After getting a complete curricular reconstruction under Dean Bryan Rogers during the past 12 years, the School of Art & Design will soon be under new leadership when Rogers retires in June.

Rogers wrote in an e-mail that his retirement comes at a time when he’s ready to take a break from constantly working and eager to explore other aspects of life outside of the School of Art & Design.

“While I’ve always believed that teaching, ‘deaning’ and art-making were part of the same creative cloth, I am indeed looking forward to, among other things, having more time to work in my studio,” wrote Rogers, who is a painter.

But Rogers also said he’ll miss working with the school, particularly the opportunity to help advance higher education initiatives.

“I hope that I have contributed to unifying the educational programs of the School of Art & Design and to integrating the school more productively into the University and the world,” he wrote.

In anticipation of hiring a new dean, University Provost Philip Hanlon has spearheaded a Search Advisory Committee to aid the process of finding a replacement who will continue to advance the school’s curriculum. The committee will seek input from the surrounding community, including undergraduate and graduate students.

The committee to find a new dean consists of faculty representatives from the Art & Design School, a staff member appointed by Hanlon, two students and one Art & Design alum. Other committee members include Dean of the College of Engineering David Munson, professors from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and a School of Music, Theatre & Dance faculty member.

James Cogswell, Arthur F. Thurnau professor in the School of Art & Design, is chair of the committee. Cogswell wrote in an e-mail interview that the committee takes all suggestions and input seriously.

“We scheduled an open meeting (in the spring) for undergraduates and another meeting for graduate students to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead,” he wrote.

After receiving community input, the committee looks for nominations and applications for the dean’s position in order to build a diverse candidate pool before beginning the selection process. The process will include confidential interviews with the candidates and campus visits, which will all be taken into account before a candidate is recommended to Hanlon.

Through the extensive search process, which will garner input from faculty in a variety of disciplines, the committee will attempt to “(break) down disciplinary boundaries and walls that are so common in other schools,” according to the school’s online job description.

Cogswell noted that it is important the school maintains its connections to the College of Engineering, Ross School of Business and Architecture and Urban Planning School in upcoming years. Qualifications in the online job description include a candidate with an entrepreneurial mindset, skills in fundraising and budgeting, a commitment to diversity and strong communication skills.

Cogswell noted that the new dean should maintain progression in the school’s curriculum.

“Our school is recognized for its innovative curriculum,” Cogswell wrote. “How we build on our existing curriculum is up to the faculty as we go forward. We are looking for a dean who can help us with that process.”

One part of the school’s curriculum that the committee is seeking input on is the new International Experience Requirement, which was implemented last year and requires students to study abroad. However, the requirement may not remain in the school’s curriculum under the new dean, Cogswell wrote.

Art & Design sophomore Taylor Ross wrote in an e-mail that she thinks it is important for the study abroad requirement to remain in place since the University values developing cultured and globally-informed students.

“One of the core missions of the School of Art & Design is to produce well-rounded artists and designers,” she wrote. “Part of that is having an understanding of people and cultures that differ from one’s own.”

Art & Design alum Katharine Drake, who graduated this past spring, echoed Ross’s sentiments, adding that her experience studying abroad in Turkey allowed her to grow as an individual and develop her artwork.

“I think the study abroad requirement is one of the most important aspects of the program at Art & Design because you have the opportunity to grow as a person in a different place besides Ann Arbor, which directly affects your artwork,” Drake said.

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