Interim dean named for College of Fine Arts and Communication

Assistant News Editor

An interim dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication has been named as the national search is set to begin for a new, permanent dean.

John Fleming, chair and professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, has been chosen to serve as interim dean. Provost Eugene Bourgeois said he selected Fleming after consulting with President Denise Trauth on the list of eligible candidates. Bourgeois also met with the college council composed of the associate deans, chairs and directors as well as outgoing dean, Timothy Mottet, he said.

“To me, it’s an exciting opportunity to serve the college and the students and the faculty within the college,” Fleming said. “I’ve had offers to go elsewhere, but I really love Texas State and I love the College of Fine Arts and Communication.”

Fleming has had nine years of experience as chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, has consistently received high marks for his leadership and is “known by administrators to be someone who is very willing to work toward advancing, not only in his Department of Theatre and Dance, but also the university,” Bourgeois said.

“As I tell people, ‘it’s an interim dean (position), but for our students it’s not an interim year,’” Fleming said.

Freshman, seniors and those in between will work hard this year to achieve their goals and it will be an important year for them “whoever is dean,” Fleming said.

The members of the search committee for the new dean will meet to develop a description for the dean position in the coming weeks, Bourgeois said. The committee will then conceive a marketing and advertising campaign for the position to distribute to as wide an audience as possible.

“My expectation is (Fleming) would be the interim dean for this next academic year,” Bourgeois said. “And we are in the process of initiating the search, which means I’m putting together the search committee.”

After the national search begins, the job ad will be placed in a number of publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, Bourgeois said.

Delbert Carpenter, dean of the College of Education, will chair the committee, Bourgeois said. Members of the search committee will include professors and directors from the School of Music, the School of Art and Design, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Department of Communication Studies and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Two of the college’s three associate deans, interim dean Fleming as well as Raymond Fisk, chair of the Department of Marketing, will also serve on the committee.

Maureen Keeley, communication studies professor, will be a member of the search committee. Keely said she hopes to find someone who is forward thinking, optimistic and understands both the fine arts and the communication side of the college.

Bourgeois said he hopes the national search will attract a number of well-qualified candidates.

“Someone who is energetic and committed to the position as our outgoing dean, Tim Mottet, has been during the past three years,” Bourgeois said.

They are also looking for someone dedicated to advancing research, scholarly, creative and performing activities in the college as Mottet was while dean, Bourgeois said.

“With the addition and the opening of the new Performing Arts Center on campus, I think there are so many positive attributes to the college currently that we should be able to attract a very robust, large pool of qualified applicants,” Bourgeois said.

Fleming said he looks forward to serving during an “exciting time” in the college.

This will be the inaugural season of theatre, dance and music productions after last year’s opening of the Performing Arts Center, he said.

“Even though I’m in an interim status, we will be moving forward with research initiatives, teaching initiatives, with hiring decisions, with tenure and promotions – so there’s a lot of important work that will be done this year while we look for the permanent dean,” Fleming said.

Richard Sodders will take over as interim chair of Theatre and Dance now that Fleming will be serving as dean, Fleming said. Sodders was chair of the program before Fleming was hired, which will make for a “smooth transition,” he said.

“I expect Dr. Fleming to do an outstanding job as the interim dean, and he’ll begin the year by helping the college to engage in a review of the existing strategic plan,” Bourgeois said.