Finalists for CCFA dean announced


Three candidates for the next dean of the College of Communications and Fine Arts will be interviewed starting Monday, Feb. 23.

The search committee, led by Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, interviewed seven semi-finalists over Skype last week then invited the candidates to campus.

"These were the four that rose to the top," Pehrsson said. "They were well-prepared, they were professional, they were very knowledgeable about CMU, they understood the College of Communication and Fine Arts and it was pretty clear these were the strongest candidates."

Pehrsson said she is excited to hear what the university community thinks of the candidates. The candidates will hold forums in Chamichian Hall in the Music Building.

"I encourage as many people to attend as possible because to be able to interact with a potential dean of a really great college is very important," Pehrsson said. 

The forums will allow people to ask informative questions and see how the candidates respond. The week after the interviews, the search committee will review all information, including feedback from individuals who attend the forums, then make a recommendation to Provost Michael Gealt.

Pehrsson said the committee is looking for someone who can help build the college's strengths and has many different skills. She said she always looks for someone who cares about the community and student learning.

"I think we've got three really good candidates who have had a strong history of being able to advocate for faculty and students," Pehrsson said. 

The three finalists are Steven Block, Department of Music chair at the University of New Mexico, Janet Hethorn, director of the Delaware Design Institute at the University of Delaware and Shelly Hinck, interim dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at CMU. 

Steven Block

Block became the chair of the Department of Music at the UNM in 1999. He has a PhD in Composition and Theory from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to his candidacy, he was the Composition-Theory chair from 1991 until 1999 according to his curriculum vitae. 

Block will visit campus Monday and Tuesday. His forum will take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Janet Hethorn

Hethorn became the director of the Delaware Design Institute in 2009. She was also the chair of the Department of Art at the University of Delaware from 2008 until 2013. She has a PhD in design with supporting areas in studio arts and art history from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.

Hethorn will visit campus on Wednesday and Thursday with an forum held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Shelly Hinck

Hinck became the interim dean of CCFA at CMU on August 1, 2014 after the resignation of Salma Ghanem. Before her candidacy, she was the associate dean of CCFA starting in 2010 after arriving at CMU in 1988. She has a PhD from the University of Kansas.

Hinck will be interviewed Thursday and Friday and will have an forum 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday.