Implementation of the CAES Strategic Plan requires ongoing review and the establishment of a consistent policy (guidelines) for identifying and titling administrative personnel in CAES. Titles convey responsibility and differentiate authority and accountability. It is of utmost importance that we strive to assign titles that are consistent with the level of responsibility and accountability inherent in and expected of the administrative position.

As used herein, responsibility implies a moral and legal authority to act within the scope of assigned duties without guidance or prior approval of a higher authority. A person who is responsible may be held liable or accountable for his/her actions by the appointing authority. In the exercise of duty, one cannot avoid liability by delegating responsibility. Authority implies the power to act or to influence. Authority to act may be delegated to another person, whereas responsibility cannot be delegated.

For administrative purposes, titles fall into two categories: “line” and “staff.” These terms will generally be construed to convey the following meaning:

  • Line – Position provided by the Statutes of the University and/or subsequently approved by the President. Line administrators are both responsible and accountable to a higher authority for the programmatic and fiscal affairs of the unit. The ranges of these affairs include instruction, research, and extension. Usually, a line administrator will hold his/her office at the pleasure of the President.
  • Staff – Position created by the chief administrative officer of a unit to assist with the management and operation of the unit. The basic function of a staff administrator is to provide support to the parent organization in the accomplishment of its mission. In a very large and complex organization such as the CAES, staff administrators may function in a manner similar to a “line administrator.” That is, staff administrators may be delegated considerable authority for leading an independent unit with a specific mission or focus (e.g. institutional program cooperative extension, or experiment stations). While the staff administrator is not responsible for the parent organization, he/she may be delegated budgetary authority. Staff administrators work at the pleasure of the appointing line administrator.


The following definition of titles generally apply in the CAES:

Dean Is the chief executive officer of the CAES with line responsibility and accountability for all academic programs and instructional activities of the college.
Director This title denotes responsibility and accountability for the state, federal research, extension and academic programs.
Head Is the chief executive officer of a unit, responsible for identifying and establishing academic and non-academic programs; is responsible and accountable for allocating funds and personnel hiring. Academic heads normally serve at the pleasure of the President while non-academic heads serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. District Heads serve at the pleasure of the Dean and Director. Except in the case of formal centers, other nontraditional structures approved through faculty governance, or where the mission of the program or quality of the hire (unit head) will be demonstrably affected, the term “head” shall be preferred to that of “Director.”
Coordinator Is responsible for coordinating identified programs and may be delegated limited budgetary responsibility. He/she may be authorized to hire staff with approval of the appointing authority.
Superintendent Is responsible for facilities and for scheduling and monitoring work plans. He/she may have budget responsibilities for maintaining facilities and hiring personnel.
Associate May be used when accountability is delegated for a major component by the appointing authority, e.g. Dean. Title may be used in conjunction with “Director” as applied to Federal Programs and funds. He/she may be delegated budgetary and hiring authority.
Assistant May be used when only a part or limited authority is delegated. He/she may be delegated budgetary and hiring authority.
Assistant to Is given targeted tasks and may be employed for a short or fixed duration. This title may also be used for targeted tasks such as for management or support functions. In this case, the terms of employment should be non-tenured, but permanent.
Unit An organization of two or more employees with a supervisor (head) and mission. A unit may or may not be a “budgetary line.”