Paul Danos, Dean Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Recently a U.S. publisher asked me to contribute a chapter for an upcoming book titled “Inside the Minds: Business School Management,” which presents the thoughts of a dozen deans about current issues in the industry. I thought some of what I wrote might be interesting to readers here at BizDeansTalk, so over the coming weeks I will post a few excerpts here. The first is about a dean’s reporting regime – in essence, where are you on the organizational chart?
The American system is such that virtually all business schools have an affiliation with a large academic center or university, just as Tuck has with Dartmouth. Most graduate business schools usually work under the umbrella of the mother institution but are generally rather independent operating organizations with significant budgetary responsibility. At Tuck, we have our own governance procedures for our faculty, and our faculty members have authority over the curriculum and courses.
In my position as dean, I report to the Dartmouth provost, president, and trustees—however, the operations and policies of the business school are quite independent. My position, therefore, is analogous to that of the chief executive officer of a wholly owned subsidiary of a major corporation.
Our major constraints are the class size and the number of degree programs offered; changes in these areas must undergo an approval process before major alterations can be made. For example, we would not have the authority to double the size of our class without the approval of the trustees, regardless of the dean’s or faculty’s views. However, we are given a great deal of leeway in other areas such as curriculum, student recruitment strategies, research programs, executive education offerings, alumni relations, and development.
The reporting regime determines how much independence a dean has, and it often controls the budgetary system and the all-important revenue and expense sharing formulas between the business school and college or university. The best general advice I can give is to be completely conversant with every aspect of the history and current states of such agreements. They are rarely cast in stone and are often open to negotiations.