Advocate, strategist or dogs’ body: the Associate Dean (Student) role in co-shaping and managing students’ expectations in consumer focused higher education

Lawrence, Jill and Brodie, Lyn (2016) Advocate, strategist or dogs’ body: the Associate Dean (Student) role in co-shaping and managing students’ expectations in consumer focused higher education. In: 39th Annual Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Conference (HERDSA 2016): Research and Development in Higher Education - The Shape of Higher Education, 4-7 July 2016, Freemantle, Australia.


The Associate Dean (Students) is an addition to the now more established roles of Associate Dean (Academic or Education) and (Learning and Teaching) in university middle management. While the role is well established in the United States, a cross between student management, student life (or affairs) and academic responsibilities, a student-focused role in academic sections is a relatively recent phenomenon in Australia. Potential functions include those of a traditional ombudsman or student advocate, providing a ‘catch all’ for the multiple issues facing students. Other functions include a more operational role, incorporating day-to-day processes and procedures, or one that is more strategic and proactive, managing student expectations and crossing divides – divisions, sections, and schools – to support students and staff. In order to interrogate this lack of definition, a pilot qualitative research study was conducted in an Australian regional university. In the study semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders were conducted and participant observation employed. The findings show that by helping staff to support students in both strategic planning and operational processes, the Associate Dean’s (Students) role, located in the academic division, can be vital and complex. In today’s rapidly changing higher education landscape, such a role can operate to develop, implement and disseminate procedures and processes to assist the institution, students and academic and professional staff to not only respond consistently and proactively to manage student and staff expectations about the student role, but also to also to co-shape them, critical in a growing consumer focused market.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright 2016 HERDSA and the authors.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2017 23:47
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2017 01:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: Associate Dean Students, student expectations, middle management
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9305 Education and Training Systems > 930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development

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