Sunday, July 18, 2010

Describe the perfect Dean...

We're hiring a new Dean. New Dean will be the direct supervisor of our division and discipline.... For CCs, the Dean is kind of like a super-sized department chair... they have several divisions and sometimes lots of disciplines within those divisions.

I'll be working closely with this person for at least the next couple of years -- as department chair. This person will also evaluate me, take student complaints against me etc...

So -- if you were me, what are the characteristics you'd want to see New Dean?

What would you shy away from (career administrators, non-Ph.D.s, an MA is the minimum qual)?

What do you think about Ph.D.s in education, public ed administration etc? Especially if they have no teaching experience?


6 comments:

auto ethnographer said...

Wouldn't it be nice if there were language you could use in a vacancy announcement that would automatically winnow out all the people who are not decent human beings? (Criterion 1). I'd want someone whose degree (preferably Ph.D) cultivated in them a deep respect for the integrity and value of disciplines (and of course, inter/cross-disciplinary fields)--from theory as a basis for knowledge production, right down to issues of understanding how survey and other intro (CC-level) coursework in those disciplines relates to producing informed and engaged citizens. Some of the doctoral level degrees you cite as "possibilities to shy away from" do NOT do this (perhaps even the opposite in my limited experience with such degree-holders). As for teaching experience--yes, yes, yes. Deans need the respect of faculty to finesse the higher admin's latest mandate, mission, budget reduction, etc., and thus all the former-faculty street-cred they can get; hiring a dean who'd never taught seems like a really bad idea to me. As for MA-level candidates, I imagine there are many individuals with long, successful teaching careers (and all the critical personality traits) who could do the job--if your faculty and higher administration will show them due respect (not always the case). I hope your dean-level search committees have staff representatives from the current dean's office (they will bring a critical eye and perspective to the search, interview process, deliberations, etc.). Good luck.

auto ethnographer said...

Also (on the side of what I would want): someone with a good vision of how to build a) the division, b) consensus among colleagues, and c) a suite of resources that will support the faculty (all pretty standard "dean" stuff). You might also use some hypothetical scenarios in your interview questions to get a sense of how they would approach the "fair" distribution of diminishing resources, or a sudden windfall--or the realignment of courseloads (whatever is the critical issue most of the time at your CC).

Bardiac said...

I want someone who's honest and not a coward, who can explain why s/he said, "no" to a funding request so that you'll understand and respect the decision, even if you disagree.

I want someone who's fair-minded, and doesn't hang out with a small group of people who have undue influence on his/her work decisions.

I want someone who's been in the classroom enough to recognize that it is, indeed, hard work, and who can respect that hard work. And that someone should respect disciplines across campus, value community members across the board.

I would also look for someone who can explain to different audiences (students, parents, faculty, legislators) why education is important and worth the resources it takes to do well.

I live a rich and full fantasy life. Good luck with your search!

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