Dean wants you to make his vision/plan ‘come true’

Academic Dean presents his PD vision/plan written a few years ago when he was a faculty member himself. Three EDs have been in your position in the last two years. Not one stayed long enough to bring any change to the institution. The Academic Dean really believes you are the right fit and discloses that you, the new hire, have to potential to make his vision come true. You leave the office wondering…where do I even begin?

Ask what has been done to date.

Clarify the vision. Identify goals and priorities. Is the vision realistic?

Ask the dean, “What do you expect to see from the vision?”

What does it look like? Is there a time line?

“That’s very interesting. We need to creative priorities and a timeline after a new needs assessment.”

Need to understand the values of the institution – how things work.

What resources are available to support the newbie in the objectives?

Alice’s tip: I would ask the dean to summarize the kinds of things the previous EDs have done, and where he/she feels is a good starting point now. I might also show the enthusiasm that the dean obviously wants you to show, but also say that you want to work with them (so that it is not just them telling you do carry out ‘their’ vision but that you will work collaboratively.) It is possible the dean is doing this as some sort of ‘test’ and perhaps even wants you to say, “No, that is not a good vision,” but I doubt it. They may well be treating it as some sort of test to see how you will react. Aiming for a collaborative and tempered, step by step approach, during which you are also building rapport with the dean may be a good way to go.


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