Archive for Thursday, March 27, 2008

KU names interim Fine Arts dean

March 27, 2008


Search committee

The dean of fine arts search committee will become the Provost's Task Force on Fine Arts. The task force is expected to take a couple of months to examine the structure of the School of Fine Arts and offer any possible suggestions for how the school could be structured differently.

The search committee was made up of:


¢ John Gaunt, dean of architecture and urban planning

Music and Dance

¢ Professor Martin Bergee

¢ Administrative assistant Lois Elmer

¢ Associate professor Michelle Heffner Hayes

¢ Associate professor Genaro Mendez

¢ Director of Bands Scott Weiss


¢ Professor Carol Ann Carter

¢ Associate professor Tanya Hartman


¢ Associate professor Liz Kowalchuk

¢ Professor Lance Rake


¢ Alyssa Boone, undergraduate student

¢ Jeff McGee, graduate student

Affiliated groups

¢ Ann Gardner, incoming president of Friends of the Lied Center, Lawrence Journal-World editorial editor

¢ Tim Van Leer, executive director of the Lied Center

¢ Saralyn Reece Hardy, director of the Spencer Museum of Art

¢ Larry Tenopir, chairman of the School of Fine Arts advisory board

A professor in Kansas University's department of theater and film will serve as interim dean of KU's School of Fine Arts.

John Gronbeck-Tedesco said he expected his time as interim dean would allow the faculty of the School of Fine Arts to re-examine itself and how it envisions its future.

"I'll have several responsibilities - and that's still being discussed - one of which will be to provide a time of reflection so members of the school will have time to think about any number of issues," he said. "Interim administrators are usually used to put another set of eyes on operations."

Indeed, an e-mail from KU Provost Richard Lariviere to faculty and staff spelled out just such a process. The current search committee will morph into a task force on fine arts education at KU.

The group is expected to take several months to look at how fine arts is organized at KU and make recommendations. Their report would be evaluated before any new search is started.

Lariviere said a new search committee, with new members, wouldn't be able to start its work until the next academic year because of the patterns in higher education hiring.

"All of the candidates had considerable strengths, and yet none of them satisfied the committee they were the appropriate person for the job," he said.

Lariviere said Gronbeck-Tedesco was the best person for the job because he has experience with administration, both as a department chairman and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where theater and film is located.

Gronbeck-Tedesco said he's always had a great deal of respect for and interaction with the fine arts faculty.

"It's a really good faculty," he said. "I've mostly been housed in the department of theater and film, which shares a lot of hallways with fine arts. Theater and film is in the arts."

Gronbeck-Tedesco, who takes over July 1, said he didn't anticipate being a major part of any future fine arts dean search.

In addition to naming Gronbeck-Tedesco interim dean on Wednesday, Lariviere made other administrative announcements. Danny Anderson, associate dean of liberal arts and sciences, will become the vice provost for academic affairs.

His promotion will take effect June 1 when Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett returns to teaching. Anderson has been on the KU faculty since the late 1980s.

He said he was drawn to the position because he's fascinated by how a large university works and how he can make it run more efficiently.

"I need to learn a little bit more about the job to try and make some good decisions, but one of the things I'm very excited about is efforts to try and learn more about what the needs in the state of Kansas will be to educate Hispanic students," Anderson said. "The Hispanic minority is one of the fastest growing in this state. KU needs to be at the forefront in preparing for a new group of students moving into higher education."

Anderson's research specialty is Mexican literature from the late 19th century to the present. He teaches one course each year, something he hopes to continue.

"While I hate to steal him from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, he's going to be a superb addition to the provost's office," Lariviere said.

Anderson's promotion comes at the same time two other arts and sciences associate deans are finalists for more prominent positions at other universities.

"That was a concern, but if you hire very good people into important positions, it's inevitable that other people are going to be on to them sooner or later," Lariviere said.

In addition to promoting Anderson, McCluskey-Fawcett's return to teaching creates an opening in the senior vice provost position. Don Steeples, vice provost for scholarly support, will become senior vice provost and the second-in-command to Lariviere on a day-to-day basis.

"I'll be the go-to person on any sort of short-term action when the provost is out of town," he said.

Steeples also was placed in charge of the KU department of design and construction management, in addition to his existing responsibilities.


toefungus 10 years, 2 months ago

I love hyphenated names. It is like they can't decide what they want to be. Not a good choice for interim dean. Part of the old and entrenched elites.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 2 months ago

I owned a McCluskey-Faucet once, but it rusted out way to fast. Seems to me that if we had a decent Chancellor rather than this political hack, better people would apply. We're rotting from the head down.

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