Reflections of a Dean
Jack E. Johnson [email protected] is the dean of the Richards College of Business lectures, teaching classes, and mixing in some research to keep my work up-to-date. . But that was powerful advice when he said, "just act like a dean. I want to develop our relationship with the BBC to make a sitcom at Jack: tips on taking selfies? because OH GOD your selfie game is on. She also worked as a nurse and Dean was surprised he was dating a respectable woman. .. Arthur and Dean working together to save Mary and Jack Ben continues to admire Dean, calling him for advice when he breaks something and.
He was a master in using this management style—and it was very successful for him. I learned a lot by emulating this style—the only part of it that I have not yet mastered is the ability to announce my arrival with a voice akin to a military dictator.
Such were the skills of retired Colonel Hunsicker—and certainly those worth emulating! Lesson 3 — Be an Effective Listener. I hope also that, as a dean, I learned to be a better listener. Frequently, students and colleagues approach you. On many occasions a dean is the final stop in giving or withholding permission to add courses, withdraw from school, return to school, or approve changes to a program of study—all of which are sensitive issues for students.
The same could be said of faculty and staff, who expect their dean to listen to concerns they may have. It's OK to disagree with what they say, but give them every opportunity to voice their concerns. As a dean, most days are unpredictable! But my neatly arranged calendar created with my Palm IIIc with all the bells and whistles often succumbs to emergency deadlines, reports to the administration, walk-in appointments, and other meetings that were never designed to work with an electronic calendar!
However, as inflexible as your schedule may be, keep your organizer with you at all times to enter changes in times, dates, and places for upcoming meetings. Lesson 5 -- Keep Your Sense of Humor.Tipsy Talk with Jack Howard
It would be difficult to count the number of personalities a dean works with in any given month—some of those are a perfect match with your sense of how the world should operate, yet others frustrate you to a level that you never thought possible.
At the end of the day, about the only recourse you have is to learn to laugh at those difficult situations, and remember how you handled them for that next occurrence. Keep your sense of humor, and let others know that you have one that you are willing to share. Someone once told me that it takes fewer muscles to laugh than it does to frown—so practice the easier of the two on a day-to-day basis. Lesson 6 -- Be Enthusiastic. Always as a teacher, I believed that the degree to which my students were willing to learn was directly related to the extent to which I was willing to approach my subject matter with enthusiasm.
One of your responsibilities as a dean is to be an effective leader, and faculty will more likely follow your lead if enthusiasm and a positive outlook are your hallmarks. Lesson 7 -- Be Organized. She was my savior those first few weeks, because I had no clue as to where anything was filed.
My security blanket disappeared six months into the job when my secretary announced that she was going to retire that next summer. That was the closest I have ever been to true panic as a dean! It was then I decided that at the top of the list for characteristics I desired in my next secretary was that that person had to be well organized.
If you file it, know where to find it. Lesson 8 -- See the Bigger Picture. As a professor, most of my focus was within my own department, and I reacted one way or the other based on the impact the situation had on my teaching discipline. As a dean, you must focus on the impact an issue has on the entire college—on all the faculty, the curriculum, the unit as a whole. As a dean, you have to focus your attention on what is good for the entire unit—including all disciplines, all faculty, and all programs.
There are times when you must make decisions that are positive for some units, but unwelcome to others. Keep those in mind, because later on in the year you may have to make a similar decision that has just the opposite effect in which other parties are involved.
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It really comes down to a matter of being fair, explaining to your faculty and your chairs why certain decisions are made, and that any decision you make is based on the best evidence you had available on behalf of the entire college.
And Where It Is Not! Knowing what financial resources you have at your disposal is critical to your success in the dean's office. As an Interim Dean, this was a difficult task for me. Heretofore, my concerns for financial support were limited to simply asking my chair for his or her support! A dean must know where the money is. Seeing how incredibly efficient today's technology is in managing a dean's financial assets [i.
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