dean and chancellor

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Dear friends!!!

I would like to know how you call (in Britain and in the USA) the heads of a department in a university and the whole University. I know the words "dean" and "chancellor", respectively. Are they used everywhere throughout the English-speaking countries or there are other ones?

Thanks
 
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Dear friends!!!

    I would like to know how you call (in Britain and in the USA) the heads of a department in a university and the whole University. I know the words "dean" and "chancellor", respectively. Are they used everywhere throughout the English-speaking countries or there are other ones?
    Since US universities outnumber other English-speaking universities, it would be safe to say that the US practice is the most common one -- and in US practice, it is not typical for the head of a university to be called a "chancellor", nor is it common for the head of a department to be called a "dean". In most US universities, the head of the university is most commonly the "President" of the university, and the head of a department is a "chairman", or "chairperson" or "chair". A dean is typically the head of a school or a faculty, and not of a department.

    For example, at Harvard University, Drew Gilpin Faust is the President of the Unviersity, Juliio Frenk is the Dean of the University's School of Public Health, and Hans-Olov Adami is the Chair of the Department of Epidemiology in that School.
     
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    Since US universities outnumber other English-speaking universities, it would be safe to say that the US practice is the most common one -- and in US paractice, it is not typical for the head of a university to be called a "chancellor", nor is it common for the head of a department to be called a "dean". In most US universities, the head of the university is most commonly the "President" of the university, and the head of a department is a "chairman", or "chairperson" or "chair". A dean is typically the head of a school or a faculty, and not of a department.

    For example, at Harvard University, Drew Gilpin Faust is the President of the Unviersity, Juliio Frenk is the Dean of the University's School of Public Health, and Hans-Olov Adami is the Chair of the Department of Epidemiology in that School.
    Thanks a lot!!! Actually, when I was writing "department", I was thinking about "faculty" because as far as I know what we call "faculty" in Russia is "department" in English-speaking countries. For example, when I was a student, I was studying at the Computer Science department (English variant) or Computer Science faculty (Russian variant). Probably the difference is that department is bigger than faculty.

    Still I would like to know about the usage "chancellor"? Maybe it originates from Britain? I haveheard it several times, but unfortunately I do not remember who used them - Britains, Americans or maybe representatives of another English-speaking country (Canada, Australia, New Zealand).

    Thanks!!!
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Complicated question, Dmitry! And I note (pace GWB's numerical comments :p) that you're asking about both British and American practice. To be honest, I don't think there's a single answer for UK universities. But if, in the context of a university, I heard the word "Chancellor", I would expect* the individual concerned to be a titular 'figurehead' (with a Vice-Chancellor taking on the Chief Executive role); if I heard the word "Dean", I would expect* the individual to be the head of a faculty.

    For more, see the Wiki articles on Chancellor (education) and Dean (education).

    ________
    * on the balance of probabilities
     
    Complicated question, Dmitry! And I note (pace GWB's numerical comments :p) that you're asking about both British and American practice. To be honest, I don't think there's a single answer for UK universities. But if, in the context of a university, I heard the word "Chancellor", I would expect* the individual concerned to be a titular 'figurehead' (with a Vice-Chancellor taking on the Chief Executive role); if I heard the word "Dean", I would expect* the individual to be the head of a faculty.

    For more, see the Wiki articles on Chancellor (education) and Dean (education).

    ________
    * on the balance of probabilities
    Thanks for the speedy reply!!! So for you as a resident of the UK what are the most typical words meaning the head of a department/faculty and the whole university?

    Regarding "dean" you understand it the same way as we do here in Russia

    What do you mean by "figurehead"? Someone who has been awarded power but who does not rule actually? Like the British Queen, for example (No offence)? "The sovereign reigns but does not rule". For you "Chancellor" is the head of a university only technically whereas there is someone else who really makes all important decisions. Right?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    So for you as a resident of the UK what are the most typical words meaning the head of a department/faculty and the whole university?
    Well, if we're talking about "executive" roles, I'd say "Dean" and "Vice-Chancellor" respectively.

    What do you mean by "figurehead"? Someone who has been awarded power but who does not rule actually? Like the British Queen, for example (No offence)? "The sovereign reigns but does not rule".
    Well, not exactly someone who has been awarded power; more like someone who has been invited to take up the position because they will be (a) a wise adviser (b) a good ambassador.
    For you "Chancellor" is the head of a university only technically whereas there is someone else who really makes all important decisions. Right?
    Yes:)

    Now just wait for someone to come along and say I've got it all wrong ... :D
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Well, if we're talking about "executive" roles, I'd say "Dean" and "Vice-Chancellor" respectively.


    Well, not exactly someone who has been awarded power; more like someone who has been invited to take up the position because they will be (a) a wise adviser (b) a good ambassador.
    Yes:)

    Now just wait for someone to come along and say I've got it all wrong ... :D
    Yes, Loob is absolutely right. In some parts of the commonwealth, it is common for royalty to be Chancellors of universities. So, for the executive roles, we have:

    Vice-Chancellors of universities
    Deans of faculties or schools
    Heads of departments
     
    Yes, Loob is absolutely right. In some parts of the commonwealth, it is common for royalty to be Chancellors of universities. So, for the executive roles, we have:

    Vice-Chancellors of universities
    Deans of faculties or schools
    Heads of departments
    Thanks for the reply!!! As I have already said, I agree about "dean" as the head of a faculty. But why school? I thought for schools we talk about "principle", "headmistress", or "headteacher". So turns out that I was not right?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Sorry, I was talking of 'schools' in the university context. (Yes, for primary or secondary schools, we talk of heads [headteachers, headmasters, headmistresses], or principals [note the spelling].)

    Just to muddy the waters ...

    Some universities are organised into schools such as Roehampton University which has a School of Arts, a School of Education, etc., each of which is led by a dean.

    Scottish universities could also do things differently. The person in charge of the overall running of the University of Edinburgh is the principal, not the vice-chancellor.

    This university also divides up its academic units up into colleges such as the College of Humanities and Social Science, and within it several Schools. In this case, the College is led by a dean.

    Elsewhere in the UK, a college might not be an academic structure but sort of residential in nature (eg in Cambridge, Roehampton), and these might be led by a Principal or a Master or Mistress.

    Confusing? :eek:
     
    Sorry, I was talking of 'schools' in the university context. (Yes, for primary or secondary schools, we talk of heads [headteachers, headmasters, headmistresses], or principals [note the spelling].)

    Just to muddy the waters ...

    Some universities are organised into schools such as Roehampton University which has a School of Arts, a School of Education, etc., each of which is led by a dean.

    Scottish universities could also do things differently. The person in charge of the overall running of the University of Edinburgh is the principal, not the vice-chancellor.

    This university also divides up its academic units up into colleges such as the College of Humanities and Social Science, and within it several Schools. In this case, the College is led by a dean.

    Elsewhere in the UK, a college might not be an academic structure but sort of residential in nature (eg in Cambridge, Roehampton), and these might be led by a Principal or a Master or Mistress.

    Confusing? :eek:
    No, it is not confusing. On the conrary - very interesting!!!
     
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