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3/5/2013 12:00 AM

Establishing a Relationship with the Dean

by Anne V. Massaro

From The Department Chair Insider – March 2013, Vol. 1

Q. How should new chairs establish a working relationship with the dean?

A. Meeting one on one with the dean should be a high priority for the new chair. Understanding the dean’s style and preferences and obtaining information about the dean’s direction for the college are reasons to make this a priority. Is the dean someone who expects to know an abundance of details, or is a high-level, big-picture perspective sufficient? What are the meetings the dean leads and what are the expectations for pre-meeting preparation? These are questions related to the dean’s style. A new chair can adjust and accommodate if preferences are understood.

The dean’s vision for the future of the college, and the chair’s department in particular, will influence the department goals the new chair sets. In some cases the dean will have very specific expectations for the chair’s department. The more explicit these expectations are, the more likely the chair can meet them. Lastly, the dean should be a source of information about the university. If major initiatives or changes are planned, it is in the new chair’s best interests to learn about these early and understand how they will affect his or her department and faculty.

Anne V. Massaro is project manager in the Office of Human Resources at Ohio State University.