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Author Topic: Interview with the Dean  (Read 13399 times)
ruralguy
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2012, 5:13:10 PM »

On the positive side, Deans usually defer to the departments. That is, most only rarely over rule a depts. decision about candidates (but it is done).

Most Deans are fairly polite during these interviews, and are looking to be useful to you by giving you important information.

Yet, sometimes candidates can sabotage themselves at this point by not understanding the mission of the college, not understanding the Dean's role, or maybe just looking a bit too green.
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kangaroo
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2012, 5:23:56 PM »

On the positive side, Deans usually defer to the departments. That is, most only rarely over rule a depts. decision about candidates (but it is done).

Most Deans are fairly polite during these interviews, and are looking to be useful to you by giving you important information.

Yet, sometimes candidates can sabotage themselves at this point by not understanding the mission of the college, not understanding the Dean's role, or maybe just looking a bit too green.
Ok, that makes me feel better. I definitely wasn't confused about the mission of the school. I was thrown off by the dean asking me about my dissertation research and then ask whether I was more interested in research than teaching. (In fact, I am not, and this would be a huge no-no for this particular school.) In retrospect, he may have been asking about my research summary from my CV because he didn't know what the words meant. Haha
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aandsdean
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2012, 5:47:15 PM »

On the positive side, Deans usually defer to the departments. That is, most only rarely over rule a depts. decision about candidates (but it is done).

Most Deans are fairly polite during these interviews, and are looking to be useful to you by giving you important information.

Yet, sometimes candidates can sabotage themselves at this point by not understanding the mission of the college, not understanding the Dean's role, or maybe just looking a bit too green.
Ok, that makes me feel better. I definitely wasn't confused about the mission of the school. I was thrown off by the dean asking me about my dissertation research and then ask whether I was more interested in research than teaching. (In fact, I am not, and this would be a huge no-no for this particular school.) In retrospect, he may have been asking about my research summary from my CV because he didn't know what the words meant. Haha

As people here know, my background is Early Modern English Lit.  When I interview candidates in related fields, I do like to talk about their work.  The farther they get from what I know about, the more likely it is to be more thoroughly about institutional issues, big-picture things, and some of the other points people here have mentioned.  I do always tell them about salary and ask if they want specific information about anything that I am likelier to be able to tell them than others on campus, however.

Still, if you're in a far different field and something in your materials seems really interesting, I will ask you about it.  For instance, this fall we interviewed a biology candidate who had some things on the CV about a very strange natural phenomenon that has become a kind of folk legend (to say more would truly out the candidate, and therefore me), and we had a very interesting conversation about that, though it had nothing whatever to do with composition or something, let alone Milton or Shakespeare.

PS:  I do defer to the program faculty, but once or twice I have gone back and talked to them more, and once I did finally draw the line and not let them hire someone who I knew for all sorts of reasons would be a disaster.  Some of the faculty felt that they needed a warm body in the line, but I was absolutely sure--and was so informed by several colleagues in the school on the QT--that we needed to start over again.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 5:49:08 PM by aandsdean » Logged

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fashionpolice
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« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2012, 10:52:18 PM »

I'm meeting and dining with several different deans and provosts on an upcoming campus visit. Should I expect to talk with them about different matters? Repeat my questions and expectations? Sit and listen to the vision for the university? From what I've heard and seen before (once) this is a lot more time with the Admin than usual. Any thoughts or advice about how to pull it off for the dream job would be appreciated.
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not_a_gradstudent1
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« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2012, 11:38:40 PM »

It depends on the institution. At my current one, it's a total formality. At my soon-to-be one, it can be decisive.
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britprof
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« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2012, 12:44:10 PM »

I had a campus interview for a VAP position a few years ago and my general recollection is that the Dean spent a lot of time talking about the institution.  On the other hand, in an interview for a TT position last month the Dean had a very different approach: he wanted to know what I could do to promote interdisciplinarity and what I could bring to the institution more generally. He was also very receptive to discussions about a shortened tenure clock. I was a bit reluctant to bring this up, as I didn't know if it was a subject best discussed if an offer comes my way, but the SCC had suggested it might be appropriate.
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seniorscholar
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« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2012, 4:00:24 PM »

It depends on the institution. At my current one, it's a total formality. At my soon-to-be one, it can be decisive.

It also depends on the Dean, I can say with assurance having been through several of them. My quick answer is that if the dean doesn't know anything about your field (e.g., the biologist dean in A&S when we were hiring someone to teach Chaucer), s/he will say many many things about the college and the university, most of which have nothing to do with your ideas, needs, or hopes. Nod and smile and say "oh, really? tell me more" [just like the "how to handle your first date" advice in frothy women's mags].
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histchick
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« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2012, 11:38:50 PM »

Bookmarking for my first "real" campus visit (next week!) 
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brixton
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« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2012, 11:40:27 AM »

You don't have to look at it as a one-way street where he or she grills you for knowledge.  I think meeting with the Dean could be useful in you get a sense of the administration of the school-- the role they play, their vision (which can impact your job), their 5-year goals for the school (all good questions, incidentally.)  It is rare a Dean at a SLAC will nix a candidacy.  Most SLAC faculty hold thier right to self-governance dear.  But s/he can be interested in the shape/make-up of the faculty in 5 years (increase the power of STEM, make the faculty more global in their interests, diversify the campus, etc.), so the person will be interested in who you are -- less as a person who does 12th century native-american basketry with an emphasis on reed dying, and more as a person who might be interested in teaching a first-year seminar, or bringing in a grant, or running a future program in African basketry, or working towards his/her vision in some other way.
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ann05
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« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2012, 7:32:50 PM »

Most of my visits with deans (and one provost) were pretty fun. We talked about research, questions I had about the school, what I could bring. I had one campus visit where the Dean seemed against me from the start. We had a strange phone interview after the department invited me that I was told was informational (it wasn't). When I got there he continued to be weirdly hostile. Later I learned he nixed my candidacy. I don't there was anything I could do about it. He was against me from my materials. The actual in-person interview didn't seem to change anything, no matter how well I answered the questions. Ultimately, I was glad that happened because I wouldn't want him for a boss. 
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leobloom
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« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2012, 4:27:05 PM »

How do you praise the dean who, during the interview, tells you about the presentation they had at a certain vanity conference? I for one couldn't. Probably cost me the job.
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ruralguy
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« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2012, 4:57:36 PM »

You don't praise him, you just ask him about it.

Before you really get going, just say something like "I recall that you were at the Conference of Awesome Deans and gave a talk about reviving the Liberal Arts. How do see that going at Awesome College?"

I don't see how not asking would have cost you the job. Did he have any idea that you were there? If he did, can you say why he'd care?
 
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leobloom
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« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2012, 5:42:01 PM »

Just for reference, it was the ORT- there's a long thread about it on the fora.
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leobloom
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« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2012, 6:38:05 PM »

Ruralguy, I think you misunderstood. I never went to that conference; it was the Dean who mentioned it during my interview. Problem was, I knew ORT was not a prestigious conference and did not clap my hands. And no, I made no comments about it.
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