Survey Invitation: What Do Education Deans Believe?

Very little is known about education deans’ perceptions of what they think is important for their actual, effective performance on the job. To address this knowledge gap, we invite deans to participate in a national survey, which we are conducting with AACTE’s support, that will tap education deans’ beliefs about their essential ways of thinking, being, and acting.

But first, here is some more background. In short, effective leadership of a school, college, or department of education (SCDE) is vital in light of both internal and external forces that provide significant challenges for these academic units. For instance, in the realm of teacher preparation, education deans and directors must articulate their role as leaders of change in the field. This charge includes determining ways to provide concrete evidence of how their programs broaden and deepen the learning and mastery of their teacher and leadership candidates, and also the learning that takes place in the classrooms of their graduates.

Adding to the challenge, SCDE leaders must work with their many and varied constituencies to demonstrate ways in which they are preparing their graduates for success with an increasingly diverse PK-12 student population. At the same time, education deans must also contend with criticisms from legislators, the news media, and politically motivated, well-financed educational reform entities with questionable aspirations. Given these factors, the study of the education deanship, and what is perceived as contributing to success in that key role, seems to be both timely and imperative.

Within this dynamic context, our intent is to expand the research we’ve done on the education deanship over the past 7 years, which includes reflective analyses of vignettes, meetings, and daily practices. Building on this work, we now wish to take a quantitative look by gathering and analyzing data from others who head up academic units in education.

Thus we developed and piloted the Deans Performance Belief Survey for those in the AACTE membership who serve in leadership roles in academic units. If you are an education dean or director, please consider contributing your response through the link below.

By investigating perceptions of thinking, being, and doing, we can help current deans reflect on their own characteristics and practices and assist prospective deans in understanding what to expect should they assume these roles. Results of our survey will be shared in February at the AACTE Annual Meeting’s inaugural Deans Academy, an event with parallel aims to our survey—that is, to support SCDE leaders in key areas of their work.

Please access the survey here. You will be prompted to log in, if you are not already signed in to AACTE’s system, for validation purposes.

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William Henk

Marquette University (WI)

Shelley B. Wepner

Manhattanville College (NY)

Sharon Lovell

James Madison University (VA)

Steven A. Melnick

Pennsylvania State University (PA)