This week at Inside Higher Ed's Confessions of a Community College Dean, a reader asks Dean Dad whether accepting an academic directorship is smart career move. Because this reader would eventually like to move up the career ladder, he or she is unsure whether taking a director position would be considered "a step down."
While every institution is different, and it may depend on field, Dean Dad says that directorships are not necessarily dead ends. "They’re typically one step 'below' an associate dean or a dean … and they usually have narrower scopes of control," he says, but "accepting and working well at a role like 'director of transfer' could give you that credibility, as well as the direct experience that could give you a more informed perspective when you do start moving up the ladder."
Plus, he adds, directorships offer candidates more exposure to the administrative side of academia than most typical teaching/research positions do. "After all, if it turns out to be a mistake, you can always move back," Dean Dad says. "That’s a real plus."