So you’re a dean! Janie Fouke Michigan State University

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So you’re a dean!

  • Janie Fouke

  • Michigan State University

  • Engineering Deans’ Institute

  • March 23, 2003

The First Year


  • Who reports to you?

    • Chairs, directors, associate deans
    • Publications, HR, Development?
  • Who should report to you?

    • Reorganize the office/reporting structure?
    • Based on who you have or who you need?

You need them: they don’t report to you!

    • Custodial staff
    • Secretarial staff
    • Land management
    • Curriculum office
    • Physical plant
    • Athletic department (if you are Big Ten!)
    • Students
    • Alumni

Communications with faculty

  • Don’t count on the chairs!

  • E-mail letter? Flyer in mailbox?

  • Under ~200, then visit each of them within a couple of years

  • Celebrate with them; be the cheerleader

Your Teams

  • Associate deans/front office

  • Your chairs/heads

  • Development/alumni relations people

  • Alumni “kitchen cabinet”

  • Student groups

  • Other services (computing, library, etc)

Building Extended Teams

  • Search committees vs Sort committees

  • Timing is everything

  • Hiring: interview EVERY candidate

  • Mentoring: expect it at every level (faculty/support staff)

Budget and Finance

  • How is the university budget determined?

    • Report to legislature/regents/trustees?
    • Annual/biennial/rolling five year?
  • Who are the other players on campus?

    • How are internal (dean to dean) decisions made? Top down?
  • What is the value on partnerships?

    • It can be too great!

Budget and Finance

  • Compare budget (the past . . . ) and expenditures (the reality)

  • Ask the pro’s

  • Get quarterly reports

  • Manage indirect cost returns/grant commitments (this is REAL money!)

  • Manage cost-shares/waivers

Budget and Finance

  • Look at several years of expenditures

  • What is the budgeting style? Incremental/zero-based?

  • How much of the budget is in salaries?

  • What tools do you have for long-range expenditures?

  • How much is the endowment? How is it used and who determines that?

Alumni and Development

  • Critical in this climate

  • Role of economy

  • Friend-raising and fund-raising

  • Method/plan

  • Control the pathways to potential donors


  • Who are your partners?

  • Focus on 25 years out in addition to now!

  • Faculty can be valuable resources

  • Don’t lose the alumni

  • Communicate with them!

  • Increase the value of their degree!

Fund-raising: Strategy and Tactics


  • Plan for what you need

  • Endowed funds for students/faculty/programs

  • Write it down

  • Identify 3-4 prospects for each need

  • Make your case with each of them

Creating change

  • Creating vs managing change

  • Glacial time frame of universities

  • Some people say evolutionary change sticks better than revolutionary change

  • Say it; say it again; write it; say it again!

And when you are no longer “new”

  • People no longer say “Does the Provost agree with that?”

  • You’ve picked the low-hanging fruit

  • You’ve put into place a great team

  • You have time for the “big picture”

  • The next challenge

How do I spend my time?

  • Meeting with the teams (communication)

  • Receptions (recognition)

  • Development (resources)

  • Week-ends commitments? Absolutely

  • Survival tactic? Have a great team!

Final points

Final points

  • Don’t hide the elephant

  • Don’t let a good Boss make a mistake

  • Make your Boss look good and your Boss’s Boss look even better

  • MBWA (Management by Walking Around)

  • WACADAD (Words are cheap and deeds are dear)

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