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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.
Job Interviews     Careers     Education    

Question 1 of 30

Why are you the best Academic Dean for us?

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1.

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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2.

Give me an example of a new academic rule or regulation that you have created.

As an Academic Dean, you should have experience with creating and enforcing academic rules and regulations. Discuss your experiences with the interviewer and be sure to highlight your most significant wins when it comes to academic rules.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"A few years ago I created a new school policy to include bullying and cyber-bullying. Because cyber-bullying is a newer concept, our school did not have a policy in place to address those concerns. I created a zero-tolerance environment, and any breach resulted in expulsion. The improvement for our students was impressive, and I am very pleased with the results related to the change in policy."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have not yet had the opportunity to create any new academic rules. With that said, I have a keen interest in creating a safe environment for students. If the opportunity arose, I would first choose to update our school's bullying policies to include cyber-bullying."

3.

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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4.

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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5.

What is your proudest moment as a teacher or leader?

As an Academic Dean, you will have many students and faculty looking up to you. Your passion for the job must shine through! Talk to the interviewer about what the proudest moment in your career has been so far.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"My proudest moment as a leader was when I achieved my Ph.D. in Education and was promoted to Academic Dean for the first time, six years ago. I believe it was a great example to our students that continued education is worth the investment - no matter what stage you are in your career."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"So far, my greatest accomplishment as an academic dean is upgrading my Masters' degree to a Ph.D. while working full time. I learned so much about personal and professional diligence, and am forever grateful for the opportunity."

Anonymous Answer

"One of my proudest moments was when I led my 4th-grade team in redesigning our reading program by writing a $30,000 grant for books to use in the implementation of a guided reading program that resulted in an over 30% rise in students' academic achievement that school year."

Rachelle's Answer

That's an exciting and memorable example! Great answer.

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6.

How active do you plan to be with your faculty?

Being hands-on and active with your staff is an integral part of being an active leader. Assure the interviewer that you plan to be an active part of the school community.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Sitting behind a desk isn't my cup of tea. I like to be out on campus, experiencing the community as a whole. I plan to become active in the work lives of my faculty and to be a familiar face around campus."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Being active with my faculty is very important to me. I plan to stay active with my new faculty by getting to know them on a professional level, as well as understanding what motivates them to perform."

7.

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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8.

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."

9.

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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10.

Would you consider returning to school to complete your PhD?

As an Academic Dean, you may have a Bachelors Degree, a Masters Degree or a Ph.D. If you have not achieved your Ph.D. discuss with the interviewer if you see value in it, for yourself.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I would consider returning to complete my Ph.D.; however, it has never been a requirement for any of the schools that I have worked for. I certainly see value in higher education and think it would be a great example to our students as well."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Absolutely! I am very passionate about continuing education and see a lot of value in obtaining my Ph.D. down the road."

11.

When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?

Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with a mentor, and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to something even better."

12.

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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13.

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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14.

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."

15.

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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30 Academic Dean Interview Questions
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Interview Questions

  1. Why are you the best Academic Dean for us?
  2. Give me an example of a new academic rule or regulation that you have created.
  3. When have you worked among a diverse group of people?
  4. Tell me about a time when you improved communication between yourself and a co-worker or client.
  5. What is your proudest moment as a teacher or leader?
  6. How active do you plan to be with your faculty?
  7. As an Academic Dean you will be exposed to a wide variety of people, situations and environments. Do you feel prepared for this?
  8. How do you handle communicating bad news to a fellow worker or subordinate?
  9. How will you earn the trust of your faculty and coworkers?
  10. Would you consider returning to school to complete your PhD?
  11. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
  12. How would you handle a situation where one of your faculty members was causing difficulty in the workplace?
  13. How do you like to encourage ideas in your faculty or student body?
  14. How do you assess academic performance?
  15. Why do you want a career as an academic dean?
  16. What are your salary expectations?
  17. Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.
  18. How do you handle a larger than average workload?
  19. Do you consider yourself a patient person? How do you increase your patience level in challenging situations?
  20. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?
  21. Do you think honesty is always the best policy?
  22. What sources do you look to when solving complicated problems?
  23. What questions do you have for me in regards to this school, or position?
  24. Tell me about an organization or group outside of work that you contributed to.
  25. Are you familiar with this States academic criteria?
  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?
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