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!
"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."
"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."
"I have been in the role of academic dean for the past seven years. First, at the University of Georgia, and then transferring to Louisiana State. I wish to continue my career as an academic dean because I find it to be incredibly fulfilling work. With responsibilities that include the hiring of faculty, and setting policy, it's my way of ensuring that our students are receiving the level of education they deserve."
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.
"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."
"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."
"I was recognized as the most effective academic dean in our state for four consecutive years. In my current school, I was able to cut out a great deal of overspend while increasing fundraising dollars a year over year. This has resulted in our university having a surplus of funds that the school has not seen in nearly 15 years. I look forward to doing the same for your school."
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.
"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."
"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."
"I am currently making $100,000 per year with two bonus opportunities. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."
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.
"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."
"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."
"I once worked on a robust project with team members from multiple locations. At first, we were just emailing back and forth, but that wasn't working. I implemented a regular conference call to iron out issues and communicate updates."
On a scale of 1-10, how skilled are you in communication? Why did you choose that particular rating for yourself?
"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."
"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."
"I will rate myself an eight because I value communication but, just like most people, I have things to learn. Some ways that I ensure clear communication are by utilizing multiple methods of delivering messages, and I give ample time for questions before implementing changes."
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.
"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."
"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."
"I am very to-the-point when it comes to my communication skills. Good or bad news, there is always a way to improve the situation and create something good from it. After delivering bad news, I will work with my faculty member to find a viable solution."
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.
"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."
"In my current role, I work alongside diverse, cross-functional teams on a daily basis. Together, we manage the school very effectively."
"I would say that pretty much every school or organization I have worked for has valued diversity. In my opinion, working with people from all walks of life is an essential key to success."
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?
"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."
"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 "
"I first take a step back and make a list of all the deliverable work that I have. Then, I prioritize the list by deadline and ease of completion. I always try to hit the easy tasks first and get them off my to-do list. Feeling like I am making progress keeps me motivated."
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.
"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."
"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."
"I was once working with a group that could not quite get along, and it tested my patience a bit because it prevented us from staying on track and focusing on the goals. I went above and beyond in helping the group get along by scheduling lunches as a team and helping to mediate situations that needed it."
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?
"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."
"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."
"I am a highly competitive person who is compensation driven. I like to be recognized for my accomplishments through monetary bonus' where the stakes are high."
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.
"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."
"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 "
"Trust is something you earn over time with people. I will lead by example and be transparent in my communications. Trust happens when people deliver on doing what they say they will do. I take the approach of under promising and over delivering to accelerate the trust process. With strong trust, teams can accomplish great things together."
Is honesty always the best policy? Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on morality in the workplace.
"Sometimes full disclosure can damage someone's self-esteem, and reality isn't always best expressed in full and can be self-indulgent based on the person's intention. In those instances, honesty isn't always the best policy."
"I do feel that honesty is the best policy so long as the honest comment does not come with the intention of being hurtful."
"Honesty is always the best policy. Often, it is just a matter of how you communicate and deliver your message so managing this with each situation is critical to building honest and trustworthy relationships."
The interviewer wants to know that you can think outside the box, or even ask for help when you are stuck on a complicated problem. Maybe you look to a mentor or boss for advice. Perhaps you have handbooks, manuals and systems you turn to for help. You may turn to textbooks, online research, colleagues or even student body history to find the right solution. Show the interviewer that you are knowledgeable and equipped to handle these types of scenarios.
"When I am faced with a complicated problem, I will look to the resources that my current school has provided me. The answer is almost always in there. If it's more of a moral dilemma vs. a knowledge-based dilemma, I will ask my mentor for his thoughts and opinion since I value his expertise in the education industry."
"If there's a complicated problem, I'll write out what I think the possible solutions would be, and make a note of what my gut tells me to do. Then, I will weigh those potential solutions against one another and list the complications that may arise as a result of each choice."
"I have a great cohort of professors and deans from my years in the education industry. If I am stuck on a problem or feel I need some additional help, I reach out to this group. If nothing else, they're there to lend an ear and let me bounce my ideas off of them. I value this collaborative, supportive group that I've amassed over the years."
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the school's website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of questions you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their website!
"A few questions do come to mind. What is the biggest goal for your school this year? And, what is your proudest accomplishment since working with this university?"
"Here are some sample questions: - When would you like to have this position filled? - How long has this role been vacant? - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role? - What is your favorite part about working here? - What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months? - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you? - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years? - Is there any reason why you would not hire me? "
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace.
"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!"
"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."
"Setbacks happen for a reason, and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused despite the challenges that come my way."
Many hiring managers will choose one candidate over another because of their volunteer experience. They feel that it shows strong character and selflessness which are all qualities that make a great employee! Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to give back to your community in some form of volunteerism. If you do not have formal volunteer experience, you can draw on things you do in your spare time to assist friends, family, or even your current employer.
"For the past eight months I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time."
"I have not formally volunteered in recent years; however, I spend a lot of time helping my sister who is a single mom. I will babysit on weekends, cook dinners for her and drive the kids to appointments when necessary. I feel that it is essential to take care of the needs of the family."
"I have a passion for volunteering and the past five years I have led fundraising efforts for my church. This meant spending a lot of time making phone calls to community leaders and working on gaining media attention for our fundraising efforts. It's incredibly important to give back."
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.
"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."
"Absolutely! I am very passionate about continuing education and see a lot of value in obtaining my Ph.D. down the road."
"If I could return to school to obtain my Ph.D., I would certainly entertain that idea. I would; however, like to stay in a full-time dean position while attending continued studies. Is this an education level that you are seeking for this role?"
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.
"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."
"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."
"I have many accomplishments that I am very proud of. Overall, I would say that my greatest work accomplishment is the positive reputation that I have in the academic industry."
Academic criteria could change from state to state. If you are relocating from another state for this position, assure the interviewer that you understand the difference, if any, between your last positions requirements and this one.
"I have spent significant time comparing this states academic criteria to the state where I last worked. From what I can see there are no significant differences. I am confident that if any differences came up, I could learn and adjust quickly."
"Yes, I have made sure to become familiar with this states' academic criteria before coming here today. They are not far different from the state where I previously worked. Should I be the chosen candidate, I would be sure to know this state's academic criteria very thoroughly."
"I have worked as an academic dean in this state for eight years. I consider myself an expert in this states academic criteria."
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.
"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."
"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."
"Through my years of experience I have found that the more active a dean is with their faculty, the better everyone performs. When I was a professor, my academic dean was very hands on. I knew I wanted to have the same approach when I became a dean one day."
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.
"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."
"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."
"I am currently working on updating our school's Academic Integrity Disciplinary Procedures. These include policies surrounding plagiarism, cheating, forgery, and false representation."
Discuss with the interviewer the types of budgets and fundraising efforts that you have managed. Be sure to mention any significant results or achievements.
"I have ten years of experience in managing budgets and have been actively involved in fundraising for many years. In my last position, I managed our budget so effectively that we were under-budget in our spending for three years in a row."
"Fundraising was not a large part of my previous role; however, I did manage our school's budget very carefully. I believe that my minor in business finance lends itself quite well when it comes to tasks such as budgeting."
"Budgeting and fundraising is the heart of what I have done in my 15 years as an academic dean. I am very comfortable putting together a budget and action plan."
Your education background may be listed on your resume so be sure to expand on it a little bit. For instance - talk about your favorite course or any awards that you may have received while attending post-secondary studies.
"I graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Stanford University. I graduated top in my class and was on the Deans list. I followed this with a Masters Degree in Business in 2003. Additional training includes a variety of leadership courses through my most recent employer."
"I am a big believer in post-secondary education. It adds a lot of value to those newer to the workplace. My post-secondary education was in education administration. The courses in this program helped me to develop stronger relationships in the educational field. I also learned persuasive writing skills which have proven to be incredibly helpful when working on grant proposals and fundraising materials."
"I have a Master's Degree in English and Spanish. I graduated with a 4.0 from Dartmouth. Academically, I refined my writing skills as well as gave a keynote presentation to several hundred attendees, thereby working on my public speaking and presentation skills. I look forward to continuing to learn and grow as an academic dean, with your school."
If you could sum up your teaching style in just three words what would they be? Display to the interviewer that you are a good fit by choosing descriptive words that are unique. If there are keywords that are used quite often in the job posting, job description, or the school's values you can draw on those as well.
"If I had to describe myself as an educator I would say that I am inspired, well researched and motivating. My students have often commented on the fresh approach that I bring to the classroom. I saw on your school website that you seek to hire those who inspire and consider themselves visionaries. That is certainly me!"
"Here are some words that may describe you as an educator: - Compelling - Engaging - Interactive - Mentor - Motivating - Involved - Hands-on - Dedicated - Patient - Positive - Nurturing - Goal oriented - Compassionate - Intelligent "
"Through the years, I have often been referred to as engaging, warm, and helpful. As an educator, I wanted to ensure that my students were always comfortable in approaching me to ask for help or additional resources whenever they needed."
As an Academic Dean, you will have a large variety of tasks on your plate, and you must be able to quickly and efficiently prioritize your schedule and the schedule of others. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of this task.
"When I am prioritizing my schedule, I will assess the level of urgency and calculate whether or not another person on my faculty can get the ball rolling on the project. In my current role, I hold regular faculty meetings so that all staff members have the opportunity to be heard when it comes to what they feel is a priority on campus."
"Assuming that the projects have different stakeholders, I would interview each to determine the value of increased productivity, morale or revenue, decreased costs, and the overall impact."
"I determine priorities based on the receptiveness of my faculty. The most engaged and organized departments generally get my attention first, and see the fastest turn around on their projects and needs."
A great employer will always want to know how they can keep you motivated and engaged on the job. Be open with the interviewer on what keeps you motivated to succeed at work.
"What motivates me to succeed is seeing success in others. I am a natural leader and mentor so when I see a student excelling in an area where they may have struggled, before my help, I feel a true sense of pride and accomplishment."
"I have an internal drive that is second to none. My daily motivation comes from the promise I have made to my school, and the student body, to always give them the level of education that they deserve and need."
"A supportive post-secondary environment will set the stage for a successful career, for any diligent student. I am motivated by this fact. I need to ensure that the school I work for is delivering this level of support. My motivation comes from seeing my students succeed."
An academic dean, also known as a dean of education, is an administrator who has significant authority over a specific academic department or unit (e.g. dean of the school of medicine, dean of boys/girls), typically in a college or university and to a lesser extent in high schools. They're typically highly involved with admissions and recruitment for their unit, as well as matters relating to graduation. Deans work in office settings and during normal business hours and may have reduced hours during the summer break. Education requirements vary. Sometimes a bachelor's degree may suffice, but a master's or PhD is often required.
Job openings for academic dean positions can be found through typical channels as well as career sites of academic institutions. As the dean, you'll be expected to maintain order and be responsible for admissions and graduation requirement, which is why previous experience in program administration will be important. The interview process will assess a wide range of skills including interpersonal, administrative, and leadership skills as it relates to your ability to manage relationships with students, parents, and staff.
To prepare for an interview for an academic dean position, review your work experience and think of times when you administrated a program by planning courses and defining objectives and saw it through to a positive outcome. Think about times when you gave constructive criticism and how it resulted in something positive. Be prepared to give details on your teaching and leadership style as well as how you would handle chaotic situations. Deans are leaders in academic situations and need to demonstrate integrity and inspire respect while fitting into the institution's culture and needs.