The Role of the Graduate Dean at the University of Missouri
By Brian Foster, Provost
The duties and influence of a Dean vary, depending on the College or School. At the University of Missouri, as members of the Deans' Council, deans play a central role, individually and as a group, in the University's academic administration. Deans are involved centrally in issues including strategic planning, budget, curriculum, facilities, and research. Moreover, they are key participants in external relations of the university, including fund raising, alumni relations, economic development, political priorities (federal and state), and public relations.
The graduate dean is expected to support and promote the highest quality graduate programs, aligning graduate education with research, public service, and economic development activities. The dean must be an effective advocate for graduate education, both within the University and externally. The Dean has direct responsibility for:
- Engaging administration, faculty, staff, and students in discussions of graduate education issues, assuring a positive, informed environment for graduate studies, convening strategic discussions about the future of graduate education.
- Advocating for graduate education, especially by joining the university-wide processes in strategic planning, budget, facilities planning, and political action, to position graduate studies favorably in the University's broader planning.
- Raising private funds for scholarships, programs, facilities, and other graduate education needs, spending a substantial amount of his/her time on such activities.
- Overseeing accreditation, program review, and other processes that are important for continuous improvement of programs reporting to the Graduate School.
- Engaging with the Deans' Council in key discussions of institutional planning, policy, political action, and other key activities, in so doing representing the interests of graduate education effectively.
- Hiring highly effective directors, staff and others who are direct reports, doing their performance evaluations, and assuring their accountability for high-level performance in areas appropriate to their positions.
- Assuring MU's presence in important national policy discussions about graduate education, being informed of major developments in graduate education at the most prestigious research universities in the U.S., and representing MU in critical national processes such as the NRC rankings.
- Effectively managing graduate functions such as admissions and recruiting, certification for graduation, policy work of the graduate council, manage fee waivers, maintain excellent data on graduate organization in collaboration with the IR office.
- Provide an institutional home for interdisciplinary graduate programs.
As a participant in a broad range of institutional discussions and decision making, deans must maintain perspective on the entire range of the University's activities, including different kinds of service, different academic programs, externally and internally supported research: the entire range of education and research on a world-class, diverse campus.