What does a Dean of Academic Affairs do?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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The dean of academic affairs at a university typically is responsible for ensuring the success and monitoring of academic programs, especially those involved in student success, and oversees other faculty in the same department. He or she usually works to help students who are transferring into the university or from the university to another institution, and also helps advise students on their coursework. A dean also monitors the academic achievements of students and usually issues honors and awards that recognize those achievements.

While the specific duties of the dean of academic affairs at a particular college or university may change from institution to institution, there are some general responsibilities that are common. Primary among these is the role that the dean plays in ensuring the success of and providing assistance to students at the university or college. Typically, he or she works with and coaches advisers to ensure that they are able to help students succeed.


This success is then often recognized by the dean, as he or she is usually responsible for issuing honors and awards to students. While this may be handled by other faculty members within the dean’s office, he or she is usually the one who ultimately issues the award and may be contacted to verify any honors claimed by a student. In order for the dean to be able to recognize excellence in students and advise them in their coursework, he or she is also typically heavily involved in the process of designing the relevant course curricula students must complete to receive their degrees.

In this aspect of his or her work, the dean works with professors and faculty in various departments to ensure that what students need to know is being made available. This can also include figuring out aspects of scheduling, both for the professors teaching the classes and the students who need to meet certain requirements each year to graduate on time. The dean will also often deal with conflicts between faculty and staff members, to ensure problems are resolved in beneficial ways that promote a positive environment.

A university’s dean of academic affairs will also often work to ensure the mission and vision statements of the college are being properly adhered to by professors and other faculty. This often includes ensuring that academic standards are being met, that professionalism and integrity policies are given to students and staff, and seeing to the satisfaction of state or national accreditation requirements. The dean also usually hires other faculty and staff members that work under him or her to help fulfill these duties and requirements as well.


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