Dean of Students Interview Questions and Answers
To be a dean of students, you need vast experience as a teacher and an administrator. This role requires your cooperation with several individuals, which can be pretty overwhelming.
In this article, we will look at some of the questions to expect in a dean of students interview. You will mostly be asked about your achievements as a teacher, the problems you have faced in your career, and how you have solved them.
Ensure that you prepare well for your interview lest a more experienced teacher/ lecturer takes up your position. Take a look at the following questions:
1. What Are You Interested in This Role?
Why do you want to become a dean of students? We all have reasons for the different interests we decide to pursue. However, make sure that yours intends to help the school progress or advance its missions and objectives.
I understand the problems that students face in their education and general life. Were it not for our dean of students back in college, I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have today. I would therefore like to return the favor by helping students just like I was helped. This is the perfect job for that.
2. What Are the Roles of a Dean of Students
Do you know some of your mandates? This is particularly important if this is your first shot at this job. Mention some of the roles of a dean of students by relying on the job description or drawing from the mandates of the former dean of students.
The Dean of students acts as a link between the students, parents, faculty, staff, and the administrators. He/she assists whenever there is an individual or group crisis in the institution, helps with navigating campus procedures, and advocates for the students when necessary. (These are the leading roles of a dean of students. You can mention any other role that comes to mind provided it is within the job description)
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3. What Are the Qualities That a Dean of Students Need to Be Effective
Acting as a link between different stakeholders is not as easy as it sounds. You must possess an array of skills to better your job. Convince the interviewer that you understand what it takes to be an effective dean of students by mentioning job-specific attributes.
A dean of students must, first and foremost, have excellent leadership skills to inspire and rally others towards a common goal. Other qualities are good decision-making, empathy, excellent communication skills, adaptability, innovation, and punctuality. (Remember that you may be asked to tell how these skills relate to the job. Therefore, be ready)
4. Mention a Challenge That You Faced in Your Former Job. How Did You Overcome It?
You will be required to find solutions to several institutional or individual problems. You must therefore convince the interviewer that you are a problem solver. Mention a Challenge that did not occur due to your incompetence and clearly describe how you went about it. Make sure that it is student or school-related.
This is my first shot at deanship. I was an ordinary constitutional lecturer in my institution. While there, I discovered that many students did not report for my Monday 8 am classes. I liaised with the class representative to know what was happening, and we found that most of these students had severe hangovers from a weekend of drinking and hence missed classes. I liaised with the school counselor, who got to the root of the matter, and within two weeks, the attendance had improved drastically.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine
What are some of the daily activities of deans of students, or how do you imagine your day will be as a dean of students? While answering this question, make sure that you limit yourself to job-specific activities. Identify a busy day and narrate it to the interviewer.
My day begins early in the morning. Once I get to the office, I orient my day, follow up on emails, take care of some overnight emergencies and connect with other deans on calls. I then meet with several people and students. I listen to some of the students’ problems and work on solutions or assure them of one. I also meet with parents who may have queries about the school or their kid’s conduct.
6. Briefly Describe Your Experience
The interviewer wants an overview of the places you have worked in, notable roles, and some of the things you have mastered in your career. The best approach to this question is to briefly talk about your career and mention some of your achievements.
This is my first try at deanship. However, I have been a law lecturer for the last twenty years. At the beginning of my career, I was an associate law lecturer at Wilsons and Wilsons University, working a few hours under a temporary contract. I then became a full-time lecturer at the same university before leaving for further education. After my studies, I joined Johansen Law University as an associate professor and became a professor two years later. I was then appointed to head the constitutional law department, which I held for four years before joining this institution.
7. Mention a Strategy and Mindset Needed for This Role
Do you know what it takes to be a dean of students? If you do, you should know that there is a way of going about things and a guiding perspective that will help you succeed. You can mention a working strategy that the previous dean of students relied on.
A dean of students is a students’ advocate. The best strategy therefore is to be friendly to the students and win their trust. They will then feel free to share their problems and allow you to be good at your job. As for the right mindset, being open-minded really helps while going about your job as you are expected to come up with solutions for some of the problems facing different stakeholders.
8. Mention One of the Biggest Challenges That You Foresee in This Job?
You will only answer this question well if you took the time to research more on the organization. The interviewer wants to know just how enthusiastic you are about this job. Your answer may also help identify some of the areas that need improvement.
I believe that I can handle any of the challenges that come my way, thanks to my experience and expertise. However, the former dean of students did such a good job that he is lauded by even the international media. I will, therefore, have to work twice as hard to achieve what he managed to. The main challenge, therefore, is the expectations that this job holds.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In This Job?
What keeps you going? Deanship is highly engaging, and you may experience burnout at any given moment. If you want to appeal to the interviewer, do not mention any material benefit associated with the job as your primary source of motivation.
I believe in service delivery and making people happy. The delight I see in a student’s face after solving his/ her problem is enough motivation.
10. Mention a Time That You Failed in This Role and the Lesson You Learned
Failure is part of growth. Do not, therefore, shy from admitting that you failed. Give an experience where things did not go as expected and what you learned.
I haven’t failed in this role, given that this is my first application to be a dean. However, as a lecturer, I was out of town and assigned my class to another lecturer in the same department. When I came back, I did not bother going through it, given that I have sharp students. When I examined them, 90% of them failed and cited that they did not grasp what was taught. I learned not to assume things and be more thorough at my job.
11. What Vision Do You Have for Our Institution?
What vision can you impact as a dean of students of this particular institution? Remember, you need to gather as much information as possible about the institution and learn about their social, extracurricular, and exchange programs and the challenges faced before picking on a vision.
I am a great believer of equality in all spheres of life. I, therefore, imagine an all-inclusive school where children will feel at home regardless of race, economic background, religion, and academic capability. I also envision an institution where students will feel free to ask me for help anytime in academics or social life.
12. One of The Challenges We Face in This Institution is Low Self Esteem in Some of Our Students. How Do You Plan to Solve This?
The interviewer is testing your competence and ability. One of your roles as a dean of students will be helping students overcome some of their challenges. Mention how you will help solve this problem and some of the people that you will work with.
I will first try to understand this problem better- what causes it, the type of students it affects, and the solutions that have already been tried. Thanks to my extra degree in psychology, I will work closely with the school counselor to find other solutions that have not yet been tested and help these students.
13. How Will You Cooperate with All The Stakeholders in This Institution?
Can you collaborate well with the students and bodies that have the interest of the students at heart? This question seeks to unravel your competence and ability to work well with others. Mention some of the proven ways that helped you in your work as a school administrator.
I will meet with each office leader once a week and whenever a situation needs their attention arises. I will ask about some of the challenges that every stakeholder and the students face to better everyone’s life. Regularly contacting the other school administrators will also help me perform well in my position as a dean.
14. Tell Us About a Time When You Portrayed Leadership Qualities
You need to understand that this is a leadership position. The interviewer must therefore ascertain that you can inspire and guide others. Mention an authentic experience that brought your leadership skills to light.
I once fronted a decision to expand one of our hostels to take care of our increasing admission numbers. I faced opposition from colleagues who felt that it was not necessary. However, knowing that it was beneficial to the students who would otherwise be forced to look for outside apartments, I managed to convince my colleagues, who later accepted the idea.
15. Can You Tell Us About a New Rule or Policy You Have Ever Created
The interviewer wants you to show your experience creating and enforcing academic rules and relations. Make sure that you mention the most significant.
I am always against bullying, having experienced it in school. Therefore, I came up with a policy that criminalized bullying and cyberbullying once I realized that the school lacked such a policy. Any student who went against the policy was investigated and, if proven guilty, expelled. It worked and reduced bullying cases instantly.
16. Have You Ever Worked Among a Diverse Staff?
You work as a dean of students will see you working with a diverse team of people. Therefore, you should be able to thrive in a diverse environment, or you will not be an effective hire. Show that you appreciate diversity and can get along with various personalities.
I have worked with different people throughout my career. I have found out that I thrive better in such environments. Being in a diversified environment uplifts me as a person who loves interacting with people and getting to know them better. (You can also be a lot more specific by explaining what diversify means to you)
17. What Do you Believe You Are The Best Dean Out of All These Candidates?
Why do you feel that you are the best choice for the position on the table? The interviewer wants to know some of the things that make you stand out from the competition. Highlight your abilities and sell yourself. Convince the interviewer that what you can offer can hardly be found in other candidates.
I believe that I am the best choice for this position, given my excellent academic credentials. I recently completed my doctorate in education and became a professor. I have also worked with a diverse group of people and therefore believe that I will make a good leader. Lastly, I have had a chance to travel the world and get acquainted with different cultures.
18. You Have Mentioned Working with a Diversified Group of People. How Would You Promote Diversity Through Your Position?
Institutions must appreciate diversity. One of your roles as a dean of students is to ensure that this happens. Show what you will do to ensure the inclusion of different genders, races, religions, and cultures.
I am a great believer in diversity and freedom of expression, provided that the latter does not harm others or go against the school policy. If given a chance to serve as dean, I will ensure that all the school policies appreciate diversity. The infrastructure will be built having those with disabilities in mind, among money others. ( Explain the ‘many others’)
19. How Have You Confronted Bullying In the Past?
Bullying is a severe issue in institutions which has seen a good number of students take their lives. As a staff member in charge of advocating for students, you need to ensure that it does not happen on your watch. Tell the interviewer your experience with countering bullying.
I have always been a strong anti-bullying advocate as I have seen some of its effects personally and on the people I love. During my previous role, I realized that the institution did not have an anti-bullying policy. Therefore, I came up with one which explained that any student found guilty of bullying the other would be expelled. Bullying drastically decreased by 95%, and the school was thankful.
20. How Will You Measure Your Success After 6 Months on This Job?
This is a pretty straightforward question. The interviewer wants to know how you usually establish that you have succeeded in your job. Give a realistic approach.
The first thing I will do when I land this job is to make some short-term and long-term plans. My short-term plans usually run for six months and the long-term twelve months. If I would have ticked off all my short-term goals by the end of the six months, then I will consider myself successful.
We have exhausted the commonest questions in the dean of students’ interviews. Remember, your job will involve dealing with students and, therefore, show the interviewer you have their interests at heart.