University of Washington Policy Directory

Print This Page
*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Presidential Orders


Executive Order


No. 20



Administrative Appointments, Review of Administrative Appointments, and Review of Academic Units



1.  Administrative Appointment Policy

  It is the policy of the University to attract and retain qualified individuals to serve in principal administrative positions, both academic and nonacademic in nature, and to establish guidelines for selection and review. Such positions include the Provost, the deans, directors, and chairs of departments or equivalent units, directors of libraries, major institutes and centers, and such other principal administrative officers as may be designated at the time of appointment. Because such appointments are crucial to the effective operation of the University, appointment procedures are needed to insure the selection of well-qualified personnel for these offices. Procedures governing administrative appointments are described below in Section 2. Since the nature or purpose of a particular appointment and the goals established for the incumbent are subject to change, it is equally important to reevaluate all appointments periodically. Procedures for such reviews are described in Section 3. No administrative position is tenured and the President reserves the right to appoint, continue, or terminate any administrator. However, it is the intention of this policy that the appointment procedures will be followed in the search for eligible candidates and the periodic review procedures will be utilized as a constructive mechanism for improving administrative performance.

2.  Appointment Process for Administrative Officers

  A. In accordance with the Bylaws and Standing Orders of the Board of Regents, the President of the University is charged with the responsibility of making recommendations to the Board of Regents for the appointment of principal administrative officers. The following subsections describe the procedure to be used by the President in reaching recommendations to the Board of Regents with reference to the types of appointments indicated.

  B. Before a dean recommends to the President the appointment of a chair of a department, an ad hoc committee responsible for recommending the appointment of such chair shall be appointed by the appropriate dean, or by the President (see Faculty Code, Chapter 24, Section 24-52, Subsection A.2). Before the President recommends the appointment of a dean of a school or college, an ad hoc committee responsible for recommending the appointment of such dean shall be appointed by the President (see Faculty Code, Chapter 24, Section 24-52, Subsection A.3). Experience dictates that the committee must be small enough to permit frequent meetings. It must engage in widespread consultation concerning suggested candidates with faculty, representative students, and persons elsewhere, including alumni, knowledgeable about the area concerned. A majority of the committee will consist of administrators or faculty from related areas, who are not themselves directly involved in the affairs of the unit concerned, but who are familiar with its responsibilities and needs. The other members will be faculty individuals who are themselves directly involved in the internal affairs of the department, school, or college under consideration, chosen to provide a perspective on the affairs of the entire unit. At least one of such faculty members shall be selected from amongst the members of the appropriate elected faculty council or committee of the department, school, or college. The duty of the appointment committee is to search for suitable candidates, to study and determine their qualifications, and to obtain and evaluate all data (see Faculty Code, Chapter 24, Section 24-52, Subsection B).

  C. Upon appointment, the committee should establish a procedure which identifies the sequential steps, the time deadlines, and the methods to be taken for involving faculty and students, as representatives of groups concerned and as individuals, as well as other persons knowledgeable about the area concerned. For example:

    1) If the selection of a dean or chair is to be made from among individuals who are presently members of the faculty, individual faculty members and representative students, and other pertinent representative persons, should be invited to review, evaluate, and make recommendations about all possible candidates. If the selection of a dean or chair is to involve individuals not already on the faculty, individual faculty members, representative students, and other pertinent representative persons should be invited to suggest names for consideration by the appointment committee.

    2) When specific outside candidates have been identified by the committee and are invited to the campus, procedures should provide for significant numbers of faculty and students to meet the candidates. There should be a systematic way for these faculty and students to submit information regarding their impressions, either in writing or in person. The committee should give serious consideration to these reactions in making their recommendations to the dean or the President, and their recommendations should include a summary of faculty and student reactions.

    3) The dean shall deal directly with the committee in making a decision as to his or her recommendation for the appointment of a department chair. The department concerned shall be consulted in making the appointment (see the Faculty Code, Chapter 24, Section 24-52, Subsection C.2). The dean is not required to accept the recommendations of the appointment committee.

    4) The President shall deal directly with the committee in making a decision as to a recommendation for the appointment of a dean (See Faculty Code, Chapter 24, Section 24-52, Subsection C.3). The President is not required to accept the recommendations of the appointment committee.

  D. In recommending appointments to the directorship of other academic units, the President, vice presidents, and/or deans will use procedures similar to those described above in Section 2.C.1 through Section 2.C.4.

  E. Vice presidents and other principal administrative aides to the President, associate deans, and other principal administrative aides to deans, are not considered as autonomous administrators but as adjuncts to the office respectively of the President or of the dean. The President and deans are free to use whatever procedures they deem desirable in reaching recommendations concerning the appointment and review of such appointees within their own offices.

  F. All administrative appointees who fall within the purview of this policy will be notified at the time of appointment that periodic reviews will be conducted in accordance with the nature and guidelines set forth in Section 3 of this executive order to evaluate the appropriateness of continued appointments.

3.  Review of Administrative Appointments

  A. Academic Administrative Appointments

Because of the changing nature or degree of completion of the particular tasks which an administrative appointee may have been requested to perform at the time of the initial appointment, it is beneficial to the academic administrator, the unit for which the administrator has responsibility, and the University, that periodic reviews be conducted. Such reviews are to be conducted to assess the recent accomplishments of the administrator in light of the past, present, and future goals of the individual and the unit, and changes in related units or in the University which affect the unit.

The following principles shall be adhered to by the reviewing authority in conducting such reviews: At intervals of not longer than five years, or sooner if requested by the incumbent, the immediate supervisor, or the President, a review shall normally be undertaken of each academic administrative appointee. The immediate supervisor of the academic administrative appointee will be the reviewing authority who will undertake to carry out the review, advised by an ad hoc review committee constituted as described in Section 2.B. above. They should first consult with the incumbent on his or her views of past policies and practices and his or her projections of future goals for both the unit and the incumbent; and, where applicable, they should examine past accomplishments and future goals concerning the quality of graduate and undergraduate education. They should solicit comments of a similar nature from all concerned constituencies: faculty, students, staff, other administrators, relevant faculty councils, and, if deemed appropriate, knowledgeable persons from outside the University. Ample time should be allowed for the collection of comments from all involved parties. Upon completion of the review, the reviewing authority shall transmit a report to the President, with a copy to the Provost and the incumbent.

  B. Nonacademic Administrative Appointments

Business units, student services, support services, or other nonacademic programs or units which are headed by nonacademic administrative appointees should also undergo periodic reviews. At intervals of not more than five years, or sooner if requested by the incumbent, the immediate supervisor, or the President, a review should be undertaken to assess the status of the unit and the personnel responsible therefore. Normally, the immediate supervisor will be the reviewing authority. The review procedure should be adjusted to fit the particular unit and appointee being reviewed, but should, at minimum, include solicitations of comments from staff, administration, related faculty committees, if any, and from any other knowledgeable or interested parties.

4.  Review of Academic Units

Reviews of all academic units including the graduate and undergraduate degree programs offered by these units are required at least every ten years and are conducted jointly by the Dean of the Graduate School and the Dean of Undergraduate Education in cooperation with the relevant school or college dean. These reviews of individual academic units offering degree programs should be supplemented, also on a ten-year cycle, by comprehensive reviews of overall college or school structures and function. To the degree possible, the reviews of individual academic units should be coordinated with the review of the overall college or school.

Among the outcomes of the above reviews should be a clearer understanding of the academic unit's:

  • Quality of instruction, research, and public service;
  • Value to students' general education and preparation for society;
  • Role within the University and effectiveness in fulfilling that role;
  • Resource requirements;
  • Future objectives and changes necessary to achieve them.

The reports of these reviews of academic units are public documents and are releasable when final University action has been taken.

June 1, 1972; October 24, 1974; July 26, 1977; February 21, 1978; October 29, 1986; December 14, 1994.


For related information, see:

  • Executive Order No. I, "Directors and Chairs"
  • Executive Order No. 12, "The Deans"
  • Executive Order No. 16, "The Board of Deans and Chancellors"