Dean G. Smith, PhD
Objectives: Term limits might be appropriate for leadership positions in academic public health. This study assessed the appointment processes and terms for deans, directors, and chairs of schools and programs of public health and their views on term limits.
Methods: A 10-question survey was developed for the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health and provided electronically to 127 deans and program directors in November and December 2019, of whom 58 (46%) responded.
Results: Of 54 respondents to the question on term limits, 45 deans and directors of schools and programs of public health served with no terms or limits and 9 served with terms of 3-5 years with no limits on the number of terms. Respondents largely agreed with most arguments for or against term limits. Of 51 respondents, most indicated completely or moderately valid support for 2 arguments for term limits: diversity (n = 40) and succession planning (n = 40). Of 51 respondents, most indicated completely or moderately valid support for 3 arguments against term limits: stable and continuous leadership (n =40), time for leadership development (n = 37), and loss of institutional memory (n = 35). Twenty-seven of 53 responding deans and directors viewed the most appropriate terms and limits as being more restrictive than their current terms; the other 26 viewed the most appropriate terms as being the same as their current terms. No respondents preferred less restrictive limits than their current terms.
Conclusion: Although term limits for deans, directors, and chairs are rare in schools and programs of public health, many deans and directors