Departmental leader responsible for the performance of the department in all missions
Defines departmental values, vision, and mission
"Everyone watches what the boss watches…"
A Department Chair must define the above for his or her group in words and behavior. If you expect your faculty to take call, then take call yourself. If you expect your faculty to see extra walk-ins in clinic, then you do the same. If you expect academic productivity then write or contribute to publications. If you expect all faculty to attend Grand Rounds, then attend Grand Rounds. If you expect interdepartmental collaboration, then work with other Chairs collaboratively. In essence, "walk the talk", maintain high expectations, and emphasize excellence.
Develops a departmental strategic plan with the faculty and implements it
A department needs to see and feel direction and purpose in the organization above and beyond the day-to-day routine. A strategic plan will crystallize WHAT you want to be as a department and HOW you are going to get there. We would suggest applying this process to clinical, research, service and educational aspects of the department. Goals should be measurable and potentially achievable.
A Chair must find resources to meet the needs of the Department
Obtaining resources for one's department can include a) writing grants; b) finding philanthropic support; and/or c) negotiating with the Dean and/or the Executive Leadership Group (ELG) for institutional resources. Certainly a Department Chair needs to champion his or her group. It is helpful, however, to put yourself in other's shoes and demonstrate how something can be a win-win for your Department and the larger organization.
Develops a local, regional and national reputation for the Department
Department chairs should be visible at the state and local levels, and function as a resource for health care providers around the region. This will require a commitment to access for information and patient care. Key areas for developing local, regional, and state visibility include activity in local and state medical and subspecialty societies, clinical outreach to other communities, and marketing efforts to promote name recognition.
Two key areas for developing and maintaining a national reputation are:
- Academic productivity – research papers, presentations, competitive grants, teaching courses, symposia panelists, and discovery of knowledge!
- Faculty in visible positions in academic, scientific, and leadership societies. Promoting faculty in outside organizations is part of the mentorship role of a Chair and is very important for Department visibility. It is important that there be an appropriate balance in the time commitment spent travelling that is required to establish a national reputation and a Chair's responsibilities on the "home front". Both aspects of the Chair's role are important, but the Chair should be cognizant of not being perceived as an "absentee Chair".
Functions as the Departmental spokesperson within WVU and with the public
The Chair is the representative of his or her Department within the Institution and to the external public. What you say as a spokesperson will reflect on the entire Department. At times you will become a cheerleader for positive events or achievements in the Department. Also be prepared at times to apologize for actual or perceived mistakes or poor service (e.g. to an angry patient). As a leader, the Chair must have a very strong sense of accountability for all Department activities.
Judgment and foresight is needed to be sure speaking up for one's Department is not at odds with larger institutional goals.
The Chair must identify Departmental priorities and provide the necessary support for these focus areas
Departmental priorities will usually arise from the Chair's vision, although directives may come from the Dean of the School ("Build a research program" or "Expand the trauma services regionally"). We also recommend garnering faculty input when choosing areas of focus, as this promotes aligned incentives and buy-in to Department goals. A retreat or mini-retreat is a good way to achieve this.
Integration of several focus areas within the Department as a whole requires communication and leadership. Updates on each focus area should be provided at faculty meetings or other appropriate Department gatherings. E-mail list serves are a useful tool for announcements or problem solving requests that often provide good feedback to the Chair and keep people connected.
Maintaining a Department's priorities requires consistent reinforcement from the Chair. It also requires competent individuals to drive the initiatives, be they Division Chiefs or faculty members. It is difficult or perhaps impossible for a Chair to drive everything given our clinical, academic and administrative demands, so delegation of responsibilities to faculty to help start and manage programs is very important.
For Chairs: "Lead more, manage less."
Attracts developmental and other funds
Given the importance of revenue streams from as many sources as possible, the Chair should be aware of patients opportunities to identify potential donors for the Department, such as patients, philanthropists, agencies, foundations and others with specific programmatic interests. One should have a working relationship with the development office, preferably with one contact person, to utilize their expertise in fundraising and philanthropic gifts. Funds other than philanthropic sources should be considered such as contract work and grants. The Chair should be knowledgeable regarding private and governmental funding agencies relevant to the Department faculty's research.