Mendini Takes Center Stage as Dean for Performing & Visual Arts

Published: March 03, 2011 | Category: Arts

Southern Utah University is excited to officially announce Shauna Mendini as the new dean for the College of Performing and Visual Arts (PVA). Mendini has accepted this appointment after serving as interim dean of PVA since April of 2010.

As dean, Mendini will serve as the college’s top administrator, reporting directly to the provost.

Her purview includes the departments of art and design, music, and theatre arts and dance; the arts administration graduate program; the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery; Acclamation and the SUU Ballroom Dance Company; and the college’s collaborative efforts with the Utah Shakespeare Festival. All of the College’s marketing, public relations and fundraising is coordinated through the Dean’s Office as well.

Considering Mendini’s 18-year history with PVA at SUU, the College is quite obviously in very capable hands.

Mendini first came to SUU as a faculty member within the theatre arts and dance program. Since, she has served as department chair of that same program, then as interim dean of PVA and now as dean. She has also served as site evaluator for the National Association of Schools of Dance.

Throughout, according to SUU Provost Brad Cook, Mendini has “earned the respect of her colleagues and upper administration.”

He continues, “Shauna is an inspired and capable leader, and we look forward to the positive strides PVA will make under Dean Mendini’s direction.”

At the outset, the new dean aims to continue pushing the planned Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) project forward and to facilitate partnerships between the college and the professional arts community to enhance the student experience.

According to Cook, such objectives are on track with the University’s “Academic Roadmap: 2010-2013,” which very much focuses on an experiential education that gives students hands-on experience in their field of choice.

Of Mendini’s qualifications, Cook cites the progress she has already inspired within the college as interim dean.

“In the short 11 months since Dean Mendini assumed interim leadership, she has created a new museum studies minor and has really taken the lead in conceptualizing SUMA as a student-managed and operated endeavor. That SUMA will be accredited as a professional arts museum and yet student managed is unique nationally and will certainly set SUMA and SUU apart as leaders in fine arts education.”

It is this ability to incite progress paired with “her historical context of the college and University” that made Mendini stand out in a very competitive applicant pool, according to Cook.

He adds, “She really is the right person at the right time for the College of Performing and Visual Arts.”

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