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What Is a Dean and How to Become One


What Is the Role of a Dean?

The dean of a higher education facility is a member of the administration and helps to make decisions that affect the university or college within their specific department or area of influence. As a dean, sometimes called the provost in some schools, your responsibilities include helping to set a study curriculum, planning a budget, determining admission guidelines, advocating for student needs, and performing other duties as determined by the size of the institution. You also answer to the vice president and the president of the university.

What Are the Requirements to Be a Dean?

To become a dean, you typically need extensive experience in education, most commonly as a tenured professor. You may also pursue a master’s degree or a doctorate in education administration or a related field and gain extensive experience in leadership roles related to the university’s efforts. Organizing school fundraising initiatives is a good area to begin gaining experience. Additionally, it is helpful to network and find contacts within the university who can recommend you for the position of dean after you demonstrate your expertise as an educational leader or tenured faculty member.

What Are Different Types of Deans?

There are three main types of deans: faculty deans, student deans, and department deans. Faculty deans are responsible for helping to hire new professors or determining which professors are eligible for tenure. These professionals oversee the school’s departments and plan budgets. Student deans assist in the process of students adjusting to university life, such as residence hall construction, student activities, and fraternities. Department deans are the heads of their particular academic department or even a whole college, such as a dean of history, education, or mathematics.

What Skills and Traits Make a Successful Dean?

A successful dean always serves the interests of the university above all else. You must have excellent critical thinking ability to understand the needs of your school, faculty, and students and find practical solutions, particularly for budgeting and fundraising activities. The career also requires strong interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills to interact with all members of the institution effectively. Additional qualifications include knowledge of finance, education administration, and project management.