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The road you will need to take to become an academic dean is not a short one. You will need to complete a high school education, then move onto earning a bachelor's degree at a college or university. From there, it is likely you will need to earn a master's degree and doctorate before you can become an academic dean or even be considered for the position. It helps to have clear academic goals in mind during your time as a student, and you will need to keep in mind that even after earning these degrees, there is no guarantee you will be chosen to be an academic dean.
It is essential to apply for jobs in academia. This may mean starting out as a lecturer or even a member of adjunct faculty. It is best to stay within one school if possible, as jumping from school to school may delay your chances to become an academic dean. Develop relationships within your department as well as within other departments, and take on new responsibilities to help you gain the skills necessary to be an effective communicator and administrator. This process may take several years; during this time, you should set yourself up to become an academic dean by taking interest in the current dean's activities and making yourself a player in decision making processes.
Publishing articles and essays within your field will boost your resumé and present you as a serious candidate for higher positions within the institution. Stay abreast of current trends within the education world, and do as much as possible to establish your name as a key player in educational development. The more involved you are, the better your chances are to become an academic dean. Keep your resumé current, and be sure to submit it whenever positions become available.
Patience is important. If you stay within one academic institution, it may be years before a position opens up, and it may be even longer before you are selected to become an academic dean. It helps to have other career goals to work toward during your preparations for becoming a dean, and your chances of becoming a dean are greatly improved if you actively work on those goals. Establishing positive relationships with peers is perhaps the most important step to becoming an academic dean, and whenever possible, show your commitment to the academic institution by attending events, organizing events, participating in committees that make crucial decisions, and so on.