Operational Guidelines

UA HeadsNETWORK Steering Committee: Operational Guidelines

The purpose of the HeadsNETWORK Steering Committee is to represent, nurture, and develop the community of department heads and directors (hereafter, “Heads”) at the University of Arizona.

Heads shall be defined as UA employees with administrative appointments at a departmental, institute, program, or sub-college level with responsibility for three or more of the following:

  • Oversight of 10 or more FTE;
  • Budget the financial resources of a unit;
  • Assign faculty or staff workloads and conduct performance assessment;
  • Oversight of curricula or accountable for accreditation standards;
  • Student recruiting, retention, or performance;
  • Maintenance of, or management under, shared governance and bylaws; and
  • Maintains relations between a unit and the University, a profession, or into a community.

  • INTERFACE: to serve as an interface between Heads and the University’s upper administration;
  • UNIVERSITY FUNCTIONS: to contribute to the effective and inspired operation of the University from a Head’s perspective;
  • HEADS PROGRAMMING: host quality programming (including one annual retreat and periodic luncheons or meetings) on topics of common or vital interest to Heads;
  • COMMUNICATION: to facilitate networking and communications among Heads;
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: to support the development of Heads’ skills and expertise; and
  • SURVEY: design and conduct surveys for the purpose of ascertaining Heads’ perspective on current issues.

The Steering Committee oversees the HeadsNETWORK, which is comprised of four program areas:

HeadsUP: The purpose of HeadsUP is to represent and advocate for Heads at the University.

HeadsUP members include Heads; Affiliate members include Heads’ support staff, administrators with interest in the work of Heads, and persons interested in developing an administrative career.

HeadsMENTORING: The purpose of HeadsMENTORING is to create a culture of career support between Heads at different career stages.

NewHEADS: The purpose of NewHEADS is to nurture and train Heads in the first of their headship.

HeadsED: The purpose of HeadsED is to nurture and develop Heads’ administrative abilities throughout their headships.

Membership on the Steering Committee will be comprised of 9 to 12 current Heads from a cross-section of units, representing the diversity of academic and cultural interests at the University. Chairs of graduate interdisciplinary programs (GIDPs) are eligible.

Members are expected to actively participate. In cases of sabbatical or extended absence, the Steering Committee may elect a proxy or replacement. If membership drops below 9, the Steering Committee may appoint replacements to serve until the next election cycle.

A quorum shall consist of more than 50% of eligible voters; all decisions shall be by simple majority unless noted.

The Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs serves ex officio, does not have a vote, and may not hold office. Ex Officio members are not included in the 9 to 12 member count.

The Executive Director shall Chair the Steering Committee, does not have a vote except in cases of a tie, and is not included in the 9 to 12 member count.

Term: Three years from 1 May-30 April; staggered. Approximately 1/3 of members should initiate staggered terms each year. The Executive Director may schedule reduced-term positions for election to achieve this goal. Members may serve a maximum of two consecutive three-year terms with former members eligible for re- election after a three-year hiatus.

Replacement: A member whose appointment or status as a Head is voided may continue to serve out the time until the next election cycle upon vote of the remainder of the Steering Committee.


by April 1: A roster of candidates shall be solicited from all Heads. Candidates must indicate their willingness to serve.

by May 1: The Steering Committee shall elect new members by simple majority in secret ballot. Candidates for renewal shall be subject to the same process.

HeadsUp will be represented by an Executive Director who will chair the Steering Committee.


  • STEERING COMMITTEE: Organize, schedule, and execute Steering Committee meetings and activities in order to accomplish the Steering Committee’s Purpose, with appropriate agenda and minutes; communicate outcomes of Steering Committee activities to all Heads.
  • REPRESENT: Represent Heads to the University, including regular attendance at Provost’s Council, other standing and ad hoc University committees as appropriate, and university functions where HeadsUp representation is appropriate.
  • HEADSUP: Support the Steering Committee in planning and delivering HeadsUp programming.
  • NEW-HEADS: Prepare with the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, the Steering Committee, and other relevant experts the annual New-Heads development program.
  • HEADS EXPERTISE: Work with the UA administration and the Steering Committee to develop training for Heads, including online resources, in-person programs, and a Heads mentoring program.

In case of absence, the Executive Director may a appoint member of the Steering Committee as proxy.

Eligibility: Minimum one-term on the Steering Committee, preferably within the last five years, and relevant experience as a Head.

Appointment: Nominated by the Steering Committee; appointed by and under contract with the Provost.

Term: Two-year term, renewable after performance review by a subcommittee (comprised of three Steering Committee members, who shall elect their own chair), nomination by the full Steering Committee, and reappointment by the Provost. An Executive Director may serve up to three consecutive terms.

Succession: The Steering Committee shall nominate one or more candidates to succeed the Executive Director, ideally serving as an understudy for at least one semester before appointment.

Joint Office Holders: The Steering Committee may divide the responsibilities of the Executive Director among multiple persons.

Compensation: The Executive Director may receive support under terms negotiated with the Provost. The Steering Committee may allocate funds for an Executive Director understudy out of the HeadsNETWORK budget.


A roster of candidates shall be solicited from the Steering Committee. Candidates must indicate their willingness to serve.

by May 1: The Steering Committee shall elect the new Executive Director by 2/3 majority in secret ballot. All Steering Committee members must vote; digital and absentee ballots are allowable. In the event that a top or runner-up candidate receives less than 2/3 of the votes, the top two candidates shall run in a second ballot. Candidates for renewal shall be subject to the same process.

If the candidate is not acceptable to the Provost, the process shall be repeated.

Regular meetings of the Steering Committee shall be called by the Executive Director. Special meetings may be called by the Executive Director, the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, or at least three members of the Steering Committee. All meetings require an agenda circulated with at least three days’ notice.

Attendance: Meetings are open only to Members of the Steering Committee and invited guests. Meetings may be attended in person or remotely. Business may be conducted between meetings by electronic poll.

Executive Session: Upon the request of at least three Members, the Steering Committee may go into Executive Session at which the Executive Director, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, and invited guests must exit. The first order of business shall be the election of a chair.

Notification: Business requiring adoption by the Steering Committee shall be posted for a minimum of one week, unless the Committee specifically grants a shorter response time.

All changes to these Guidelines shall be ratified by 2/3 majority of the Steering Committee, all members given 10 business days to vote. Members who fail to vote within that period shall not be counted in the vote or against the quorum.

Significant changes to these Guidelines shall be offered to all Heads for ratification (by digital vote) by simple majority of those responding within 15 days. The Steering Committee shall determine if a change is significant.