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September 07, 2010


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Bridget Crawford

I'm not sure what dean candidates *do* want, but from the faculty side, I have my own perspective on what dean candidates *shouldn't* want (or, if they do what to do these things, they aren't high on my list of preferred candidates). A dean shouldn't muck around with the curriculum. A dean shouldn't want something "interesting" or "fun" to do in retirement. I doubt that most candidates want to fundraise, but most faculties want their deans to fundraise -- if not as their #1 priority, then pretty close to the top of the priorities list.

Jacqueline Lipton

Bridget - sounds like you've had some bad experiences on the dean front! Fundraising is an interesting point - and of course key to what deans do. I guess one problem for deans is that it can be difficult to fundraise if they don't have anything new and exciting to tell alums. But some of the new and exciting projects can be risky. So can't it end up being a bit of a Catch-22? (Unless you're at a school with a really good sports team and the alums give money to support the school spirit!)

Paul LeBel

Before moving over to the Provost's office, and while still serving as a law dean - what we refer to in our home as "the good old days" - the Toledo Leadership in Legal Education series published a piece I wrote on "Fit," which I believe is the most important factor that prospective deans ought to seek. The essay is available at
I know this has generated some negative responses - we'll all settle for continuing to be exactly what we have been - but I give faculties and search committees more credit than that.


From past experience talking to Dean candidates, the usual preferences were stated: faculty hiring and building a building. What Dean candidates didn't want to do was to raise money to pay for the previous items that the previous Dean had done.

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