When I was a graduate student in our own Performance as Public Practice Program in the UT Department of Theatre and Dance, I could scarcely have imagined that one day I’d be leading the College of Fine Arts. I’m both honored and excited to be stepping into this role as the college’s new dean, and I look forward to getting to know our community during the coming year.
My research background as an ethnographer has taught me how to be a professional listener, and one thing that has stood out to me as I’ve begun listening to our college community is the pride that our faculty and staff members take in our students, in their work and in our programs. I’m inspired by the excellence, passion for scholarship and craft and dedication to supporting our students I’ve seen in the College of Fine Arts.
I have heard so many stories about our community coming together in powerful and inspiring ways in light of the immense challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have sustained an impressive effort to secure our learning, our research, our artmaking and, most importantly, our community’s health during this period.
Our greatest strength springs from this sense of community, as well as the breadth and depth of our disciplinary explorations in the College of Fine Arts. Building on these strengths and building on the incredible interdisciplinary collaborations both within our college and across campus are critical to our future success. We are stronger together.
Artists offer a unique lens through which we can understand and make meaning of our complex world. The arts build connections, bring together diverse communities and offer space for difficult conversations. I am committed to ensuring that the arts are central to conversations happening on the Forty Acres, our city and state, and beyond, where the work of our faculty, students, staff and alumni continue to change the world.
Advancing a vision for the arts that is committed to our local as much as our global artistic needs and aspirations, that welcomes and expands what we consider our creative traditions, and that assumes our knowledge and our practices in the arts to be indispensable to our collective well-being, is central to my mission as dean of the College of Fine Arts. In doing so, diversity, equity and inclusion are core values of my work as a scholar and an administrator.
I look forward to working with you, our community and friends, as we advance our collective goal of ensuring our college is a welcoming, inclusive and vibrant place for scholarship and creating new work.
Dean Ramón H. Rivera-Servera