The chair of a faculty department of a university is a prestigious position for which only the best are hired. Therefore you do have to strive to become an expert in your filed when you aspire to such a position. In this position you will be in charge of the whole department and report directly to the dean. Although you can delegate responsibilities and duties to some professors in the faculty, the overall direction of the department rests on your shoulders.
In order to be appointed chair of a department, you do need to hold a doctoral degree and have published scholarly writings in this field. Normally, you would have to rise through the ranks of the university echelon. You may have been a full professor at one university and apply for this type of position when it becomes available at another university or you may choose to wait your time until the position becomes available at your current location.
Your educational qualifications, teaching experience in the post-secondary field, expertise in your area and your writings are not the only things considered when you apply for the position of chair. The people hired for these positions are scrutinized to determine their intellectual and administrative abilities, how devoted they are to research and education in general, as well as their leadership qualities. Since this position carries the responsibility of preparing and implementing a budget, you should have good administrative and accounting skills. Your past experience should show that you can maintain a work environment conducive to learning and professional growth and that you can have a good relationship with those under your guidance.
Before you apply for the position of chair, you do need to have an in-depth knowledge of the university and the workings of the department. In your position, you will be expected to promote the department and the point of view the university wants to present to the general population. Your interests have to be put on the backburner, if they are not in agreement with those of the university, as you will be expected to put the interests of the department and university above your own. Therefore, you should feel comfortable in the way the university and department operate before you submit an application.
There is a committee responsible for hiring a chair of a department. This committee is made up of the dean and other members representing all areas of the department. It is also possible to be recommended for the position. The members of the committee will review the applications and recommendations and arrange interviews. Then the committee members vote for the person each one believes to be the best one to fulfill the duties.
When you do get hired as chair of the department, the appointment is usually for a five-year term. During this time, you will be reviewed and evaluated on a periodic basis. After that time, the committee in charge of hiring you will determine whether they will renew your contract or elect to search for a new person to fill that role. However, your contract cannot be renewed for more than two terms.