Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Parsons Fine Arts "Reconfiguration"

Message to the AMT Community (sent via email 4/27/09)

From Sven Travis, Dean, School of Art, Media, and Technology

As we move more fully into the five school structure across Parsons, I
want to keep you updated on plans for administrative structure within
the School of Art, Media, and Technology. AMT is the biggest school of
Parsons’ five and this will clearly be a work in progress over the next
couple of years. Throughout this process I am committed to open and
regular communication; it is important that all faculty have a clear
understanding of the academic environment they are a part of.

Let me start by describing several structural changes being implemented
across Parsons as part of the shift to the five schools. First,
“departments” are being replaced by degree “programs” as the primary
academic unit. This will occur at different times for different
departments. Administrative roles held by faculty are also undergoing
change; since departments are being phased out, so is the position of
department chair. This shift is commensurate with successful models that
have been fostered within several other Parsons schools. Program
directors will have primary administrative oversight; they will report
to the school dean. A related shift involves all full-time faculty
including those not holding administrative charges: they will no longer
reside within a given department or program; their appointment will be
to the School of Art, Media, and Technology.

Today I want to describe how these changes will affect two areas: CDT
(Communication Design and Technology) and Fine Arts.

First, the CDT “department” will be reconfigured as four programs: AAS
in Graphic Design—Katarzyna Gruda, Director; BFA in Communication
Design-- Jane Pirone, Director; BFA in Design and Technology-- Jess
Irish, Director, and MFA in Design and Technology-- Anezka Sebek,
Director. These programs will continue to operate academically exactly
as they have. The directors will report to me, as dean of the school.
The directors who are currently serving have all agreed to continue in
these roles for the 2009-2010 academic year.

A similar structural shift will occur in Fine Arts. The Fine Arts “department” will be reconfigured as two programs: BFA in Fine Arts--Mary Judge, Director and MFA in Fine Arts, Anthony Aziz, Director. These programs will continue to operate academically exactly as they have. The directors will report to me, as dean of the school. Many of you are aware that Anthony Aziz has been awarded a sabbatical for Fall 09 (congratulations are due-- he will be participating in an international residency at the C-Collection’s Berlin-based studio preparing for an upcoming museum exhibition and publication). I am pleased to announce that Simone Douglas, senior full-time faculty in AMT, has agreed to serve as MFA Fine Arts Director for the 2009-2010 academic year, in Anthony’s stead. In the BFA program, Mary Judge has ably served as interim director this spring and we are grateful to her for willingness to step into this role at the last minute. Discussions are ongoing with Mary about the possibility of her continuing in the role. I will inform the AMT community as soon as we finalize the BFA Directorship.

Coco Fusco will shift her role next year to become Director of AMT’s Intermedia Initiatives. Coco will maintain her appointment as AMT faculty, and will continue to teach in Fine Arts. Building on her considerable research skills, global perspective and strong vision, she will work directly with me to evaluate, develop and propose new curricular models for us to consider implementing within the AMT School in the years ahead. As part of this new role, Coco will expand the existing Fine Arts lecture series into a cross-disciplinary series for all of AMT in 2009-2010 and will continue her efforts to create interdisciplinary opportunities for students in AMT. I have also charged her with investigating best practices in “cross-disciplinary” programs across the United States aI will provide further details when I have them.
Good faith efforts will be made to keep all those effected by changes informed and involved in the process before formal public announcements are issued. I understand that any planned shifts in roles, focus or work require effective engagement and communication. What I can tell you now is that the structural changes I am describing here are real, and will happen.

You know where to find me if you want to discuss any of this.

Sincerely, Sven

Sven Travis
Dean, School of Art, Media, and Technology
Parsons The New School for Design

School of Art, Media and Technology
Parsons The New School For Design

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