Role of a Dean

The duties and influence of a dean vary slightly, depending on the college or school, but in general deans’ roles are very similar.

At the University of Missouri, as members of the deans’ council, deans play a central role, individually and as a group, in the university’s academic administration.

Deans are involved centrally in issues including strategic planning, budget, curriculum, facilities and research. Moreover, they are key participants in external relations of the university, including fundraising, alumni relations, economic development, political priorities (federal and state) and public relations.

Deans support and promote the highest quality educational programs, research, public service and economic development activities of their respective colleges and schools.

Each dean must be an effective advocate for his or her college, both within the university and externally. Deans have ultimate accountability for their colleges’ sound management of resources: fiscal, facilities and human. They are responsible for collegiate planning, including alignment of plans for educational, research and other activities in their colleges.

Deans are directly responsible for:

  • Engaging faculty, staff and students in discussions of all important collegiate issues and assuring a positive, high-quality working environment
  • Convening strategic intellectual discussions about future academic directions of departments, centers, programs and the college itself
  • Advocating for the college, especially by joining the university-wide processes in strategic planning, budget, facilities planning and political action, to position the college favorably in the university’s broader planning
  • Raising private funds for scholarships, professorships, programs, facilities and other college needs, normally spending 40 percent of his or her time on such activities
  • Playing a key oversight role in accreditation, program review and other processes that are important for continuous improvement of the college’s activities
  • Engaging with the Council of Deans in key discussions of institutional planning, policy, political action and other key activities, in so doing representing the college’s interests effectively
  • Hiring highly effective chairs, directors, staff and others who are direct reports, doing their performance evaluations, and assuring their accountability for high-level performance in areas appropriate to their positions. 
  • Assuring coordination of all components of the college: departments, centers, academic programs (including undergraduate, graduate and professional), economic development activities, public service and other activities of the unit

As a participant in a broad range of institutional discussions and decision making, deans must maintain perspective on the entire range of education and research on our world-class diverse campus, including different kinds of service, different academic programs and externally and internally supported research.

Resources