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Undergraduate Program Director

  1. Introduction

               The primary role of the Undergraduate Program Director is to assist the Department Chair with the undergraduate programs located within a single college, or Provost for multidisciplinary undergraduate programs, and to determine that policies and procedures outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog are followed by all program area faculty and students. Additionally, an Undergraduate Program Director facilitates faculty engagement in program activities related to marketing and recruiting, and issues related to the academic program integrity, such as curriculum development, program assessment, course scheduling, identification of qualified adjuncts, and other areas. The Undergraduate Program Director reports to the Department Chair, Dean (or designee), or Provost (or designee). Undergraduate Program Directors serve in a distinct role separate from the Chief Departmental Advisors who focus on the recruitment, advising and retention of students, and Assistant Department Chairs who focus on the administration of university and college policies at the departmental level.

  2. Appointment and Reappointment

               The Undergraduate Program Director should be a full-time faculty member from the program or department in which the program is located. An Undergraduate Program Director may need to be tenured or tenure-track if indicated in accreditation requirements. Many undergraduate programs are implemented and administered within a single department, while others are multidisciplinary in nature and involve the cooperative efforts of several individual departments or colleges. Due to these variations, some Undergraduate Program Directors report directly to a particular departmental Chair, while others report directly to an academic Dean (or designee) or Provost (or designee). The delineation of administrative authority should be established at the time of appointment and clearly understood by all.

               In the case of programs located within a single department, the Undergraduate Program Director will be appointed by the Department Chair, after consultation with the full-time faculty in the program and with the approval of the academic Dean in whose college the program is offered.

               In the case of multidisciplinary programs within a college, the Undergraduate Program Director will be appointed by the Dean of the college that has administrative responsibility for the program, after consultation with the Chairs of participating departments and full-time faculty in the program, and Deans of other colleges, if necessary.

               In the case of multidisciplinary programs that involve more than one college, the Undergraduate Program Director will be appointed by the Provost or designee, after consultation with the affected full-time Chairs, Deans, and full-time faculty of the participating departments.

               At the time of appointment, the Undergraduate Program Director and the Chair from a single department, or Dean or Provost from multidisciplinary programs, should develop a plan for regular consultation and a written position description that provides a clear understanding of the expectations for both parties about the duties and compensation, along with criteria for the annual evaluation. The Office of Academic Affairs will be provided with a copy of the appointment letter or memorandum, after approval by the Dean or designee for review and record purposes.

               An Undergraduate Program Director shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Chair or appropriate administrative supervisor and shall ordinarily be appointed to a term of three years with the possibility of renewal. Evaluation for reappointment is typically begun in the third year with solicitation of input from the program faculty and other relevant sources. An Undergraduate Program Director may ordinarily serve no more than two consecutive terms; however, the Chair or the appropriate administrative supervisor may reappoint the individual for an additional term subject to the approval of the dean or the next level of administrative supervisor. An appointment exceeding three consecutive terms may be made in extraordinary circumstances with the additional approval of the Provost or designee.

  3. Duties and Responsibilities

               The duties of an Undergraduate Program Director depend upon a number of factors: particular discipline, size of the program, number of academic programs covered by the Undergraduate Program Director, and degree of staff support. While the ultimate responsibility for a curriculum rests with departmental faculty, who may serve on specific committees or who may otherwise assist in various capacities, managing some or all of the following areas of responsibility are examples of duties for the Undergraduate Program Director:

    • Program Marketing and Recruitment – collaborate with the Department Chair, Chief Departmental Advisor, Student Engagement and Enrollment Services, the Office of Admissions, and Distance Learning to plan, initiate and maintain contact with prospects, prepare the content of promotional materials, and maintain program website.

    • Admission to Program – where applicable, work with the Office of Admissions, the program admissions committee and the Chief Departmental Advisor to coordinate application review, admissions decisions, and communication with admitted students. Assist the Department Chair with the establishment of program capacity, and manage enrollment.
    • Program Policies – may maintain the program policies and disseminate student guidelines.
    • Curriculum Review - work with the Department Chair to revise and update the Undergraduate Catalog content, including all curricular changes, new course proposals, and old course deactivations.
    • Scheduling – advise the Department Chair or appropriate administrative supervisor on course demands and scheduling each semester and assist with the hiring of adjuncts and assignment of courses to faculty and adjuncts.
    • Program Assessment – work with the Department Chair or appropriate administrative supervisor, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment to coordinate annual program evaluations to meet the requirements of accrediting bodies and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).
    • Advising - support the advising responsibilities of the faculty within the department and serve as the point of contact for transfer course evaluations and management of articulation agreements. This task may also be conducted by, or in collaboration with the Chief Departmental Advisor.
    • Problem Resolution - assist the Chair in addressing instructor teaching questions and concerns and student questions and concerns, which may include directing them to a relevant office, contact, or policy.
  4. Release Time and Compensation

               The amount of release time and other compensation, such as a summer stipend, will vary with the size and scope of the program and the duties established as discussed in section C (above). An Undergraduate Program Director is normally provided with release time and/or a stipend for this function. Summer stipends are expected for UPD's who do summer program management of programs with an FTE exceeding 50. This stipend will be paid by Academic Affairs. Undergraduate Program Directors with dual roles, in which they are also functioning as Chief Departmental Advisors or Assistant Chairs might be offered a stipend instead of an additional course release. Course releases ordinarily should be three credit hours per academic year if the annual program FTEs are under 300 and three credit hours per semester if the annual program FTEs are above 300. When a new program is being started or a program has other complexities (e.g. a program is being developed and SCHEV proposal prepared, program is exceptionally large, a program is seeking accreditation), the Dean can make exceptions for additional compensation.

  5. Evaluation of Performance

               The primary person responsible for evaluating the performance of the Undergraduate Program Director will be the person to whom the Undergraduate Program Director reports, as indicated in Section B (above) and will include input from the program faculty and academic Dean. It is expected that a portion of the annual faculty evaluation of the Undergraduate Program Director will be devoted to the performance in that capacity.

-Approved by the President
February 17, 2021


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