I have my first campus interview coming up. What are some questions that should be directed towards the Dean? Thanks!
Date: 07 Feb 2016 14:51
Number of posts: 6
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For deans, I'd ask about the institution's health/success and maybe the tenure process. Some specific things I'd ask…
- How is student enrollment and what's the enrollment trend since 2010?
- What percentage of students graduate on time?
- How is student retention? What percent of students stay for the full 4 years?
- For graduate programs, what are the completion rates like?
- How is the college/university endowment?
- What percentage of faculty who go up for tenure get it?
- What things do faculty need to do to establish a strong record to earn tenure?
And for a SLAC or smaller institution…
- What administrative support exists for research and grant initiatives?
- Tell me about the student support services available here?
- What is the status of regional accreditation; who handles the accrediting process?
- What is the tuition discount rate (i.e., how much scholarship/need based funding does the college give to students)? — a big discount rate can be a sign that a smaller SLAC is heading for financial disaster.
If you're interviewing at SLAC, be very attentive to both administrative units and technology/resources. I've seen some SLACs where there's next to no administration and faculty are stuck handling a bunch of unpaid admin duties on the side. Also with SLACs, I'd think twice about accepting any offer if the institution's enrollments have remained unchanged or have dropped since about 2010, especially if the overall student enrollment is below 2,000. A ton of SLACs are dying or will fold in the next few years.
Questions for a mid-sized regional that you could ask anyone, espec. an admin:
1) Are the standards for tenure written? Where can I find them? (My uni's tenure requirements are not standardized, and written very flexibly. It's a big problem for people)
2) What is the culture for research on campus? (Some regional/slac campuses may have some people that are pro-research, other people that aren't. You don't want to be stuck in the middle).
3) What type of student ends up attending? (B students from the local highschools? watch out…)
4) How many new faculty are you hiring this year? Next year? typical years? (do not underestimate the power of a strong incoming faculty cohort!)
5) Are faculty involved in recruitment? How so? (I have friends that have to visit local schools and make sales pitches…as TT faculty!)
6) How do faculty handle office hours here? (also one to just note while walking around. Is the culture such that you have to be on campus every min. of every day attending to student needs?)
7) Is internal, non-earmarked, funding tight, or easy to come by?
8) Do you have a person on campus dedicated to helping with writing grants? Is she successful?
9) What kind of retention programs for faculty are in place? For example, housing stipends, sponsored new-faculty events…
10) What kind of professional development programs are avail for new faculty? for example, mentor-training, teaching groups, tech training…
11) Do you shield pre-tenure faculty from major admin roles, such as chair of dept, director of different programs/offices? (not just first year, but the first 4 years should be admin role free).
If you are worried about the health of the institution (and if it is a small LAC, you might have reason to), check out this study of closed institutions for some risk factors:
Great questions. On the other end, what types of questions would you expect from the dean and/or administrators?