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Academic Dean Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
How do you like to encourage ideas in your faculty or student body?
View Answers
How to Answer
Encouragement to others is a great skill to possess. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to encourage creative ideas in your team members.
30 Academic Dean Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
  1. How do you like to encourage ideas in your faculty or student body?
  2. How do you assess academic performance?
  3. As an Academic Dean you will be exposed to a wide variety of people, situations and environments. Do you feel prepared for this?
  4. How would you handle a situation where one of your faculty members was causing difficulty in the workplace?
  5. Why do you want a career as an academic dean?
  6. Why are you the best Academic Dean for us?
  7. What are your salary expectations?
  8. Tell me about a time when you improved communication between yourself and a co-worker or client.
  9. Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.
  10. How do you handle communicating bad news to a fellow worker or subordinate?
  11. When have you worked among a diverse group of people?
  12. How do you handle a larger than average workload?
  13. Do you consider yourself a patient person? How do you increase your patience level in challenging situations?
  14. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?
  15. How will you earn the trust of your faculty and coworkers?
  16. Do you think honesty is always the best policy?
  17. What sources do you look to when solving complicated problems?
  18. What questions do you have for me in regards to this school, or position?
  19. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
  20. Tell me about an organization or group outside of work that you contributed to.
  21. Would you consider returning to school to complete your PhD?
  22. What is your proudest moment as a teacher or leader?
  23. Are you familiar with this States academic criteria?
  24. How active do you plan to be with your faculty?
  25. Give me an example of a new academic rule or regulation that you have created.
  26. Tell me about your exposure to budgeting and fundraising in your last position.
  27. Outline your formal education and training.
  28. What three words would you use to describe yourself as an Educator?
  29. How do you decide what gets top priority when scheduling your time?
  30. What motivates you to succeed?
15 Academic Dean Answer Examples with User Answers
1.
How do you like to encourage ideas in your faculty or student body?
Encouragement to others is a great skill to possess. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to encourage creative ideas in your team members.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I like to encourage other people to be creative in their thinking and present ideas to me, no matter how off the wall they may seem. Some of our most successful employees are ones who are confident in their ability to bring forward their unique ideas. I encourage participation through an open door policy and strong praise for those who show initiative."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some ways that you can encourage ideas in others:

- Get to know them and what they like to work on
- Send an encouraging email letting them know you like their plan or ideas
- Publicly praise their efforts
- If they are doing a great job, offer them more related opportunities
- If you are a leader, then tell them that you like their ideas
- Say things like 'Well done' or 'Nice work' on a regular basis
- Show that you believe in their quality of work before they even deliver it"
Anonymous Answer
"I will ask what someone is working on or would like to be working on. I ask for ideas. Sometimes people can talk about them, sometimes a post-it note helps. I may also suggest they drop me an email. All ideas are good ideas. People have to believe that or they won't collaborate to come up with the best. Again, a trust culture matters."
Rachelle's Answer
It's good that you brought in the trust culture gain. This is a great answer and shows excellent leadership abilities.
"I will ask what someone is working on or would like to be working on. I ask for ideas. Sometimes people can talk about them, sometimes a post-it note helps. I may also suggest they drop me an email. All ideas are good ideas. People have to believe that, or they won't collaborate to come up with the best. Again, a culture of trust matters."
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2.
How do you assess academic performance?
Academic performance is a significant focus for Academic Deans. Talk to the interviewer about your areas of attention when it comes to assessing a student's academic performance.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"If I have an under-performing student in my school I will sit down with them and first have them self-assess. The questions I will ask will include 'What are the personal factors affecting your academic performance?' and 'What are the academic factors affecting your performance?' When a student can be completely honest with themselves, it is usually pretty easy to uncover the issue causing the poor grades."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe that students should be assessed three to four times per year. In our current school, our teachers administer academic evaluations after each module is complete. The evaluations are comprehensive and clearly show us where we need to focus further."
3.
As an Academic Dean you will be exposed to a wide variety of people, situations and environments. Do you feel prepared for this?
As an Academic Dean, you will be exposed to a vast array of people and situations. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of handling this.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have been in Education for the majority of my career teaching first in elementary, high school, and then universities across the country. I have also traveled much of the world. These experiences have shaped me greatly, and I am positive that I can interact with any person, and deal with any situation with professionalism and poise."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am certainly prepared to work in a diverse environment. In fact, I embrace it. I understood, before even applying here, that your university offers a diverse range of their student body and also their faculty. I find this to be very exciting and I look forward to learning more as the interview process continues."
Anonymous Answer
"Yes, I have lived and worked overseas and in the US at a variety of HE types with a vast array of diverse people and projects. I am very field independent. I can work and be successful in building upon relationships to meet goals. The strengths come into play here: strategic, activator, individualization, arranger, and learner. I am always looking for a way forward with the implementation that is sustainable."
Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic answer! Your overseas experience is very valuable so I'm glad you brought that into your response.
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4.
How would you handle a situation where one of your faculty members was causing difficulty in the workplace?
As an Academic Dean, you are tasked with leading your faculty members. What would you do if one of those members caused you difficulty? Discuss with the interviewer how you would address a situation like this. Remain positive, factual, and avoid naming names in a case like this. You want to show the interviewer that you are an agent of change and not a petty individual.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I had a difficult faculty member a couple of years ago. He was quite unresponsive to change and unwilling to compromise when it came to the needs of the school in our proactive environment. I spoke with the faculty member one-on-one about three times before I began to take disciplinary action. Once more severe consequences were presented he began to comply with the policy changes our school was implementing. If this happened again, I believe I would take faster action right away. There is little room for someone who cannot appreciate positive change and progression within education."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"If I were to have a faculty member causing difficulty in the workplace I would first check in with their union representative to ensure that any course of disciplinary action fell in line with union regulations and policy. After that, I would schedule a one on one conversation with that individual with the goal of that meeting to be making a plan to rectify the situation. A clear plan of action and potential recourse would be outlined."
Anonymous Answer
"I would listen, gather data from relevant sides. I ask the faculty member to explain in case I misunderstood or have erroneous information. I then directly outline what the problem is as I understand it and why it is a problem, seek solutions, and set a date for review. I would jot notes documenting the discussion for a personnel file."
Rachelle's Answer
Perfect. You show a level head, and it's good that you expressed how you go about documenting the conversation as well.
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5.
Why do you want a career as an academic dean?
The interviewer would like to know why a career as an academic dean may interest you. You can add a personal touch when answering this question. Be sure that your passion for your job comes through in your answer!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have set my sights on a career as an academic dean as soon as I began teaching at the university level. I feel that it will be a fulfilling way to compliment my career in Education, and is one of the primary reasons I completed my Ph.D."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As an academic dean, I feel that I will be able to utilize my recently elevated education while making a bigger impact in the education industry by setting fresh academic policies, and better-overseeing budgets."
Anonymous Answer
"I have been acting as a dean for a number of years, in the Middle East, and in a way through the CAP and AT programs. In these, I am responsible for ensuring education as outlined by the department is delivered but also assessed and in line with accreditation standards and policies. I enjoy building programs and tweaking all the parts and constituents for optimum outcomes."
Rachelle's Answer
It's nice that you added in a bit about what you enjoy, as a dean. Try adding more detail as far as career fulfillment etc. This answer should not be too technical or read like a list of responsibilities.
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Anonymous Answer
"During my twenty-year career, I have been fortunate to work under many incredible leaders, who helped shape me into the educator I am. I want the opportunity to share the knowledge and skills I've learned with teachers to help them grow professionally and to be the best they can be."
Rachelle's Answer
A sincere and honest response like this will always go a long way. Very well said.
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6.
Why are you the best Academic Dean for us?
The interviewer would like to know why you feel you are the best choice for this position. What makes you stand out from other potential applicants? Now is the time to brag about yourself and your abilities a little bit. Don't be shy! Highlight qualities that are unique.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I feel that I am the best academic dean for you because I am highly educated, having recently completed my Ph.D. in Education. I would be a diverse leader for the student body. I have traveled all over the world and also speak four languages. I also stand out because I have been a Professor at two of the most well-respected universities in the United States."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I feel that being newer to my career as an academic dean gives me an advantage to many other applicants. I plan to carve a long-term career with your university while incorporating fresh perspectives that a more tenured dean will likely not possess."
Anonymous Answer
"I could say that I am the best Dean for you because of my in-depth knowledge of curriculum at all levels, or my experiences in serving language learners at all levels, but that is not the best reason I'm your person. What makes me the best is my passion and love of instruction. My excitement and my ability to motivate others, as well as my ability to think outside the box to meet student needs, are qualities that will make me a great Dean."
Rachelle's Answer
Highly impressive how you solidified the fact that you're qualified through experience, while adding in more heartfelt reasons why you're the best for the job. This answer is well rounded and will make an impact on the interviewer.
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7.
What are your salary expectations?
The best way to discuss your salary expectations is to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Currently, I earn a base salary of $155,000 per year plus a potential annual bonus. Last year my earnings were $172,000, and I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As I am newer to my career as a dean, I would like to be offered a fair salary that reflects my recent education. I am most concerned with joining an organization that will help me to grow my career as an academic dean. Compensation is not my primary driver."
Anonymous Answer
"I would want a minimum of $77,000."
Rachelle's Answer
Try qualifying the ask with a bit more background, and avoid giving the interviewer your bottom line right away. I have added a sample below.
"I would like to earn above where I am now, given the added responsibilities and larger student population in this role. Currently, I earn $77,000 per year plus benefits."
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8.
Tell me about a time when you improved communication between yourself and a co-worker or client.
Possessing the skills to improve communication in the workplace is a precious asset. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to enhance communication in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my current position I have one particular board member who is an exceptionally brief communicator. If I ask two questions, he will answer just one. I learned quickly that he would not acknowledge anything he did not have a direct answer for. I began to ask him questions in a different way. For example, I will say 'Do you have an answer for me on question X?' and he will say yes or no. We then go from there. This is a useful method of communication for that particular individual."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I had a faculty member who often missed email updates. It caused us to cross our wires a few times. I suggested that we book a quick call every week to review any outstanding areas that need to be addressed. This process worked well for us."
Anonymous Answer
"We tend to be a very email oriented institution. While that has benefits, sometimes, a phone call if the client or co-worker is distant or a brief meeting improves communication. I have utilized these methods with students, faculty, peers, superiors, and clients. There is an additional level of communication and clarification that occurs face to face or over the phone and especially face to face that improves communication. An example is when I took members of our Registrar's office to lunch. I also have F2F meetings with the lead coordinators of projects weekly or biweekly."
Rachelle's Answer
Wonderful. Your answer is clear, and you make a very solid point re: the importance of phone calls when the situation needs it.
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Anonymous Answer
"Communication is so important in so many ways, especially when you are trying to communicate with a campus of teachers. When I was a grade-level lead teacher, I communicated with my team by sending them a weekly WAAG (Week at a Glance). The WAAG was simple, listing bulleted reminders for the upcoming week. This helped keep my team informed and in the loop on any important changes or responsibilities that came down the chain."
Rachelle's Answer
Your system of communication sounds straightforward and effective. Nice answer!
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9.
Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.
On a scale of 1-10, how skilled are you in communication? Why did you choose that particular rating for yourself?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I rate my communication skills as a 9/10 as I will, on occasion, have times when I am not as clear as I would like to be. My supervisor and co-workers will attest to my clear and concise communication skills. Because I am an open leader, my team will let me know if I need to clarify anything."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I will rate myself an 8.5 because I consider myself a strong communicator. It is the foundation of all success in business. I am always striving to be a better communicator, so I leave the rest of the scale as an aspirational measure."
Anonymous Answer
"I will rank my communication skills at an 8. I always try to make an initial connection to the person or persons. I may comment upon something I know about them and their job, a well-done, etc. I try to use a framework to guide my discussions, why, what goals, who, what are my expectations, opportunity for questions. I often craft responses or an outline for unique or difficult communication."
Rachelle's Answer
Great answer! You sound very prepared and confident; giving specifics on what you do to improve communication in the workplace.
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10.
How do you handle communicating bad news to a fellow worker or subordinate?
One of the toughest parts of communication can be delivering bad news to people that you work with and care about. Whether it is delivering a less than positive work review or terminating someone - it doesn't come easy. Assure the interviewer that you can handle this type of task in a transparent, concise, and professional manner.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I certainly do not enjoy communicating bad news to a co-worker, but I do have experience in doing so. When this type of task is required of me, I make sure to practice empathy. Truth is always key, so I will be honest and clear when communicating the news. For instance, if I am to terminate someone's employment, I will not sugar coat the reasons why. It's best they know so that they can learn from the experience."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have found that communicating with respect and the intent to support the team member is the best approach. It is important to communicate what behaviors are off track and what resources are available to the individual to get back on track."
11.
When have you worked among a diverse group of people?
Are you accustomed to working with a very large or diverse team of individuals? Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have worked with diverse groups of people most of my career, including my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"In my current role, I work alongside diverse, cross-functional teams on a daily basis. Together, we manage the school very effectively."
Anonymous Answer
"I have spent my entire career working with diverse groups of people and students. I believe working with diverse people has made me a better person because I value, respect, and appreciate the cultural differences each of us have brought to the table. I would not have wanted it to be any different."
Rachelle's Answer
Well said!
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12.
How do you handle a larger than average workload?
The interviewer wants to be assured that you can handle the workload required of you in this position and that you will not become overwhelmed if/when workloads unexpectedly increase. When workloads increase, stress levels do too. How do you react?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"When I have a large workload on my plate, I do not stress over the tasks that are in front of me. Rather, I make a simple plan of which tasks are a high priority and which tasks are a lower priority. The higher priority tasks, I complete first. Through this system, I can focus on my tasks individually, rather than stress out by the multitude of tasks ahead of me."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some suggestions on how to handle a large workload:

- List your tasks and prioritize them
- Think of which tasks add to the company's bottom line, and start there (Closest to the money!)
- Exhale. Relax for a minute and collect yourself
- Organize your tasks by which ones you can complete independently and which ones you need help with
- Take sufficient breaks, so you do not exhaust yourself
- Communicate your struggles with your leadership or team"
Anonymous Answer
"I am at my best when I have a long "to-do" list because it requires me to prioritize and stay focused on the job at hand."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds like you do well with large workloads which is exactly what the interviewer will like to hear.
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13.
Do you consider yourself a patient person? How do you increase your patience level in challenging situations?
The interviewer would like to know if you consider yourself a patient individual. Impatience can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in coworkers, so it is essential that you can showcase your ability to remain patient and professional in workplace situations.

Patience is indeed a virtue but can be challenging to maintain when it seems that situations continue to push your buttons. Show the interviewer that you possess the ability to keep your cool in challenging conditions.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I do consider myself a patient person. I would rate myself an eight /10 for patience because I certainly have room to grow, but I do have a very long fuse. If I need a boost of patience in a challenging situation, I will take a step away, count to 10 and then return to the situation. I recently read a book, 'The Power of Patience' by M.J. Ryan which also gave me some great new methods for coping with stress."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am fairly patient, with other people. I tend to be impatient with myself if I am not finishing a project as fast as I think I should be. But, I am learning to be patient with myself as well. I find that breathing exercises, and closing my eyes for a few seconds can help me regroup."
14.
How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?
We all like to be recognized in some way for our accomplishments in the workplace. Share with the interviewer how you would want to be known for your hard work. Through gifts? Financial perks? Public recognition? Kind words? Title promotions?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am very much an over-achiever and find that the best way for me to be recognized for a job well done is to be given words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged, and the best reward for me is to know that my hard work is being noticed."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am very simple. I do not really require any formal recognition, but kind words from my coworkers and superiors will keep me motivated and working hard."
Anonymous Answer
"I do not need recognition and prefer to give recognition to others, especially rookie teachers. It makes me happier to see others receive recognition."
Rachelle's Answer
It's very nice that you prefer to recognize others; however, the interviewer will want some idea on how they can continue to encourage you on the job as well. Everyone needs some encouragement from time to time. I have added a sample, below.
"I prefer to give recognition to others, especially rookie teachers. It makes me happier to see others receive recognition. If I were to receive any credit, I would appreciate a quiet word of kindness and the autonomy to more freely award teachers who are going over and above."
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15.
How will you earn the trust of your faculty and coworkers?
The interviewer would like to know that you can win your new coworkers over. Workplace relationships are essential to nurture. Talk to the interviewer about how you plan to earn the trust of your new co-workers, should you be offered the position.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I feel that the best way to earn the trust of my co-workers is to be helpful, always do what I promise, and be honest with them at all times. Strong relationships have to be built on these principles."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some ways that you can build trust with your coworkers:

- Show common courtesy. Say hello, hold the elevator door, bring coffees now and then
- Be respectful in your communication, avoid over cc'ing unnecessarily in emails
- Avoid being a distraction, and respect the use of their time
- Respect their personal space and the line between work life and personal life
- Always ask if they have time before diving into a conversation
- Try to find the answer to your questions before running to ask a manager or co-worker
- Connect with them on LinkedIn but avoid more personal social media platforms
- Treat everyone the same, regardless of their job title
- Do not complain about your job to your coworkers
- Reach out to new employees and make them feel comfortable
- Own up to your mistakes and fix them
- Be timely with your followups and meet your deadlines"
Anonymous Answer
"Trust is the foundation for building relationships, and these relationships will be vital in my ability to succeed as a Title 1 Dean. I will earn my teachers' trust by having integrity, and by being honest and treating everyone fairly. I will earn their trust by being an active, empathetic listener, always keeping my word, and always giving them my undivided attention. I will look for opportunities to make connections and to stay in tune with their personal needs."
Rachelle's Answer
This response would make me want to hire you on the spot. Very well said!
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