SUU Appoints Dean Shauna Mendini to Serve as Interim Provost

Published: May 31, 2024 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Shauna MendiniSouthern Utah University is pleased to announce the appointment of Dean Shauna Mendini as the Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Dean Mendini, who was preparing to retire after a distinguished academic career, has graciously agreed to step into this vital position as the current Provost, Jon Anderson, prepares for his new role as President of PennWest. Mendini will begin this appointment on July 1, 2024 while the University conducts a national search for a permanent Provost.

Mendini has been a cornerstone of the SUU community for 30 years, serving as the Dean of College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) for the past 14 years. Under her leadership, CPVA has nearly doubled the number of students enrolled in its majors, added 16 new programs, including three master's degrees, and has roughly 80% of alumni working as professional artists or educators in the performing or visual arts after graduation. Along with these accomplishments, Mendini has been instrumental in the expansion of several building projects for the arts including spearheading the design and creation of the Southern Utah Museum of Art, Bristlecone Hall and SUU’s latest project, the new Music Center.

“Dean Mendini is an outstanding leader and invaluable member of our University,” said SUU President Mindy Benson. “We are fortunate to have someone with her experience and dedication to step into the role of Interim Provost. She is SUU’s longest serving Dean and has a deep understanding of SUU’s academic programming and institutional priorities. I’m appreciative that she’s postponed her retirement to help the institution during this transitional time.”

Dean Mendini expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to serve in this interim capacity. "I am honored to assist the University during this pivotal time," said Mendini. "While I was looking forward to retirement, the opportunity to support our campus community and ensure a smooth transition is a responsibility I am delighted to undertake."

Along with her many accomplishments, Mendini was most recently selected to receive the Board of Trustees Award of Excellence. The award recognizes the outstanding achievements of one faculty and one staff member per year with a particular emphasis in teaching, scholarship, administration, innovation, and public service. As the Dean, her mission has been to help students realize their creative potential by providing a personalized and rigorous learning environment, fostering experiential education and contributing to the cultural enrichment of a global society. During her tenure, CPVA also received national recognition and accreditation for art and design, dance, music, and theatre making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four distinct associations. CPVA also offers more online arts programs than any other state institution.

Mendini came to what was then Southern Utah State College (SUSC) in the summer of 1986 for performances as a featured dancer in Burch Mann’s American Folk Ballet (AFB); she had no idea that one day she’d be the University’s dean of performing and visual arts. She joined the full-time faculty in 1993, after years of working with the AFB, went on to lead the newly named Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, and in 2010 became CPVA Dean, guiding the College through its years of greatest growth.

A national search will begin soon to find SUU’s next Provost with the aim of attracting candidates who will continue to build off of the strong foundation currently in place and explore new opportunities and innovative academic offerings.

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Nikki Koontz