Annex 8 - Associate Dean and Head of Department Appointment Procedures

A – Procedure for Appointment of Associate Deans


  1. The Dean contacts all Academic staff in the School asking for applications from anyone within the School who might wish to be considered.
  2. The Dean consults all staff in the School inviting confidential written comments on the suitability of the applicants for the role. Any staff member who prefers to send his/her comments to the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC) may choose to do so.
  3. Having considered the comments, the Dean of School and the relevant Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) will short list and interview the candidate(s) who stated their willingness to be considered.
  4. Following interviews, the Dean and relevant PVC will make recommendations to the Provost & Deputy Vice-Chancellor, who will make an appointment on behalf of Senate.
  5. The appointment will be reported to Senate.
  6. The Dean of School should notify the School of the outcome of the process.

Period of Appointment

Associate Deans should normally be appointed for a period of three years in the first instance. Appointments may be extended by further periods of office. Each period of office shall be up to three years. At the end of each three-year period, the full selection procedure should be repeated. 

Once the preferred candidate has been appointed through the above procedure, the Dean should inform the Academic Registrar (who will ensure the appointment is reported to Senate and the central website of Associate Dean appointments is kept up to date) and the Director of HR (who will ensure that all relevant HR records are updated and follow-up actions undertaken). The notification from the Dean should include details of the start and end dates of the appointment.

B – Procedure for Appointment of Heads of Department

Following agreement at Senate on 26 June 2013, the process to be followed for the appointment of Heads of Department (where Departments exist within a School) is determined by the Dean of the School. This arrangement mirrors that in place for discipline leaders in other Schools where the departmental structure does not exist.

It is important that Heads of Department and discipline leaders have the support of the staff who they serve. The appointment process should therefore be transparent and involve consultation with staff within the Department. The Provost & Deputy Vice-Chancellor will seek feedback from Deans following Head of Department appointments made from 2013/14 onwards concerning the processes followed to enable sharing of good practice.

Deans of School are advised to consider the advantages of agreeing a clear term of office with Heads of Department and discipline leaders (three years with the possibility of re-appointment is generally recommended) and to ensure that the procedures used give scope to consider other candidates even when an incumbent is willing to continue beyond their current term, to enable the best candidates to be appointed.

Deans are asked to notify the Academic Registrar and the Director of HR when a Head of Department stands down and a new individual is appointed so the central website of Head of Department can be kept up to date, and all relevant HR records can be updated and follow-up actions undertaken. The notification from the Dean should include details of the start and end date of the appointment.

The appointment of Heads of Department is not routinely reported to Senate and Council following the discontinuation of the centrally determined process at the end of 2012/13.