Changing career patterns of deans of medicine, 1940-1992

J. Banaszak-Holl, David S. Greer

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9 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the occupational experiences of deans of medicine during five decades, 1940-1992, to explore whether changes in their prior career paths could explain the increasing turnover of deans that occurred during this period. The results indicate that deans are now more likely to have had previous administrative experience, as either chairs or lower-level administrators, than they were in earlier decades; in most cases, this administrative experience has occurred in the same institutions in which they were appointed to the deanship ('inside hires'). However, the greater number of deans with prior administrative experience cannot explain the increasing turnover of deans because administrative experience was associated with longer tenures. The kinds of positions the deans took upon leaving office did not change during the study period, particularly among those who had short tenures of four years or less. During the five decades, inside hires leaving during their first five years in office most often moved into faculty, chair, or lower-level administrative positions. Outside hires leaving during their first five years most often went on to higher-level administrative positions. The study results do not support the hypothesis that the shorter tenures of deans in recent decades are related to their previous professional experiences or to increasing opportunities for deans to move to better positions. In conclusion, the authors emphasize that organizational and environmental factors rather than deans' individual characteristics must have played the dominant role in the increasing turnover of deans of medicine in recent years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995

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