SDA Dean Search

A Message to the School of Dramatic Arts Faculty, Staff and Students

September 10, 2015

On behalf of President Nikias, I am announcing the search for the new dean of the USC School of Dramatic Arts. I am grateful to Professor David Bridel for agreeing to serve as Interim Dean as the search begins. In his first weeks, David has shown himself to be energetic, creative and more than able in leading the school. Please join me in thanking and supporting David in this new role.

This is an important time for the School of Dramatic Arts as we embark on the search for a new dean. Thanks to the school’s outstanding faculty and staff, the talent of its graduates and the quality and passion of the current student body, the school is primed for future greatness and recognition.

Dramatic Arts’ strengths are numerous. Its vision and reach are increasingly global. The professional and artistic accomplishments of its illustrious faculty are second to none. Students enjoy conservatory-quality education and valuable mentoring complemented by the countless resources of a comprehensive research university. We have the most diverse student body in the nation, which includes the best and brightest from all walks of life and all parts of the globe. And we are located in Los Angeles, the creative capital of the Pacific Rim and a vibrant hub of novelty and experimentation in the world of theatre. The multiple opportunities available to students, including those designed to prepare Dramatic Arts’ graduates for professional success, provide an unparalleled educational experience.

An advisory search committee has been appointed and will move quickly to identify and recruit appropriate candidates. Robert Cutietta, Dean, Thornton School of Music and Kaufman School of Dance, and Robin Romans, Associate Vice Provost, will co-chair the search committee. Members represent all faculty categories and include individuals from outside the School of Dramatic Arts as well. The roster is attached to this memo.

As the advisory search committee moves forward, the same five rules of engagement will guide its work as have been observed in other dean searches: (1) All nominations will come before the advisory search committee without filtering. (2) During the entire process, there will be no votes by any group or constituency. (3) Those who are asked to interview the final candidates will be invited to send their comments regarding the strengths and possible weaknesses of the final candidates to me directly and confidentially. (4) There will be no final vote within the advisory search committee. (5) The final choice of the dean is made by the president.

Like so many of you, I feel enriched by the presence of our School of Dramatic Arts and the many academic and artistic contributions of its students, faculty and staff. Because of this, I view the appointment of our next dean of Dramatic Arts as an early, signature moment in my role as Provost and in our quest to firmly establish the University’s preeminence in the performing arts. So you may rest assured that this search has my full attention and that its successful, timely completion is an extremely high priority for me, as it is for the entire University community.

We will report on the progress of the search as appropriate.



cc: C. L. Max Nikias

Ginger Clark

Robert Abeles

Al Checcio

Todd Dickey

Tom Jackiewicz

Carol Mauch Amir

Tom Sayles

Robert Cutietta

Robin Romans

Board of Councilors of the USC School of Dramatic Arts


Provost Committee on School of Dramatic Arts Dean Search

Fall 2015

Rob Cutietta, Dean of USC Thornton School of Music & USC Kaufman School of Dance, co-chair

Robin Romans, Associate Vice Provost, co-chair

Rob Adler, Part-time lecturer, USC School of Dramatic Arts

Luis Alfaro, Associate Professor of Dramatic Writing, USC School of Dramatic Arts

Daniela Bleichmar, Associate Professor of Art History and History, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences,
and Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Initiatives in the Arts and Humanities.

Sharon Carnicke, Professor of Theatre Critical Studies and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, USC School of Dramatic Arts

Els Collins, Associate Professor of Theatre Practice in Production and Director of Production, USC School of Dramatic Arts

Anita Dashiell-Sparks, Associate Professor of Theatre Practice in Acting, USC School of Dramatic Arts

Velina Hasu Houston, Professor of Theatre in Dramatic Writing, Associate Dean of Faculty Recognition & Development,
Director of Dramatic Writing Program, Resident Playwright, USC School of Dramatic Arts

Josh Kun, Associate Professor of Communication, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Natsuko Ohama, Professor of Theatre Practice in Voice and Head of Voice Path M.F.A Acting, USC School of Dramatic Arts

Sibyl Wickersheimer, Assistant Professor of Scenic Design, USC School of Dramatic Arts