Suppose the following tables:

| id | headFK |

| id | facultyFK| headFK |

| id | departmentFK | chief |

What is the best way to go through each row of teacher. Save some column values as variables (suppose: id, departmentFK) to use it in further Queries (Update to be specific)

My aim is to set up subordinations of teacher which is like this chain 'Faculty Head' > 'Department Head' > 'Teacher'

Formally it should look like:

    Set curDepartment = Current.departmentFK;
    Set curTeacher = Current.id;
    Set curFaculty = (Query to get faculty);
    Set FacultyHead = (Query to get current faculty head by var curFaculty );
    Set departmentHead = (Query to get current department head by var curDepartment );

    (Query to update teacher.chief with conditions using variable acquired before)

Could you please tell the way (Procedures, Functions or ordinary queries) how can I do it because I've never had experience with procedures or local variables in MySQL and I cannot figure out how can I implement it

PS: I'm not asking to write code (that would be too much I think) but an approach to implement it


Thanks to the Rick James's note I came up with the following solution:

UPDATE teacher
    JOIN department ON teacher.DepFR = department.DepPK
    JOIN faculty ON department.FacFK = faculty.FacPK
SET teacher.ChiefFK = CASE
    WHEN teacher.TchPK = faculty.DeanFK THEN NULL
    WHEN teacher.TchPK = department.HeadFK THEN faculty.DeanFK
    ELSE department.HeadFK

Is it a good way of doing it?

  • Is there a head table (that these headFK are referencing)? Oct 19, 2015 at 6:12
  • @ypercube, headFK is referencing teacher table. So as chief
    – Eugene
    Oct 19, 2015 at 15:01
  • Do you have to do it in SQL? Procedural code is much simpler to write in some procedural language.
    – jkavalik
    Oct 19, 2015 at 20:26
  • @jkavalik Yes. I must do it in SQL (MySQL). And efficiency does not matter in this case
    – Eugene
    Oct 21, 2015 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


It is a no-no to have redundant data.

Instead, use JOIN when doing the SELECT; this will let you dynamically get the faculty, faculty_head, etc.

Learn about JOIN.

  • But in the end I will need to update the record in teacher. And this update will depend on the head of faculty, head of department. Which means that I will need to compare specific teacher and heads of department and faculty. Will JOIN still be better to use?
    – Eugene
    Oct 21, 2015 at 16:48
  • Eh? Is the teacher moving to a different department? Or some other action?
    – Rick James
    Oct 30, 2015 at 15:34
  • Well, I have to update the teacher.chief so that: head of faculty is a chief for head of department; head of department is a chief for ordinary teacher
    – Eugene
    Nov 1, 2015 at 11:39
  • A person can have many roles (teacher/chief/head/...)? So, you need a person table, plus roles table. roles could have person_id and role, and the pair of columns is the PK. (Or something in that direction.)
    – Rick James
    Nov 1, 2015 at 15:55
  • I have to work with this structure (tables in question are trimmed to keep only relevant columns). The situation is the following: if teacher.id is set in faculty.headFK - this teacher is considered to be head of faculty; if teacher.id is set in department.headFK - this teacher is considered to be head of department. I updated my question and wrote a code which I came up to, thanks to your initial answer and this code works as I need it to.
    – Eugene
    Nov 1, 2015 at 18:02

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