Duties of a College DeanCollege Dean Duties

  • Oversee Academic Programs
  • Budgets
  • Handle Student Complaints
  • Working with Professors
  • College Representative

Looking at the duties of a college dean is important for anyone who wants to work in academia at the college or university level. The dean is the person in charge of an entire department or a branch of the college. A school might have a dean of admissions, separate deans running the psychology and other departments as well as a head dean in charge of the entire college. College deans are typically responsible for some key duties.

Oversee Academic Programs

When a student enrolls in college, he or she must take general education courses and then courses within the student’s program of study. The dean of that department is the one responsible for overseeing the academic programs of the department. A dean may work with professors to create a list of required courses that students must take or to help develop the curriculum used in certain classes. Deans will also assist professors with special programs like study abroad opportunities.


Colleges must follow a strict budget to ensure that it has the funds necessary for the education of its students. Deans working for the college can help create the annual budget as well as follow it. The budget for a department will depend on factors like the number of students enrolled, the types of classes offered and the amount set aside by the college for that department. Deans must have a good understanding of financial planning. They’ll tackle issues relating to the salaries of professors, the cost of equipment, and other costs that affect that budget.

Handle Student Complaints

The dean is also the person who handles any complaints from students. These complaints can be quite minor and include issues like labs that close early on weekends or professors who use older textbooks in their classes. The complaints can include some more serious issues, including sexual harassment and cheating. When a professor accuses a student of cheating, the dean will need to examine the evidence and decide what to do about the cheating. In sexual harassment cases, the dean may need to discipline a professor for behaving inappropriately around a student.

Working with Professors

Depending on the department, a college might have just a handful of professors working in a department or dozens. The dean is the one who works with those professors on a daily basis. They may hire adjunct faculty or part-time teachers who work full-time jobs and just teach one or two classes a semester. Deans can also hire full-time professors who teach multiple classes every semester, and the deans must identity which professors are worthy of tenure. College deans may hold weekly or monthly meetings to go over budgets and other areas with those teachers.

College Representative

According to Tom Gresham, one of the duties of a college dean is that the dean serves as a representative of that college. The dean may appear in front of students touring the campus and talk with them about what they can expect when they attend, or the dean might meet with groups of incoming freshmen to welcome them to the college. Deans also serve as the public face of the university during public events. They may go on television and give interviews or give interviews to local papers about big changes happening to the school.

College deans have different duties based on where they work. They can work as the head of a specific department or area of study as well as work in certain areas like admissions. Some of the duties of a college dean include acting as a representative of the college and handling complaints from students.

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