Role of the DEO


Expectations of DEO Leaders
Vision, Leadership, and Administration
Managing Resources Creatively
Guiding Faculty Development
Directing Faculty Reviews
Supervising the Delivery of Departmental Courses
Developing the Departmental Curriculum
Administering Personnel Policies and Supervising Staff
DEO Meetings

Expectations of DEO Leaders

  1. Be a part of the team – The DEO is a member of the Dean’s leadership team, and we need you to work closely with us to lead your department.
  2. Develop people – Offer honest and constructive feedback. Help others to accomplish more for their own success and that of the department.
  3. Set a positive vision – Create a shared idea of what success looks like and what you can do as a department to move towards that goal.
  4. Lead change – Recognize that change is essential, set goals for change, and lead strategic efforts to adapt the work of the department towards the shared vision.
  5. Be a solution-focused problem solver – Seek information, use data in decision making, and critically evaluate the information to find solutions.
  6. Communicate clearly – Listen. Share information concisely and with purpose. Ensure communications are accurate and honest. You are the primary voice of the college to your department.
  7. Create accountability – Identify the consequences of actions and hold yourself and others responsible for performance. This includes the teaching, scholarly/creative work, and service activities of faculty members.
  8. Create healthy leadership transitions – Onboard new leaders so that they are well prepared. Plan to step away when your leadership is done to allow space for a new leader to take charge.

Vision, Leadership, and Administration

The DEO provides strategic leadership for the department, working both with the faculty and with the Dean’s Office to promote its teaching and research mission. The DEO plays a critical role in executing the departmental strategic plan and ensuring the department is working on building a national reputation and growing in national recognition and ranking. The DEO is responsible for building an inclusive departmental climate that fosters excellence for the career development of all staff and faculty. The DEO is also responsible for ensuring an equitable distribution of departmental labor, optimizing program strength and coordination, and confirming that faculty are actively engaged in scholarship and/or creative work. The DEO must be accountable both to faculty colleagues and to the College in attending to the deadlines of everyday administrative tasks, effectively managing conflict and concerns, providing developmental feedback on faculty trajectory towards promotion, and ensuring that policies and procedures of the department, college, and university are being followed. DEO appointments are at-will and serve at the discretion of the Dean.

Managing Resources Creatively

An important aspect of leadership is using available resources efficiently and acquiring new resources to further the department's mission. This includes ensuring faculty are fully deployed in their teaching role and staff are fully engaged, working to obtain external funding through grants or other awards (where appropriate), and engaging with UICA on fundraising efforts. This also includes active engagement in the recruitment (including Hawkeye Visit Days) and retention of undergraduate and graduate students, curricular innovation to support the general education curriculum, and other potential avenues for revenue generation.

DEOs are encouraged to apply for additional funds through:

  • Alumni Fellow Awards, to bring distinguished alumni to campus for co-curricular presentations, with the call for nominations in the DEO mailing typically in October.
  • CLAS Student Technology Fee Proposals, funded from fee revenues, with the call for proposals in the DEO mailing in late January.
  • The CLAS Bond Fund for Interdisciplinary Interaction, which fosters and supports the visibility and leadership of faculty and departments in research and creative work. A call for nominations is in the DEO Mailing in January & September.
  • Other calls for funding in strategic areas

Guiding Faculty Development

One of the primary functions of the DEO is faculty mentoring at all career stages. This involves supporting and promoting the teaching, scholarly or creative work, and service activities of faculty members. Feedback is a gift. The DEO is responsible for providing faculty with developmental feedback on their teaching, scholarship, and service and for developing goals to assist in strengthening portfolios, which includes addressing performance issues. Working towards promotion should be a goal for all faculty. During annual reviews, it is best practice to review preparation for promotion and additional actions that are necessary to strengthen the portfolio.

The DEO should share with the Dean and associate deans information related to faculty accomplishments and honors, for recognition within the College and in our public relations. The DEO should also nominate their faculty for Collegiate and University honors, which are announced through the DEO mailing.

The College expects that every faculty member actively seek internal and/or external support through extra-departmental, competitive award processes. The DEO should inform faculty about the developmental programs, awards, and grants offered by the College and University as announced through the online DEO Mailing and through the OVPR website.

Directing Faculty Reviews

The DEO makes sure that all faculty reviews result in substantive assessment and recommendations, as well as ensuring that departmental and collegiate procedures are observed. See Faculty Appointments & Review on the College's website.

The Faculty Review Application can be accessed via Self Service and guidance for using the system can be found here. For deadlines for each type of faculty review, with links to review procedures, click here.

Annually, the DEO has the opportunity to meet with the Dean by appointment to discuss salary recommendations for faculty for the next calendar year.

Supervising the Delivery of Departmental Courses and Programs of Study

The DEO ensures that important course policies are observed and that programs of study are offered effectively, including the following:

  • Syllabi for all courses offered in the current semester are on file in the department office. Syllabi must follow the guidelines on this website.
  • The departmental office is open to serve students and faculty during business hours.
  • Office hours of all faculty and TAs are posted in the department office. Every member of the instructional staff is expected to hold at least three published office hours per week and to be available for appointments.
  • All instructional staff notify the DEO of any out-of-town travel during the academic term. If an instructor cannot meet a class as scheduled, they must make other arrangements for instruction and notify students and the department of the arrangements well in advance.
  • Delivery of Final exams should follow the examination policies and best practices, unless a change has been approved in advance by the DEO and by the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum. If a final exam is not appropriate in a specific course, the instructor may substitute another means of final assessment. No exams of any kind may be given during the last week of classes.
  • Student evaluations of teaching are obtained from students in every departmental course. These evaluations must be kept on file as evidence of teaching effectiveness in all reviews of teaching assistants and of faculty at all ranks, including visiting faculty.
  • Course fees are collected through the University billing system, and not by faculty or staff. All course fees must be approved in advance by the College and by the University's Miscellaneous Fees Committee. A call for proposals goes out early in the fall semester. The University Operations Manual (VI.19) prohibits sale of educational materials to students by faculty, staff, or students.
  • Effective departmental advising is available for students in the major and minor, and to those inquiring about the department's programs.
  • Information is available to students inquiring about the department's programs and that there is departmental representation at student recruitment events.

The DEO is also responsible for management and oversight of Teaching Assistants (TAs) in the following ways:

  • Every TA is supervised by a faculty member. The course supervisor ensures that departmental and collegiate teaching standards are met and that departmental and collegiate policies are adhered to; the course supervisor's name must appear on the course syllabus.
  • TAs are appointed to teach courses below 3000. This policy applies to all departmental courses, including those taught in summer session, winter session, as well as extension courses.
  • The Department's TA Proficiency Standards are followed. Every department has adopted standards for selecting teaching assistants, preparing them for teaching, supervising them, and evaluating their teaching performance. See the Operations Manual, III-14).

Developing the Departmental Curriculum

The DEO has important leadership responsibility for development and review of individual departmental courses, the curriculum as a whole, and requirements for departmental majors, minors, certificates, and other offerings. It is crucial that the curriculum and course content reflect developments within the discipline, the range of knowledge and skills appropriate to the degree program, and developments in instructional technology. The departmental curriculum (undergraduate majors, minors, certificates and graduate programs) should be reviewed in conjunction with the process of annual program assessment.

In addition, the DEO has the following curricular responsibilities:

  • Monitoring low-enrollment courses. Currently, the College considers an undergraduate course enrolling fewer than 16 students or a graduate course enrolling fewer than 8 students as having low enrollment. It is the responsibility of the DEO to work with their area AD on addressing persistently low-enrolled courses, even if those courses are required for the major. Departments should create their own plans for monitoring low-enrolled courses and should have strategies for addressing these issues before the semester begins. Some departments cancel courses and reassign instructional resources at the end of the early-registration period. Others add instructional responsibilities to instructors with low-enrolled courses. Low-enrolled courses that are taught may not be counted for full deployment credit and adjunct and visiting faculty salary rates may be prorated based on enrollment.
  • Modifying the curriculum. Approval forms for all course additions and modifications must be submitted through the course approval workflow system on MAUI. For more information and deadlines, see these For Faculty pages. Smaller changes to the requirements of a major, minor, or certificate may be made through updates to the General Catalog, sent annually to all units for revision. These changes may be implemented by the department the following Fall semester, coinciding with the catalog publication. Significant changes to majors, minors, or certificates need the approval of the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education. See these For Faculty pages for more information. Departments wishing to propose or to drop majors, minors, or certificates should visit the above pages and then should discuss the feasibility of the request with the Associate Dean.
  • Discontinuing seldom-taught courses. Each year, the Office of the Provost sends a list of currently approved courses that the department has not offered during the past four years. The DEO must supply a rationale for any of these courses the Department wishes to retain. The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and the Office of the Provost must approve retention of any course that has not been offered for four years.

Administering Personnel Policies and Supervising Staff

The DEO is responsible for supervising staff who report directly to them, including the departmental administrator, and completes annual performance reviews of these staff. The DEO also provides functional supervision for all departmental staff and ensures that their direct supervisors complete annual performance reviews of these staff. The DEO may delegate to appropriate departmental staff the authority to sign some workflow forms in their name. The DEO is responsible for ensuring that faculty and staff complete all HR compliance trainings. 

The DEO is also a mandatory reporter per UI policy. It is the DEO’s responsibility to participate in supervisor training and follow all HR policies relating to being a mandatory reporter. They should contact their HR representative or Area AD with any questions on this role.


The following websites are valuable resources for DEOs.

DEO Meetings

DEOs must reserve Mondays, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., for group meetings with the Deans. During the academic year, all DEOs convene a minimum of once or twice each month to discuss with the Deans topics affecting the College and departments. Additional DEO meetings will be added when necessary. DEO meetings will include the departmental administrators when appropriate. Should a DEO not be able to attend, they may send another faculty member to represent them at the DEO meeting. The area AD should be notified of who this individual is and when they will be in attendance.

Each DEO also meets with the Dean or the appropriate Associate Dean when specific questions concerning the department arise.