What to do about the Dean Meeting at a Job Interview

Once again, TONS of good job interview advice at DrBecca’s. Go There. Read it. Thank Dr. Becca.

But yesterday I got asked what do you do in the interview with the Dean. Not probably one of the most critical parts of a job interview, but if you screw it up, it can of course tank your chances at the job.

First, the reason you are meeting the dean is to signal to you that you are important enough to this. Its part of the Dean, or Deanling’s job, and not one that they may enjoy. For your part, it is a chance to get more information. Read the dean’s webpage, find out their pet projects (if possible). Come prepared with a couple of good questions – things to which you might indeed want the answer .

  1. What is your (the Dean’s) role in the tenure process? What does your office do to support jr faculty in the tenure process?
  2. In this college, do you appoint the chairs, or do faculty elect them? Why? [note: this is important because it tells you the limits of power, and how the chair, your new boss responds to people. It is to whom is the boss accountable?]
  3. How does your office support new faculty, financially or practically (actually, they are probably the same thing)?
  4. If the Dean’s webpage is all about diversity, then ask how his office promotes diversity (this may be important if you are a URM or XX). If the Dean’s webpage is all about federal funding, ask what programs they have in place to help starting faculty achieve funding. These q’s are ok even if the Dean’s page doesn’t rant about these things.

These questions are things that signal to the Dean that you are a serious candidate and are interested in the position and savvy enough to know at least a little bit about the system.

Finally, you usually don’t have to ask too much to get admin people going. They are well known for their ability to talk and talk and talk. Take a deep breath and don’t be nervous. Remember, they would be lucky to get you.


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