dean of English history vs dean of English department

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sanya2013

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi, everyone,

I am not clear about the meaning of 'dean' in the following two sentences:

He is the Dean of English History.
He is the Dean of English Department.

I was wondering if you could tell me there is any difference between the two 'dean's. Thank you.
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    sanya2013, please tell us the source of your sentences (where you found them) and provide context (what is the subject of discussion, which country).
     

    sanya2013

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I write the two sentences myself. When I read this article "Him Mark Lai dies at 83; scholar was called dean of Chinese American studies", I wanted to know what is the difference when 'dean' is used in the two situations mentioned in post 1.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    There is no difference between your two uses of "dean," but the English History department which deals with the history of England is not the same as the English department which deals with the English language.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    English and English history are two completely different academic disciplines. English is the study of the language and the literature associated with it, while English history is the history of England.

    (Cross-posted with Myridon)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In every university where I have been connected, "dean" referred to the entire institution whereas "departments" had chairmen/chairpersons.

    The WRD entry for dean seems to support this.

    Additionally, it's the English Department.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Have you lost control of your faculties?:)

    The WRD entry does not support what you say, SDG, unless you equate "entire institution" to "college or university faculty". For me, the entire institution would be the college or university, but this would be administratively divided into a number of faculties, each headed by a dean (the institution head would be a principal). Each faculty would be divided into departments, each with a head called "head". In some places the distinction between faculties and departments can become blurred and it's not unthinkable for department heads to be called deans.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Have you lost control of your faculties?:)

    The WRD entry does not support what you say, SDG, unless you equate "entire institution" to "college or university faculty". For me, the entire institution would be the college or university, but this would be administratively divided into a number of faculties, each headed by a dean (the institution head would be a principal). Each faculty would be divided into departments, each with a head called "head". In some places the distinction between faculties and departments can become blurred and it's not unthinkable for department heads to be called deans.
    Have you lost control of your faculties?:)
    More and more, every day.:eek:

    Thanks for the perspective from the UK where universities are organized differently than in the U.S.:)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Agreeing with SDGraham and Edinburgher: departments have chairs/chairmen/chairpersons (US) or heads (UK), departments are grouped into faculties or schools which have deans. And heading a university would be the president (US) or vice-chancellor (England) or principal (Scotland). It is unlikely therefore for there to be a dean of English History, whereas it is plausible that there is a dean of the School of English.
     
    Last edited:

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    Agreeing with SDGraham and Edinburgher: departments have chairs/chairmen/chairpersons (US) or heads (UK), departments are grouped into faculties or schools which have deans. And the heading a university would be the president (US) or vice-chancellor (England) or principal (Scotland). It is unlikely therefore for there to be a dean of English History, whereas it is plausible that there is a dean of the School of English.
    I agree. A dean of history sounds more likely than a dean of one particular branch of history.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In all this discussion, we shouldn't lose site of the fact that the headline that gave rise to this discussion (see post #3) uses the word dean in a totally different sense. Mr. Lai had no academic title at all, that of dean or anything else. The word was used in the sense of Definition 3 at dictionary.com: "the senior member, in length of service, of any group, organization, profession, etc." Mr. Lai was respected as the most senior scholar of Chinese-American studies. (Unfortunately, the WRF dictionary doesn't give this definition for dean, but it's widely used.)
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Thank you, Egmont, for keeping us on track. When the scholar was called "dean of Chinese American studies" (lowercase "d") it means he was eminent in that field of study.
    Uppercase "D" would imply that he was a university official.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thank you, Egmont, for keeping us on track. When the scholar was called "dean of Chinese American studies" (lowercase "d") it means he was eminent in that field of study.
    Uppercase "D" would imply that he was a university official.
    Unless you follow the style of American newspapers and many others NOT to capitalize job titles unless they precede a name.

    It makes no difference whether you're talking about the president of the Untied States, a dog catcher or the people who pick up your garbage.

    There have been many extensive discussions on the subject of capitalization.
     

    sanya2013

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    In all this discussion, we shouldn't lose site of the fact that the headline that gave rise to this discussion (see post #3) uses the word dean in a totally different sense. Mr. Lai had no academic title at all, that of dean or anything else. The word was used in the sense of Definition 3 at dictionary.com: "the senior member, in length of service, of any group, organization, profession, etc." Mr. Lai was respected as the most senior scholar of Chinese-American studies. (Unfortunately, the WRF dictionary doesn't give this definition for dean, but it's widely used.)
    Egmont, thank you very much for your clear explanation. :thumbsup:
     

    sanya2013

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    In every university where I have been connected, "dean" referred to the entire institution whereas "departments" had chairmen/chairpersons.

    The WRD entry for dean seems to support this.

    Additionally, it's the English Department.
    Thank you sdgraham for your reply and correction. :)
     
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