Dean of Students Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Dean of Students, or Higher Education Administrator, is in charge of overseeing student life, student services and on-campus activities. Their duties include providing support for students, addressing student behavior and coordinating admissions and new student orientation.

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Dean of Students Duties and Responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of a Dean of Students often depend on the size of the university or college. Smaller schools generally have a smaller staff that take on various responsibilities, while larger schools often have different departments for each function. 

A Dean of Students may work in admissions helping make determinations on which applicants will be admitted, may assist in preparing promotional materials highlighting the school or can work in the financial aid department establishing packages of institutional and federal financial aid for prospective students. Typical job duties and responsibilities can also include: 

  • Manage and supervise a school’s admissions office along with any programs related to that office
  • Act as a liaison between student departments and institution administrators
  • Develop and implement department working procedures, budgets, policies and goals
  • Assess student body needs and respond to any questions or concerns from the student body in an effective and timely manner
  • Provide proactive leadership and structure to ensure school development
  • Provide student support on issues related to student services, institution policies and department processes
  • Conduct consistent department evaluations to determine how efficient it is running and, if necessary, recommend ideas of improvement
  • Prepare and present annual statistical reports

What Does A Dean of Students Do?

A Dean of Students works at a college, university or other educational institution to manage student affairs, distribute resources to students and uphold high standards of behavior and academic success. A university’s Dean of Students creates policies related to housing, admissions, class registration and student activities. They meet with students on probation, develop plans to help them complete their degree, create initiatives to improve student wellness and handle across-campus communications about health and counseling services. The Dean of Students also coordinates campus events and social activities.

Dean of Students Skills and Qualifications

A job description for a Dean of Students should contain the following skills and qualifications requirements:

  • Computer skills: A Dean of Students needs to be comfortable using computers in order to use the necessary software for managing student and school records. 
  • Interpersonal skills: A Dean of Students needs to establish positive relationships with co-workers, students and their families.  
  • Organizational skills: A Dean of Students should be organized in order to manage records, coordinate activities with staff and prioritize tasks. 
  • Problem-solving skills: A Dean of Students need to react calmly to difficult situations when they arise while working to develop creative solutions.

Dean of Students Salary Expectations

A Dean of Students earns an average of $77,517 per year. This information is based on 642 anonymously submitted salaries to Indeed from employees and users along with past and present social media specialist job postings on Indeed within the last 36 months. 

Dean of Students Education and Training Requirements

A Dean of Students is usually required to hold a master’s degree for larger colleges and universities, while smaller schools may also accept a bachelor’s degree. Areas of study degrees are usually obtained in can include marketing, social work and accounting. Many deans of students begin their careers as college professors, moving later into administration with some earning their Ph.D. in the field they taught. 

Dean of Students Experience Requirements

Most employers prefer hiring applicants who have multiple years of administrative experience in a postsecondary setting. Some Deans of Students previously work as a resident assistant or in a registrar’s office while in college to begin gaining the necessary experience. Deans of Students with advanced educational degrees are more likely to be promoted to higher-level positions within their departments or schools with some even becoming college presidents. 

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Frequently asked questions about Deans of Students

 

What qualities should a Dean of Students have?

Dean of Students interact closely with students and plan large-scale projects for their organization, so they need to be highly personable and be able to manage complex administrative processes. A good Dean of Students should be empathetic, compassionate, friendly and understanding when helping students resolve their personal and academic issues. They should be creative and have a problem-solving mindset so that they can develop effective policies that can gain widespread student support. Successful Dean of Students enjoy being in a leadership position where they can guide their institution’s culture, nurture students and create strong support systems.

 

What is the difference between a Dean of Students and a Provost?

The Dean of Students and the Provost are both important managerial roles at higher education institutions, but the Dean of Students prioritizes campus life while the Provost oversees academic issues. Provosts ensure that different departments meet their academic goals and offer rigorous coursework while a Dean of Students focuses on providing enriching student life and attracting competitive applicants. The Provost oversees student academics and the development of curriculum and the research activities of university faculty. Some smaller colleges may have one person who acts as both Provost and Dean of Students.

 

Who does a Dean of Students oversee?

A Dean of Students oversees other administrative roles at a college, including the Director of Student Activities, Student Engagement Specialists and coordinators for different aspects of student life. They manage Admissions Officers and to develop and implement policies about recruiting prospective students, help them learn about campus life and introduce them to relevant extracurriculars. The Dean of Students also oversees Resident Life, including student Resident Assistants who provide peer support in college dorms.

 

What should you look for on a Dean of Students' resume?

When reviewing resumes for a Dean of Students position, look for experience in academia and school administration. A strong resume should highlight specific student life projects that the candidate completed and explain the impact they had on students or members of an organization. Experience with writing curriculum, peer counseling and administrative work can also indicate that a candidate has the necessary skills to be a great Dean of Students.

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