Arts & Culture

UK College of Fine Arts Names New Dean

headshot photo of Mark Shanda
Mark Shanda, a professor and season producer at Ohio State University Department of Theatre and president of USITT, has been selected as the next dean of the UK College of Fine Arts pending approval by the UK Board of Trustees.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 30, 2017) Mark Shanda has been selected as the next dean of the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts pending approval by the UK Board of Trustees. Shanda is a professor and season producer at the Department of Theatre in the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University. He is also president of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT).

"I am thrilled to be named dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Kentucky,” Shanda said. “During my interview process, with each conversation, I became more impressed with the faculty, staff and students of the university. Their shared passion for the arts and all things blue were infectious, and my wife Ginny and I greatly look forward to joining the UK family."

Professor Shanda is the former divisional dean of arts and humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio State University, a position he held from 2011-2015. Shanda was named dean in 2011 following five years of service as chair of the Department of Theatre. He has been a faculty member in the Department of Theatre at Ohio State since 1986.

Shanda is co-author of “Drafting for the Theatre,” a theatre technology textbook in use by virtually all the major theatre programs in the country, now in its second edition. His most recent co-authored book, “Technical Management for the Performing Arts,” focuses on the effective use of time, talent and financial resources in advancing the arts. He has also been a contributor to Theatre Design and Technology magazine.

A longtime member of USITT, he currently is serving a three-year term as president. In the spring of 2012, he was named a fellow of the institute. He served as the technical director for the United States entry in the Prague Quadrennial in 1999, an international exhibition of theatre design. In addition, he chaired the Eighth Biennial USITT Theatre Technology Expo in Long Beach, California, in 2001. Shanda has been the technical director for well over 200 theatre and opera productions. 

At Ohio State, Shanda was heavily involved in curricular matters as an active member of the College of Arts and Sciences Committee on Curriculum and Instruction (CCI) for several years. In 2009-10, he chaired the Assessment Subcommittee of CCI, as well the University Level Advisory Committee (ULAC) on the General Education Curriculum (GEC). ULAC is charged with continuous oversight of the GEC and was the body that developed the new general education requirements for all OSU students.

As an architectural theatre consultant, Shanda has worked on such projects as the Student Life Center at Cedarville College, the Boardman High School Auditorium, Pickerington High School Theatre, Beavercreek High School, and Logan-Hocking Middle School. From 2015-2016, he served as a provost faculty fellow providing leadership to Ohio State’s planning for their new Arts District facilities.

In 1998, Shanda was honored by the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KC/ACTF) with the Gold Medallion award, given to individuals who make extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and to the development and quality of the KC/ACTF. He was co-founder and artistic director of the Ohio State University/Port Clinton Performing Arts Festival, a partnership with the Port Clinton business community, that featured student, faculty and staff artists in music, dance, theatre and visual arts from Ohio State University in a weeklong festival held in a variety of nontraditional performance venues. In the spring of 2007, Shanda was awarded the University Career Services Award for outstanding service to undergraduate students.

Shanda succeeds David Sogin, who has served as interim dean from July 1, 2016.

“Professor Shanda is an internationally renowned leader with transformative contributions to the field of fine arts,” UK Provost Tim Tracy said. “His core values of excellence and innovation support the college’s and university’s vision for the future. I look forward to seeing the college continue to thrive under his leadership.”

Shanda will begin his tenure Sept. 1 at UK College of Fine Arts. The college, which offers the state's most comprehensive array of educational programs devoted to the visual and performing arts, comprise four academic units: the School of Art and Visual Studies, the Department of Arts Administration, the School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The Singletary Center for the Arts, the college’s performing arts facility, supports the School of Music and presents national and international artists and speakers to provide artistic and cultural experiences for the education and benefit of students, the university and the Commonwealth. The UK Art Museum is Central Kentucky's premier accredited art museum with a collection of more than 4,800 objects. The museum reaches more than 10,000 students and teachers annually throughout Kentucky.

"The College of Fine Arts is a great place to move to after my 30 plus years at Ohio State," Shanda said. "I look forward to helping to further integrate the college into the fabric of the Lexington arts community and celebrate joining the remarkable faculty and staff at UK. Hours of conversation lay ahead as I get to know my new colleagues and friends as we dream big and work together to advance the arts. I can’t wait!

“The most impressive thing about joining UK is becoming part of the palpable sense of momentum for forward progress, excellence in research, and increased community engagement shared by the leadership of the university. I am honored to join such an outstanding team and celebrate the opportunity to lead the College of Fine Arts in the years ahead.”   

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue