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Academic Dean Interview

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?
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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.
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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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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."
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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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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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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