Qualifications and characteristics North American dental deans seek in department chairpersons

Shariq M. Khan, Lorena Baccaglini, Asia A. Inagaki, John W. Reinhardt, Sharon Turner, Alvin G. Wee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to determine whether deans of North American dental schools perceived that one category of department chairperson skills (leadership or management) was more important than the other for their chairpersons to be successful. A secondary purpose was to determine the professional qualifications and personal characteristics these deans perceived contributed most to the success of department chairpersons and whether those differed by the research emphasis of the school. An email survey was sent in 2016 to all 75 deans of U.S. and Canadian dental schools with graduating classes. Section one of the survey was an open response section asking deans to list the five most essential characteristics of a successful department chairperson. Section two asked deans to rank the importance of eight listed professional qualifications, and the last section asked deans to rate the importance of four leadership and four management traits that could contribute to the success of their chairpersons. Questions about characteristics of the deans and the schools were also included. A response rate of 46.7% was obtained. The most frequent characteristics listed in the open response section were in the categories of vision, academic expertise, and integrity. The three most highly ranked professional qualifications were previous teaching experience, previous administrative experience, and history of external research funding. Four of the eight professional qualifications were ranked differently by deans of high compared to moderate research-intensive schools (p<0.05). Overall, the respondents rated leadership skills more highly than management skills (p=0.002) as important for departmental chairpersons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-574
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


  • Career success
  • Deans
  • Dental education
  • Dental faculty
  • Dental schools
  • Department chairperson
  • Faculty
  • Leadership
  • Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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