing committee, with the administration of these policies in the hands of the director. The committee or the director, whichever has the final authority, has a role similar to that of a department chairperson and reports to an academic officer designated by the provost.


Source: Cornell University Academic Titles and Appointments Policy, pages 14-15

Last Updated: July 10, 2017 at 12:46 pm