Job Search

Dean vs. President: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

The roles of dean and president are both important in the academic setting. Both positions are responsible for the administration of the institution, but there are key differences between the two. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between a dean and a president, and we provide information on the duties and responsibilities of each position.

What is a Dean?

Deans are senior academic administrators who oversee a specific school or college within a university. They are responsible for the budget, curriculum, personnel and other academic matters for their department. Deans typically report to the university president or provost and work with other deans to ensure the overall quality of the institution. They also work with faculty to develop new programs, hire new faculty and resolve any conflicts. In addition, deans often represent their department at university-wide events and meetings.

What is a President?

The President is the head of state and chief executive of the United States of America. The President is responsible for carrying out the laws of the nation and serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President also has the authority to enter into executive agreements with foreign nations and to appoint federal officials, ambassadors, Supreme Court justices and Cabinet members. The President’s primary duty is to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.

Dean vs. President

Here are the main differences between a dean and a president.

Job Duties

A college president oversees all aspects of a school, while a dean manages one specific department. As an administrator, a college president makes decisions about the school’s overall operations and strategic planning. They decide which programs to introduce, which faculty and staff members to hire and how to allocate funding. Deans typically oversee the work of their specific department. For example, a dean may be in charge of the admissions office or the student life program. They also monitor the performance of these departments and inform the president if there are any issues.

Job Requirements

Deans and presidents typically need a terminal degree in their field, such as a Doctor of Education or a Doctor of Philosophy. They also need several years of experience working in leadership roles at colleges or universities. Some deans and presidents may have law degrees if they plan to work at schools with large legal departments. Additionally, many deans and presidents are active in professional organizations related to their field, such as the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) or the American Council on Education (ACE).

Work Environment

Deans and presidents work in different environments. Presidents typically work in an office, but they may also travel to visit their school’s locations or meet with other administrators. They often have a lot of responsibilities that require them to be on-call for emergencies. Deans usually work in classrooms, where they can interact with students and faculty members. They may also work in offices, depending on the size of their school.


Both deans and presidents need to have excellent communication skills. They often interact with a variety of stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, parents, donors and government officials. They need to be able to clearly articulate the mission and vision of their institution, as well as provide updates on progress and challenges.

Deans typically need to have strong organizational skills to manage their department’s budget, hire and supervise faculty and staff, and develop and implement academic programs. Presidents also need to be highly organized to juggle the many responsibilities of their job, such as fundraising, managing the budget, overseeing operations and interacting with the Board of Trustees.

Leadership skills are essential for both deans and presidents. Deans use their leadership skills to motivate and inspire their faculty to achieve the department’s goals. Presidents use their leadership skills to provide guidance and direction for the entire institution.

Both deans and presidents need to be strategic thinkers. They need to be able to set long-term goals and develop plans to achieve them. They also need to be able to anticipate and respond to changes in the external environment, such as new technologies or changes in government regulations.


The average salary for a dean is $93,754 per year, while the average salary for a president is $133,848 per year. The salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the school, the location of the school and the level of experience the dean or president has.


Legal Analyst vs. Paralegal: What Are the Differences?

Back to Job Search

Deputy Director vs. Director: What Are the Differences?