How to Address Dean in Academia
At a College or University

How to Address Dean in Academia | Faculty | of a College or University

An official letter is addressed using the official form of a person’s name – which includes their academic post-nominal abbreviations. In the letter’s salutation use a conversational form: ‘Dr. (name)’ or ‘Dean (name)’.

—-Envelope or address block on letter or email:
—-—-(Full Name), (post-nominal abbreviations for degrees held)
—-—-Dean of (students/college/faculty)

————Which looks like on an envelope:
—-————Allen W. Groves, Ph.D.
—————-Dean of Students
—————-University of XYZ
—————-1234 Campus Avenue
—————-City, State, Zip

——–—-Or on the letter’s address block or email:
—-————Allen W. Groves, Ph.D.
—————-Dean of Students
—————-University of XYZ


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

—-Social envelope (personal note or social invitation):
—-—-Dr. (Full Name)

——–—-Which looks like:
—-————Dr. Allen W. Groves
—————-6789 Collegeville Avenue
—————-City, State, Zip

—-Letter salutation:
—-—-Dear Dean (Surname):
—-—-Dear Dr. (Surname):

—-—-Dean (Surname)
—-—-Dr. (Surname)

#1) In a social salutation use a comma rather than a colon.  

#2) On social correspondence don’t mention the office held: the convention is that it is the person addressed or invited — not the job.

#3) For more on use of post-nominal abbreviations see that post.  

#4) For more on addressing Ph.D.’s see the post Doctorate.

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

How to Address a Retired Military Officer Who is Now A Dean?

How do I address an envelope to a retired US Navy captain, who now is the dean of a college?
—————– O.S.

Dear O.S.:
A retired officer is entitled to be addressed by rank socially.  BUT in a new professional role retired officers typically choose to be addressed in a way pertinent to their new role: as ‘Dr. (Name)’,

—-An academic dean is addressed as:
—-—-(Full Name), (Post-nominal abbreviation for his degree(s))
—-—-Dean of (name of school, college, etc.)
—-—-(Name of College/University)

—-The salutation would be:
—-—-Dear Dr. (Surname):
—-—-Dear Dean (Surname):

In an academic setting he is always ‘Dr. (Surname)’  but you could certainly address him as ‘Dean (Surname)’ if you are interacting with him as ‘the Dean’. Address as ‘Dean (name)’ in conversations with regard to his actions as a dean.

So back to my first comment … about retired officers being entitled to be addressed by rank. If for some reason he wants to be addressed as ‘Captain (Name)’ … a rank is never used with ‘Dr.’ or an academic post-nominal abbreviation. So he can be ‘Captain (Name)’ it is never ‘Captain Dr. (Name)’ or ‘Captain (Name), Ph.D.’.

– Robert Hickey


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”