Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Career Consultants

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Career Consultants

Article excerpt


I've been a tenured faculty member for five years and my goal is to eventually become a dean. What should I be doing to prepare for that step?


Dean, College of Education, William Paterson University Wayne, NJ.

The usual requirements of a tenured faculty are essential, that is: scholarship and research, service, and teaching. Beyond the scholarly expectations, you must begin to acquire administrative experience in higher education as a way of demonstrating organizational leadership. The leadership position will provide opportunities for others beyond your department to see and appreciate your abilities. I would suggest that you also take some courses in higher education administration to provide a historical context, a theoretical framework, and an overview of the role of dean.

Department chairpersons often move on to become deans. As chairperson, you are placed in a position where you would not only lead the department in developing and implementing goals, but you would be the person empowered to preserve and further the academic program. Among other duties, you will be in a position to resolve faculty and student issues and or disputes, and manage a departmental budget. This experience will be magnified in the role of dean as you will become the chief officer for many departments and programs, with oversight over budgetary and personnel matters. You will need a responsible administrative service while focusing on implementation of your university's or college's goals.


Associate Provost, Rice University Houston, TX.

My quick response is that it depends upon the type of institution. It appears by having been tenured for five years, you are on the traditional track to a deanship. Other tracks depend upon the unique skills or expertise you bring to the table that match the specific needs of an institution.

Recently, my university completed two dean searches, so your question is relatively fresh on my mind. An examination of the intersection between the qualifies of the successful candidates and those qualifies sought by the search committees might help you and others who are looking to secure deanships.

Of course, scholarship, teaching, and service remain as the troika of the academy. …

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