A dean of students is the person in charge of student affairs and activities at a particular school, and he or she usually plays a key role in establishing and enforcing administrative policies. Deans report to school presidents or headmasters, but they supervise teachers and other administrators. Their primary responsibility is to deal with issues that arise among students, both academic and personal. This person frequently serves as a liaison between a student and the school, as well as an advocate for the student’s interests.
Professionals with a University Degree
Deans are most commonly associated with university education, and this is where the position is most common. Although nearly every institution of higher learning around the world has an equivalent position, the term “dean of students” is most commonly used in American and British universities. This person oversees the broad category of “student life,” which includes everything from student integration into residence hall culture to academic success, emotional support, and facility management. The dean is usually the school leader who is most approachable and willing to listen to students’ problems and concerns. He or she acts as the student’s representative to the larger school administration in many ways.
The dean’s office is often divided into different divisions at many schools. There may be one overarching dean of students, but several “lesser” deans within his or her office in this scenario. For example, problems with professors or concerns about broader school policies might be directed to the dean of student affairs, while residential concerns might be directed to the dean of student life. To make the job easier to manage, an assistant may be assigned. By dividing responsibilities in this way, the dean’s office is able to serve more people and address specific concerns more effectively.
Deans of Secondary Schools
The dean of students model has also been adopted a number of high schools and middle schools around the world. Although the job is usually designed to be similar, the issues that adolescents face differ greatly from those that independent young adults face. Secondary school deans frequently interact with parents and may serve as a link between students, parents, and school officials. More than at the university level, information sharing and open communication are often at the heart of this job.
Deans at all levels share some characteristics, particularly in terms of administrative responsibilities. Budget reviews, admissions procedures, health-care programs, and funding for student organizations are all tasks that frequently fall to the dean’s desk. Managing campus services such as security, food and dining, housing, counseling, and event coordination are also common responsibilities.
Work as a community liaison may fall into this category as well. In most cases, the dean is expected to represent the university at city council meetings or other local gatherings. This is especially true for secondary school teachers, but it can also apply to some university presidents. When it comes to student interests or affairs, this professional is frequently seen as their unbiased spokesperson. He or she may also be asked to speak to parent groups interested in student welfare or to attend alumni functions.
Life as a student
Students are typically counseled the dean of students. Financial aid, scholarships and grants, personal relationships, social activities, and career or educational goals are just some of the topics on which he or she advises them. He or she might also be asked to advise campus clubs or student groups, especially when it comes to explaining school policies or rules.
Much of the work also focuses on the well-being of individual students. Physical, spiritual, and emotional endeavors are common tasks in this category. The overall goal is to promote leadership, respect for diversity, and moral behavior. If there are infractions involving the misuse of alcohol or drugs, or improper student conduct, the dean of students usually has a lot of say in what disciplinary actions are taken, and often works one-on-one with the accused students. He or she is expected to make decisions with objectivity while addressing everyone’s concerns fairly and in the best interests of the school’s goals and objectives.
The requirements for deans vary school, but higher education is almost always near the top of the list. The best candidates usually have a master’s degree in education or a related field such as school psychology or adolescent development, and often a doctorate. It’s possible that some prior experience working in a school setting will be required. Before pursuing promotion, people who want to become a dean of students should work as a teacher or a school counselor.