Professionals in the role of a dean of students must have varied skills and experience. The job responsibilities and tasks differ depending on the type of institution. Regardless of location, though, a dean of students must be prepared to handle a number of different types of situations with both students and staff.

Elementary and Secondary Dean of Students

At the elementary and secondary levels of education, a dean of students is focused on the overall delivery of education to students. While a professional in this position will work closely with teachers and other staff members in developing plans and curriculum, there is typically not any staff supervision required.

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In addition to working with teaching staff and other staff members of a school and school district for curriculum design and educational plans, a dean of students handles issues such as discipline, the ordering of textbooks and other materials, working with outside agencies to provide supplementary resources, and guiding staff training to further develop strategies for supporting student success.

Post-Secondary Dean of Students

The role of a dean of students in a post-secondary institution is similar to that of a dean in an elementary or secondary organization. The responsibility of a dean of students at a community college or four-year university is to ensure that students have the adequate resources and support to be successful in their learning environment.

In addition to curriculum and classroom resources, a dean of students at the collegiate level will help coordinate additional services for students. These services include financial aid, housing, tutoring, and health services. A dean of students is also often directly involved in assisting prospective students in the admissions process.

Once enrolled, a student may be faced with additional challenges, and a dean of students supervises the processes to resolve these types of issues. This includes everything from academic probation and grade disputes to expulsion and disciplinary referrals from instructors and professors.

Education and Experience

The majority of positions for a dean of students will require candidates to have a master’s degree in education (please see: Top 15 Best and Most Affordable Graduate Educational Leadership Programs). Graduate education degrees typically offer a number of different specializations. Specializations that can be particularly helpful in preparing for this career path include educational leadership and curriculum and instruction. Additional information for education requirements and recommendations can be found at the American Association of School Personnel Administrators.

In addition to the appropriate degree, candidates for these positions can gain the skills and knowledge needed to effectively lead students and staff by holding other positions within an educational organization. Having experience as a classroom teacher, lead teacher, and other roles is beneficial when looking for work as a dean of students.

A dean of students will be faced with a variety of situations to manage. With the accumulation of education and experience, an education professional will be well prepared to handle the role of a dean of students.