Optimize Your Success as an External Dean

Last updated June 9, 2022

Course Length

1h 12m

Last Updated

June 9, 2022

Optimize Your Success as an External Dean

Last updated June 9, 2022

Gain valuable lessons learned and insights from other external deans to help you hit the ground running in your new role.


As an externally appointed dean, you are expected to hit the ground running, making quick and impactful decisions from Day One. Leading through this change can be tricky, as you will often need to navigate conflicting perspectives from the administration and faculty on which direction to go, as you also define your role in shared governance, identify trusted allies, and make decisions even with incomplete information.

Join us for a 90-minute discussion that will provide you with insights and lessons learned from other external deans. Our instructor panel includes two different speakers — one who has served in a variety of external leadership roles at multiple institutions — and the other who just completed her first semester as external dean.

If you’ve been asking any of the following questions, this training is for you:

  • How do I research and understand the issues, challenges and opportunities within my college?
  • How do I determine my role in shared governance?
  • Who should I trust, and how do I figure that out as early as possible?
  • Where should I invest my time, and how do I balance listening and learning with getting important work done?
  • What are some of the considerations I need to make when it comes to assembling a leadership team?

Who should attend?

Academic Deans who have been appointed from a different college or institution will benefit from this training.

If you are an external chair, you may be interested in this training instead: Your First Semester as External Chair: A Roadmap for Success


September 8, 2022

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Eastern

This virtual session will feature discussions around the following topics. The questions listed are meant to be illustrative and are not exhaustive:

The Immediate Needs: Hit the Ground Running

  • When and how do you make important decisions, such as budget cuts, when you don’t have all the necessary data?
  • How do you balance your time between executive activities and “keeping the lights on?”
  • How do you complete tasks, such as faculty evaluations, especially in cases where you don’t feel ready or well-informed?

The Longer-Term Needs: Build Trust and Cultivate Relationships

  • What kinds of meetings do you need to arrange and attend to better understand your internal and external partners?
  • How do you identify those whose opinions are student-centered?
  • How do you learn from and take accountability for your mistakes?