Dean (University)

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The dean heads a faculty or department of a university . His deputy is the vice dean ; often the previous or the next dean. The dean of studies is the person in charge of academic teaching (also called vice dean for teaching). The office of Vice Dean can be combined with that of Vice Dean for teaching.


In Germany, a dean is usually elected by the faculty council for a period of two to four years. His teaching duties are reduced. In view of the growing responsibility and complexity of the tasks in the management of a faculty or a department, there is increasing discussion about full-time deans without teaching duties; some university laws provide for this possibility.

The legal powers of the Dean are sorted by country differently and college and in the State Higher Education Act defined. In general, it includes personnel and financial matters, as may be specified in the constitution of the university.

The dean signs the habilitation and doctoral certificates . Depending on the university, the certificates are also presented by the dean, for example at a (public) academic ceremony.

Today, the dean is often supported by a full-time managing director or assistant to the dean's office. If available, the faculty-internal administration led by the dean is called the dean's office. The term is also used for the premises used for this purpose.

United States

The comparable North American title Dean indicates a similar activity. Nevertheless, in the USA the appointment as Dean means a significant change in the career path of the academic concerned. Usually a career of one's own begins in science management; in many cases, North Americans will cease research after being appointed dean.


Until 1968, the title doyen was used for the head of a faculty in France . This is traditionally still used in some universities . From 1968 to 1984 the title of directeur d'unité d'enseignement et de recherche (Director of Education and Research) was chosen. The title currently used is directeur d'unité de formation et de recherche (Director of Education and Research).


On official occasions in the university, the respectful, formal address [your] spectability (from the Latin spectabilitas , "venerability") is sometimes chosen at traditional universities . Colleagues from the professorships use the form of address Spectabilis if they were dean of the same faculty; otherwise the salutation remains spectability . In Austria, on the other hand, it is customary to address the dean as a spectabilis regardless of his or her own position .

At traditional universities or faculties, the dean can use the salutation Conspectabilis when addressing another dean.

Web links

Wiktionary: Dean  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Irmgard Wolter: The good tone. A modern etiquette . Falken-Verlag, Niedernhausen / T. 1982, ISBN 3-8068-0063-4 (Falken-Bücherei; 63).
  2. Usage Example: Klaus M. Girardet : Grüßwort the Dean of the Faculty of Arts I . In: Pierre Béhar and Herbert Schneider (eds.): The prince and his people: praise and criticism of the rulers in the Habsburg countries of the early modern period . Colloquium at Saarland University (June 13-15, 2002). Röhrig Universitätsverlag , St. Ingbert 2004, ISBN 3-86110-356-7 , p. 13–15 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed November 29, 2016]).
  3. ↑ Example of use: Announcement of a job advertisement by the dean of the medical faculty of the University of Cologne ( Memento from November 30, 2016 in the Internet Archive )