What is a dean?

A dean is an administrative position in academic institutions. The role of a dean can vary depending on the institution (e.g., university, college, school) and the specific field of study. Deans are typically responsible for overseeing a particular academic unit, such as a college, school, or department, and they play a crucial role in the administration and management of academic affairs.

What does a dean’s job typically entail?

    Deans wear many hats to support and enhance their schools or departments. While the exact nature of their duties varies by institution, their responsibilities typically include:

  • Administrative duties: Deans are involved in administrative tasks from budget management to faculty recruitment and supervision. They may also be responsible for implementing and enforcing institutional policies.
  • Assisting with student affairs: Deans contribute to student-related matters, including admissions, academic advising, and student services. They may collaborate with other campus offices to help foster a positive and supportive learning environment.
  • Developing and overseeing curricula: Deans play an essential role in developing academic programs and curricula within their unit — collaborating with faculty to ensure that courses meet academic standards.
  • Establishing community and external relationships: Sometimes, deans represent their academic unit and interact with graduates, donors, industry or community partners, and government agencies — working to build relationships that will benefit their institution.
  • Providing academic leadership: Deans spearhead their departments’ academic direction, goals, and priorities — enhancing the quality of education, research, and scholarship.

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