Critical Friends as Strategic Sounding Boards for Academic Deans

Friends, colleagues at one’s institution, professionals from other organizations, or other confidantes, can help academic deans self-examine the way in which they operate and take actionable steps to realize necessary changes that would help boost their job performance and satisfaction

The purpose of the current study, conducted in partnership with CCAS, was to learn about academic deans’ perspectives on critical friends and the role that they play as a source of continuous, personalized mentoring and professional development. The national survey gathered information about academic deans’ backgrounds, their experiences and current institutions, as well as their critical friend engagement and specific topics of consultation. Questions about experiences and institutions were open-ended to capture the widest variation.

The core of the Academic Dean Critical Friends Survey included four sections: deans’ reported general use of critical friends; identification of critical friends; possible topics/challenges for which academic deans sought guidance from critical friends; and the open-ended questions focused on the type of critical friends who helped the most, the nature of the help, and recommendations for engaging critical friends.

Partnering with other organizations and academic researchers provides CCAS with creative opportunities to ask bigger questions and explore the wealth of data available via our network of 500 institutions and nearly 2000 Deans and Associate and Assistant Deans. If you would like to talk about a research opportunity, please email Amber Cox at

The results have been analyzed and we are pleased to share with you a brief summary of the findings.
Critical Friends as Strategic Sounding Boards for Academic Deans

© 2022 Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences.
Site Design by Jean Pokorny & The Lone Designer
Privacy Policy | Member Login