Rotating-term Associate Deans: Pathway to Higher Education Administration
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 7 No. 4 (2006): Vol-7-Issue-4-April-2006
In a recent article in this journal, Betts, Urias, Chavez, and Betts (2009) argue that higher education
faces a leadership shortage—due both to expected turnover in senior administrative positions and to
lack of clear pathways into administration. As we have discussed elsewhere (Zappe & Gerdes, 2008),
administration is not typically a long-term goal for those whose careers begin with faculty appointments.
For the few who switch pathways to become academic administrators, an associate dean position
often is the point of transition. Below, we describe the advantages of rotating associate dean positions,
in which faculty members from the same institution leave the faculty for a fixed term and then return to
the faculty. Based on our experience with this practice over the past 22 years, we have developed
recommendations applicable to other institutions as well.