Environmental Studies Department Chair

Head up a university's environmental studies department.

What does an Environmental Studies Department Chair do?

As an Environmental Studies Department Chair, you’re like a Manager for the environmental studies department of a college or university. You have to be an Environmental Studies Professor first, and as the Chair, you actually retain many of the same tasks you perform as a Professor. This means, as an Environmental Studies Department Chair, you still teach students, write papers, and get the same perks (summers off!).

The difference of being an Environmental Studies Department Chair lies in what you do with your time out of the classroom. In addition to holding office hours and providing consultation to students, you’re also in charge of things like writing up the department’s budget for the upcoming year, deciding what classes will be offered and when, and double-checking the syllabuses of Professors.

You serve as a liaison between the school’s management, students, and Teachers. If Teachers have problems with school policies or other faculty members, you’re the person they come to. When students have issues with Professors (about grades or inappropriate behavior), you step in.

You try to mediate the problem first, and if that doesn’t work, you approach the school’s Administrators. You also serve as a mentor, overseeing the work of newer members of the staff, and helping older Professors on their path towards tenure.

This job is a lot of work and can put a great deal of pressure on you. In fact, most schools allow their Department Heads to stay in charge only for a few years. This is because the administrative tasks you have to do take a lot of focus away from your teaching and research responsibilities.