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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


One Position, Two Roles (Department Chair and Associate Director), So What?

- Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Two hats being held by dept chair and associate director

I have heard many of you say you like your work because every day is different. That holds true for me too since I get to do this work wearing two different hats. One is as chair of the Department of Extension, the other is as associate director, Extension programs. Like any two hats, these roles have some elements in common. For example:

Both play a part in helping with faculty and A&P promotion.

  1. As chair, I am responsible for naming the department’s promotion and tenure (P&T) committees and guiding probationary (untenured) faculty through the P&T process as well as tenured faculty pursuing promotion to professor. This process and the key criteria for promotion are outlined in the department’s Appointments, Promotion & Tenure Criteria and Procedures document.
  2. As associate director, I am responsible for the A&P promotion process; a benefit that applies to every one of our A&P I-III educators. I also get to work with our A&P IV educators who take advantage of the opportunity to apply for an untenured faculty position without a national search.


Both play a part in guiding Extension programming.

  1. As Extension department chair, I am charged with “representing the faculty of the department (currently 69) in dealing with the dean or others in the university administration” (OAA 3335-3-35). This role also involves working with each faculty member’s direct supervisor and program leader (assistant director) to guide and evaluate annual performance and identify goals via formal letter.
  2. As associate director, I help to identify and connect our various resources (i.e. human, funding, programmatic, etc) to advance our programmatic mission. This might be helping A&P educators gain PI status needed to conduct research and apply for grant funding. It also includes working with Extension assistant directors, area leaders, and faculty and staff in other departments, colleges, (and sometimes states!) to assemble and support multi-disciplinary and cross-programmatic teams to address issues and opportunities. Leadership for comprehensive program reviews is also part of this role.


And yet they are distinctly different too:

  1. The department chair is appointed by (and reports to) the dean of the college subject to formal approval of the executive vice president and provost, president and board of trustees. Deans determine the terms of appointment. Chairs are normally appointed for a four-year term. Chairs are subject to regular review and may be removed before the end of their appointment.
  2. The chair is charged with revising the department’s Appointments, Promotion & Tenure and Pattern of Administration (APT & POA) documents when necessary (or when assuming the role of incoming chair). The associate director connects with Extension’s assistant directors (think ‘state program leaders’) and others working in Ohio’s land-grant institutions to help identify, develop and evaluate our Extension efforts as a mission area (‘mission area’?...think of Extension as a ‘function’ of the land-grant institution, rather than a department).


There is so much more to share and learn here. But in short, like you, I enjoy the seemingly endless opportunities to wear different hats and work with others to make life better. Every day is different. Could there be a more fulfilling way to spend one’s career?

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