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Career Positioning and Trajectory


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Ok,

I will be a 1st year grad student at a doctoral program in Political Science next year... therefore I am not sure if my question is in the wrong section of the cafe, but it seemed best to get current grads input on this issue.

While I am interested in a career that includes tenure track, professorship, the whole 9 yards (preferably at a selective liberal arts college)... I do have a major interest in expanding from the niche of the tower and doing something like Dean of Admissions, Provost, maybe even if I work myself up there College President (not Harvard, but something like Furman, College of Charleston, you know...).

Anyway, my question is this: how can one position themself to become viable... is this a normal track (academic/teacher to academic/teacher + administrator)... I would never want to leave the classroom entirely, but at my alma mater we had some folks who were high end administrators that still taught and came with an academic or J.D. background. Anyone know anything about this....and how to angle. I mean most high up administrative folk don't come through chintzy Higher Ed Admin. Programs of Fluff do they? usually more core disciplines... Howard Gillman (the eminent public law scholar and now USC Dean) comes to mind.

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Ok,

I will be a 1st year grad student at a doctoral program in Political Science next year... therefore I am not sure if my question is in the wrong section of the cafe, but it seemed best to get current grads input on this issue.

While I am interested in a career that includes tenure track, professorship, the whole 9 yards (preferably at a selective liberal arts college)... I do have a major interest in expanding from the niche of the tower and doing something like Dean of Admissions, Provost, maybe even if I work myself up there College President (not Harvard, but something like Furman, College of Charleston, you know...).

Anyway, my question is this: how can one position themself to become viable... is this a normal track (academic/teacher to academic/teacher + administrator)... I would never want to leave the classroom entirely, but at my alma mater we had some folks who were high end administrators that still taught and came with an academic or J.D. background. Anyone know anything about this....and how to angle. I mean most high up administrative folk don't come through chintzy Higher Ed Admin. Programs of Fluff do they? usually more core disciplines... Howard Gillman (the eminent public law scholar and now USC Dean) comes to mind.

Hey VandyCandy- I do have some info on this because my husband in in higher ed admin and has one of those "Programs of Fluff" degrees you mentioned (haha- he would be so mad if he read that and would probably retort with something like preppy, elitist, ivory tower snob ;)). Anyways, people with higher ed admin degrees are usually in the Student Services field- so when they become deans they become Deans of Students or Dean of Residence Life or Student Services or Student Affairs-- and that is usually the terminal position for them-- they do not become NOT dean of the college, first year class, school of arts and sciences, etc, and certainly don't become presidents (for the most part these positions seem to require a Ph.D.). It seems (from knowledge of my college and MA program and faculty experience there) that to get to be in a dean/provost position you start out by being TT in your field, make your way to Professor, take on a lot of committee work and possibly do a rotation as department chair, and generally distinguish yourself at that school. From there, as far as I can tell most Dean-type positions are appointed within University or College. (One of my LOR writers was appointed to one of these types of positions within the University- he taught there for 25 years, was an assoc director of a center on campus and headed the undergrad fellowship committee, for example.) Other times there are searches for dean positions- these usually would go to full professors who have been in their field for a long time, have distinguished themselves in the ways I mentioned above, and who have long, solid experience at a similar type school.

Hope this helps! :)

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Ha... thanks. Sorry, I like you Silencio and was not attempting to diminish your husband's field of work. I get carried away with the sarcastic verbage sometimes. I save my best shots for realist though, who I suspect may be petty enough to try and find out who I am and where I decide to go to grad school so he can tell search committees that I fornicate with puppies.

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haha, i know, i know. hence the wink. no offense taken :) anyways maybe we will work together some day- i think that would be fun. i suspect we have vastly different views but we would still get along because we don't take ourselves too seriously!! :)

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  • 4 months later...

My wife is pursuing the higher ed administration path and is currently involved in student services. From my experiences and her explanation, this can lead to higher administrative positions like deans in smaller or non-research institutions, think liberal arts colleges or votechs. For provosts, chancellors or deans at larger institutions come from the ranks of the tenured faculty who excel in their service commitments (eg editor for journal, holds office in professional organization, graduates a lot of grad students). Hope this helps

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