An endowed chair is a faculty position supported by an endowment fund established by the Board of Trustees for that specific purpose. By Board policy, a minimum in endowment is to be provided for the support of a named faculty chair. The income from that endowment may be used to cover the salary and benefits of the faculty member appointed to the chair and such other costs – such as research assistance, secretarial assistance, other related personnel costs, travel, teaching materials, equipment, books, supplies, etc. – which are related to the work of the faculty member and the department.
Throughout higher education, endowed chairs serve two primary purposes, regardless of the particular institution or academic department involved.
- They provide financial support through an endowment for teaching, research and service in a specified academic field by the incumbent of the chair. In some cases this endowment relieves the regular budget of expenses already committed by the institution. In other cases, such an endowment enables the institution to undertake new or additional activities which it otherwise would be unable to assume.
- Endowed chairs lend prestige to the individual faculty member holding the chair, to the specific department or program and to the institution generally. To the extent this latter purpose is served, better faculty, more and better students, more gifts and grants and more publicity may result from the presence of an endowed chair.