cy of a university handles the administration of the university and is not that hands on regarding academic matters, the Academic Dean is directly involved in the decision-making and the management of the specific college he or she is assigned to. “Drawn from the senior faculty ranks, academic deans are seen by many as serving a dual role, that of scholar and administrator” (DiFronzo, 2002). In this sense, the Academic Dean is the symbol of true academic leadership and responsibility.
Hence, the Academic Dean is one of the most sought after positions in the university. However true this is, the fact still remains that the Academic Deanship is a position that is riddled with challenges and difficulties as higher education continues to evolve and universities try to keep up with the changing times. On top of this, the Academic Dean is also expected to possess personality traits that are deemed to be necessary in becoming a good and effective academic leader that everyone will respect, “ranging from a sense of humor to stamina and good listening skills” (Ferren and Stanton, 2004, pp. 1-2). This underlines the importance of the Academic Deanship in the ever-changing world of higher education (DiFronzo, 2002). For this reason, the role of the Academic Dean must be clearly defined through the establishment of the dean’s key responsibilities; for only in knowing completely what the Academic Deanship entails can one become an effective academic leader.
The responsibilities of an academic dean are many and complex, with each set varying with every university. In fact, Dean Herbert Hawkes of Columbia College has been quoted in saying that “there is no such thing as a standardized dean. There is a dean of this and that college, but I have never seen any two deans who could exchange places and retain the same duties” (Gould, 1964, p. 9 as cited in DiFronzo, 2002). This must be remembered in laying down the key responsibilities of the Academic Dean as one duty