The state of the art in evaluating the performance of department chairs and division heads.

David G. Dunning, Timothy M. Durham, Mert N. Aksu, Brian M. Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study explores the little understood process of evaluating the performance of department chairs/division heads in dental schools. Specifically, this research aimed to elucidate the methods, processes, and outcomes related to the job performance of department chairs/division heads. Forty-three deans and 306 chairs completed surveys with both close-ended and open-ended questions. In addition, ten deans and ten chairs were interviewed. Results indicate that 80 to 90 percent of department chairs are formally evaluated, although as many as 50 percent may lack job descriptions. Recommended best practices for performance appraisal--such as having at least yearly appraisals, holding face-to-face meetings, and setting specific, personal performance objectives/benchmarks for chairs--are being used in most schools. Still, there is much room to improve appraisals by incorporating other recommended practices. Overall high levels of satisfaction were reported by both chairs and deans for the process and outcomes of appraisals. Qualitative data showed some convergence of opinions about appraisals with the notable exception of informal feedback. We explore some implications of these results, especially as they relate to improving performance appraisals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-479
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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