The Changing Nature of the Academic Deanship: ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Research Report

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Who are academic deans and what do they do? What challenges do they face and what strategies do might they use to meet these challenges? What can universities do to help them become more effective?

Newly appointed academic deans often find themselves in key leadership roles with strained fiscal resources, external accountability pressures, dizzying technology and system demands, and a rapidly shifting student demographic. Previous training and experience as faculty is often not enough to prepare academic deans for surmounting these challenges. Authors Mimi Wolverton, Walter H. Gmelch, Joni Montex, and Charles T. Neils draw from their own experiences in higher education and their research at the Center for Academic Leadership at Washington State University to examine the evolving role of the academic dean and the profound external changes which are affecting the nature of deanship. They present six specific strategies to meet the persistent challenges in funding, diversity issues, legal concerns, technology demands, ethical practices, and achieving the balance between the personal and professional. They also address the university's role in furthering the leadership abilities of its academic deans and examine successful practices in selection, socialization, development and evaluation. Offering an effective strategy that moves deans as managers of day-to-day operations to deans as leaders of a dynamic environment, this book is a valuable resource for academic deans at any stage of their career.

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What Do They Do?
What Challenges Do Deans Face?
What Strategies Can Deans Use to Meet These Challenges?

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About the author (2001)

MIMI WOLVERTON is associate professor at Washington State University and current codirector of the Center for Academic Leadership. She has more than 20 years of executive experience in private sector organizations and holds a Ph.D. in leadership and policy studies from Arizona State University. Her research interests are in the areas of leadership, organizational change, educational policy, and curriculum and instructional improvement. GMELCH is dean of the College of Education at Iowa State University and codirector of the Center for Academic Leadership. He earned a Ph.D. in the educational executive program from University of California-Santa Barbara. As educator, management consultant, university administrator, and former business executive, Gmelch has conducted research and published extensively on the topics of leadership, team development, conflict, and stress. MONTEZ is a graduate student and research associate for the Center for Academic Leadership at Washington State University, working toward a Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in higher education administration. Her graduate studies focus on effective leadership and the advancement of women and minorities in the legal and educational professions. CHARLES T. NIES has worked professionally in higher education for more than ten years. He holds a Ph.D. in educational administration with an emphasis on leadership from Washington State University. His areas of specialization include gender and power, multicultural education, and leadership education and development, and his research interests focus on leadership and institutional change.

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