Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Kresge Library, Room 430
100 Library Drive
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4479
(location map)
(248) 370-2751
[email protected]

A room full of adults seated at large round tables with notebooks and documents.

Chairs' Corner

Shareable Documents

Welcome to a new semester! 

Please share with your departments the newest information regarding CETL Fall schedule, upcoming events and more. 

Important Information
Roles and Responsibilities of the Chair

Chair and Administration

What’s my job?

The university agreement defines the parameters of the Chairperson’s role. Although every department has unique needs, the faculty agreement can provide a list of expectations for Chairpersons across the university. The following is a non-exhaustive summary of the contract duties:

  • Responsible for exercising academic leadership in the teaching, scholarship, planning, and other activities of the department.
  • Developing course and teaching schedules and assigning members of the department to these activities;
  • Implementing university regulations and policies within the department;
  • Resolution, when possible, of problems, disagreements, and non-bargaining member faculty grievances among faculty, department employees, students, or other interested parties;
  • Monitoring the attendance and time commitments of their departmental employees and, when appropriate, reviewing the proper discharge of faculty responsibilities;
  • Instructing new faculty members on the responsibilities of their positions;
  • Submitting budget requests, establishing expenditure priorities, and administering the department budget within the OU guidelines;
  • As detailed in the contract, Chairs are expected to make independent judgments and recommendations on faculty and departmental employee appointments, reappointments, promotions;
  • Overseeing departmental compliance with the Higher Learning Commission guidelines. (The HLC is the accrediting body for our university.)
Important Dates

Check with your Dean’s Office regularly for relevant dates and information, and refer to department and office websites.

Registrar List of Important Dates

A recent and updated list of all important dates for the academic year is located on the registrar’s homepage.

Faculty Feedback

Faculty are encouraged to submit feedback during weeks 2-5 of the semester. Deadlines are communicated via the Provost's Office each semester. Faculty Feedback at Oakland University is a system for providing feedback to students who may be falling behind in a course. Its success counts on giving students feedback early enough in a semester that they can act in a way that ensures their success. It is required for all courses up to the 2000 level, such as courses that begin with a 0-, 1-, or 2-. Faculty Feedback can be used at any point throughout the semester as often as an instructor wants, but using the system between weeks 2 and 5 yields the best results as far as student persistence and retention. The Faculty Feedback form can be accessed through Faculty/Staff SAIL log in webpage. Follow the tab labeled “Faculty Feedback” to see a list of courses/students eligible for feedback and comments.

OU Senate Meeting Dates

Meetings are typically on the third Thursday of the month, with the exception being December and May meetings on the first Thursday of the month. Meetings are not usually held in June to August. Find information about meetings on the Senate website.

Faculty Tenure and Promotion

These are selected dates from the collective bargaining agreement between Oakland University and the Oakland University Chapter of the AAUP (Faculty Agreement). See full details of processes, procedures, and all relevant dates in the agreement.

Things to keep in mind:

  • New faculty contracts normally begin August 15 of any year.
  • In terms of promotion and tenure review dates, in addition to the contractual deadlines, department or academic unit review statements provide deadlines for when faculty under review should turn in their materials. See your department or academic unit review statements for applicable deadline information.
Important Policies and Procedures

Some Helpful Policies and Procedures

The Faculty AAUP Contract can be accessed through The American Association for University Professors chapter through the Agreement webpage. The contract contains important info regarding the Chair’s job description, tuition waivers for dependents, and merit pay.

Below is a listing of Oakland University administrative policies that may be particularly important to you as a department chair.  This is not a complete list, and there are many other OU policies which can be accessed

Important Things to Know

Faculty experiencing a pregnancy, adoption, or family illness? Resources exist within the university to help faculty during these life changes. Reaching out to Academic Human Resources can help the faculty navigate leaves (such as FMLA and/or disability). Currently, OU does not have a policy regarding maternity/paternity leave beyond the federally mandated FMLA. Individual College Deans should be contacted regarding workload and service adjustments.

Faculty overwhelmed and struggling to balance work and life? Academic Human Resources and WERG have created a brochure that provides a series of resources for faculty members (and Chairs) navigating work-life balance, which can be obtained by contacting [email protected]. Some highlights include: A summary of leaves available to faculty including military, FMLA, bereavement, and sickness. A brief description of the pathway to promotion and tenure. This includes some modifications to the typical progression (such as stoppage of tenure clock). Lists of support services and contact information such as OUCares (the University Center for Autism research), WISER@OU (women in STEM fields), and the Employee Resource groups.

Managing Behavioral Problems

Concerned about a student?

Several resources exist to report and support students struggling in or outside of classes:

  • Report any behavioral concerns through the Dean of Students website. The Report Behavior form is located at the top of any webpage. The report and support concerns form is located under the Additional behavior concern information can be found on the Dean of Students’ Faculty and Staff Resources page. The Dean of Students office can be reached by phone at (734)-370-3465.
  • The OU Counseling Center is available to any staff or student. Services include personal counseling, substance abuse evaluation and treatment, consultation, outreach and are available on a short-term basis and may be available same-day by calling (248) 370-3465 or walking into the Graham Health Center.
  • Disability Support Services (DSS) acts as an advocate for students with disabilities, helps students understand university policies and practices, and assists with academic and personal concerns. The DSS office is located at 202 Wilson Hall and can be reached by phone (248-370-3266) or through the DSS website. DSS also provides students with letters for their faculty regarding required accommodations in the classroom.
  • Any incident of dating violence/abuse, sexual assault, stalking or domestic violence involving a student should be directed to the Office of the Dean of Students’ website.

Concerned about a faculty member?

Similar resources are available for concerns regarding faculty behavior and well-being.

  • Any behavioral concerns, such as incivility toward colleagues or inappropriate classroom behavior, should be reported to Academic Human Resources.
  • The OU Counseling Center is available to any staff or student. Faculty receive some discounted sessions and can receive counseling on steps toward future counseling. Services include personal counseling, substance abuse evaluation and treatment, consultation, outreach and are available on a short-term basis and may be available same-day by calling (248) 370-3465 or walking into the Graham Health Center.
  • Any incident of dating violence/abuse, sexual assault, stalking or domestic violence involving a member of the campus community must be directed to the Title IX Coordinator (Chad Martinez, [email protected] or 248-370-3496).
Chair Fellow
2022-2023 Chair Fellow

Headshot of Jeff YoungquistJeff Youngquist

Associate Professor, Communication, Journalism, and Public Relations

Jeff Youngquist is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, Journalism, and Public Relations.  Jeff has been at Oakland University for sixteen years and during that time he has served as the director of the communication program for two years and as the chair of the department for six years.

While at Oakland, Jeff has served on numerous committees including, recently, the planning committee for the Barry M. Klein Center for Culture and Globalization, the Soundings Series selection committee, and the Senate Planning Review committee.  He is currently serving on the Campus Development and Environment committee.

Jeff’s recent writing and research has been focused on communication and academic leadership.  He has published several articles for the journal The Department Chair including: “Oh No! Now What?: Transitioning from Chair to Former Chair”, “Adaptability: A Universal Constant of Effective Academic Leadership”, “Academic Leadership and Creativity”, and “Decision-Making and the New Chair: Guidelines and Principles.”  These articles are currently available on the CETL website.  Jeff also has a book chapter in press for the book The COVID-19 Collection which addresses leadership and ethics during the pandemic.  This chapter is titled “Two Contrasting Ethical Perspectives on Leadership and the COVID-19 ‘return to work’ dilemma: Kant’s Categorical Imperative and Gilligan’s Ethic of Care” and Jeff will also be presenting a paper related to this topic at the International Leadership Association conference in Washington, D.C., this Fall.

You can contact Jeff at [email protected].

Previous Chair Fellows

A headshot of Lori Ostergaard 2021-2022 

Lori Ostergaard

Professor, Department of Writing and Rhetoric

Lori Ostergaard is a Professor in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric and the current co-editor of WPA: Writing Program Administration. Lori has been at Oakland University for fifteen years, and during that time she has served for four years as the director of the first-year writing program and for six years as department chair.

Lori is currently serving on the AAUP Bargaining Team, and over the past fifteen years, she has served as chair or co-chair of the General Education Committee; the General Education Assessment Committee; the Faculty Re-employment, Promotion, and Tenure Committee; and the College of Arts and Sciences Committee on Instruction.
On the national level, Lori currently serves as an ex officio member of the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA) Executive Committee, and she has served as an elected member of both the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s (CCCC) Executive Committee and Nominating Committee. Lori has also served on the CCCC task force that revised the “Statement on Preparing Teachers of College Writing” and she chaired the CCCC task force to revise the “Promotion and Tenure Guidelines for Work with Technology.”

Lori is currently chairing a CWPA task force charged with revising the council’s statement on “Evaluating the Intellectual Work of Writing Administration.” This statement provides guidance to job candidates, hiring committees, tenure and promotion committees, external scholarship reviewers, chairs, deans, and others on how best to evaluate the intellectual work of academic program administrators. In particular this statement identifies five categories of intellectual work that require deep knowledge of research in the field, that can be shared beyond the administrators home institution, and that can be made subject to peer-review: Program Creation and Modification, Curricular Design, Faculty Development, Program Assessment, and Program-Related Textual Production.

Contact Lori at [email protected].

Head shot of Kris Thompson2020 - 2021 

Kris Thompson

Kris Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Physical Therapy Program, Department of Human Movement Sciences in the School of Health Sciences. Kris has been at Oakland University for 30 years.  She served as physical therapy program director for 13 years, followed by 3 years as the first chair of the Department of Human Movement Science. While at Oakland Kris has served on school committees including the SHS Executive Committee, the Faculty Personnel Action Committee and the Committee on Appointment and Promotion. Kris has served as a university senator, on Senate Steering and on the Senate Planning and Review Committee. She is currently a member of Graduate Council and the coordinator for the Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy degree program.

Interprofessional Education (IPE) in the healthcare field is an area of research and professional interest. Kris is a member of the Oakland University IPE Taskforce and works with faculty from the College and the Schools of Health Sciences, Medicine and Nursing. The taskforce is working on developing faculty to facilitate IPE, curricular content and several research projects and grants. Kris recently led a learning community on developing quality IPE.

Contact Kris at [email protected]
headshot of Lisa Hawley


Lisa Hawley

Professor, Department of Counseling

I am excited to serve as the Chair Fellow for the 2019-2020 academic year. I will be entering my 20th year at Oakland University as a faculty member in the Department of Counseling. I have served multiple department roles including doctoral coordinator, accreditation officer and 9 years as Department Chair. This summer I will be completing a research fellowship to continue my work on the impact of objective and subjective SES measures on counselor and client outcomes. As both a faculty member and chair, I have engaged in curriculum development and have experience teaching both clinical and non-clinical courses. I have served on multiple committees on campus including Senate, Graduate Council, IRB, FRPC and Strategic Planning. I have several goals for this year related to supporting chairs. My main goal for this year is to provide updated and timely training and support opportunities for chairs. One of my first initiatives will be a brief survey to current chairs to inquiry about training and support needs. Next year in CETL, we will also begin a new chair cohort group to provide information, support and problem-solving skills for new chairs. Department chair is a demanding and critical role in maintaining quality educational experiences for our students, valuable support to our faculty/staff and contributing to our OU mission. I look forward to providing programming and support to academic chairs across campus and serving Oakland University in this capacity.

Contact Lisa at [email protected].

Head shot of Jenn Heisler


Jennifer Heisler

Associate Professor in Communication

Jennifer M. Heisler is an Associate Professor in the department of Communication and Journalism in the College of Arts and Sciences. She joined the faculty in 2001 after receiving her Ph.D. in Family and Interpersonal Communication from Michigan State University. Jennifer served as Chairperson of COM & JRN from 2009-2015 during which time the department experienced significant growth including multiple new faculty members, a graduate program, and several undergraduate minors. Her research interests explore how families discuss (or don’t) difficult topics such as dating, relationships, gender roles, religion, and finances. Jennifer’s most recent work examines work-family balance for faculty members in higher education, including how the role of department Chairperson influences departmental culture for faculty with children.

Contact Jenn at [email protected].

Head shot of Jay Meehan


Jay Meehan

Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Jay Meehan is a Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and has been at Oakland University since 1987. From 2006-2016, he was chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice. In his 29 years at Oakland, he has served in various leadership roles on University-wide and CAS committees, including Senate Steering Committee, the Faculty Reappointment and Promotion Committee, the CAS Assembly Executive Committee, and the CAS Committee on Appointment and Promotion (CAP).

He was a co-founder of SurPriSe, a CETL-sponsored faculty learning community which fostered interdisciplinary approaches to understanding Surveillance, Privacy and Security through curricular development and research. He is currently teaching courses on the Police and Society, The Surveillance Society, and a seminar on Police-Citizen Interaction. His current research focuses on police-citizen interaction in traffic stops using camera-car data from police department video archives.

Contact Jay at [email protected].
Chairs' Monthly Updates

Every month, Jeff Youngquist, Chair Fellow, sends a Chairs Update via email to keep chairs apprised of programs, services, and other announcements pertaining to their responsibilities.

Access Chairs' Update Archive