Archive for May, 2012

In October 2011, the Korn/Ferry Institute issued a white paper entitled “The Business School Dean Redefined”.  The paper outlines several broad categories of leadership skills required by modern business school deans: 1) strategic skills, 2) enterprise management, 3) innovation, and 4) people and relationship effectiveness.  Typically the “meat” of the paper can be found interviews with current and past business deans.   The following two quotes really resonated with me:

Sally Blount, Dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, credits  the following advice to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, Jr..

Your message internally and externally must be absolutely seamless, and you better take internal communications just as seriously as you take external branding and public relations.

Along these same lines, Phil Hanlon, provost at the University of Michigan, has the following say:

The key skills of the dean include innovating, dealing with situations that you have not dealt with before, and possessing the confidence and the experience to be entrepreneurial.

A full copy of the Korn/Ferry report can be found here.

In addition, I would highly recommend that you read my posting on “Screening Criteria for the Business School Dean”.  There are valuable insights to be found.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe


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The most popular posts on the Academic Anchor are ones related to job-related questions for an Associate Dean. (Questions for the Associate DeanAcademic Dean – Job Interview Questions and Screening Criteria for the Academic Dean).   In this spirit, I ran across the following list of interview questions for an Associate Dean.  They look like pretty good interview questions to me.

  1. Give an example of something you did in the past year that you are most proud of. Why was it important to you? What positive results were realized from this?
  2. How do you envision the college interacting/working with its stakeholders?
  3. This question describes a scenario involving student complaints. The protocol of our university regarding the Student Complaint Process is as follows: The student must: 1) talk to faculty; 2) mediate within department; 3) meet with Administrative representative – associate dean. A group of 45 angry students who have signed a petition saying that their professor is disrespectful to students show up at your door. Describe what you would do if they had not followed the mandatory process that we described above?What would you do if they had followed the process and they were now at the appropriate stage 3 of meeting with an administrator?
  4. What is the greatest contribution you would bring to the college as the Associate Dean? What is the primary thing about our university and/or the position that caused you to apply?
  5. Tell us what successes you have had working with diverse populations, including students and colleagues? Provide some examples.
  6. Technology plays a huge role in the work of the associate dean. What examples and experience do you have using technology that would assist you in this position?
  7. What has been your experience with collective bargaining in higher education? As the Associate Dean, what role do you see as appropriate in this area and what thoughts do you have about the collective bargaining process?
  8. Given the multitude of responsibilities as Associate Dean, how would you manage your time and establish priorities?
  9. Please talk about your experiences working with state and national standards, accreditation and program and unit assessment?
  10. Please tell us about your philosophy of leadership and how that applies to the position of Associate dean?
I particularly like the “student complaint scenario”.  As an associate dean it is important to handle all parties with respect.
– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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At our commencement ceremony this year we had two speakers – the Dean and the Outstanding Faculty Member for the College of Business.  Both speakers wished to leave the graduates with “a list”.   Following are their lists:

College of Business Dean

  1. Focus on things that matter.  Don’t let others define your success.
  2. Follow your passion and interests.
  3. Give back to your university in time, talent and money.
  4. Define your core values and stick to them.  What is non-negotiable in your life?  Write them down.
  5. Be a giver not a taker.  Be a mentor.
  6. Focus on results not on who gets the credit.
  7. Become a student of leadership.  Be an authentic leader.

Outstanding Faculty Member

  1. Of thyself be demanding.
  2. To thyself be true.

Both speakers made outstanding points.  What do you think?

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The marketing of a business school is a vital component of organizational strategy.  Conceptualizing a college as a “brand” is an interesting exercise.  It is complicated by the fact that the college brand is directly tied to the university that it is associated with.

Does our university have a “de facto” brand?  Sure – our university has a positive reputation for attracting A-/B+ students who are collegial and strong on the interpersonal skills.  At the college level – this translates into students who generally have a positive attitude, are good team players, and will be satisfied to play by the rules in order to achieve success.

Several years ago our college developed a branding campaign for our college of business.  There was involvement on the part of the dean’s advisory board, a few department heads, a few students, and the director of communications.  Much fanfare was made of a quite unscientific study that showed the superior interpersonal effectiveness of our students.  As quickly as the campaign started, the campaign came to a grinding halt.  Logos and banners were removed.   Talking points were no longer put forth.

What happened?  Here are some possible explanations:

1) external entities pointed out that the “branding study” was indeed not scientific

2) there was never faculty “buy-in” for the branding

3) the dean’s advisory board was not fully on-board with the branding

4) the college’s branding was not done in conjunction with other entities on our campus

If I had to guess, 3) and 4) are the most likely explanations.   What can we learn from this?    I am convinced more than ever that the branding of a university and its associated business school is important.  Branding is something that must be done in careful coordination with units across the university.

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