Larry Schou has been the dean of USD’s College of Fine Arts for 12 years, but after his retirement this month, a new dean is set to take his place.
The position has been filled by the new interim dean, Bruce Kelley, who was informed of the decision last Wednesday.
Kelley said he is honored and humbled by this opportunity.
“Together, we will build on the tradition of excellence that has already been established,” Kelley said. “Art changes lives, and it is exciting to be a part of the amazing work that our faculty and students do each and every day.”
Kelley, the Assistant Provost and a professor in the Department of Music, is also the founding director of USD’s Center for Teaching and Learning. He also helps oversee the Gallagher Center for Experiential Learning & Education Abroad, as well as the USD Testing Center.
Kelley said drastic changes won’t happen the College of Fine Arts in these next few months. One of the issues about receiving a position late in the academic year is resources such as people and funding have already been allocated, he said.
“I want to meet with the faculty and students to better understand what they are excited about, and what concerns they have,” Kelley said. “Then we can, together, begin to build our vision for the future of fine arts at USD.”
One of his longterm goals, Kelley said, is to combine the arts with an emphasis on entrepreneurship, creative technologies and the health fields. Kelley said 55% of individuals working as fine artists, art directors and animators are self-employed, compared to 10% of the workforce as a whole.
“To graduate from our programs, students have to combine creativity, discipline, and the ability to work with others in competitive environments,” Kelley said. “This makes them uniquely suited to thrive in the 21st century economy.”
Kelley’s first day as the official dean will be on March 1. He said he has received a lot of help from Larry Schou, the outgoing dean and Monica Tiahrt, the Fine Arts Program Assistant and the Fine Arts chairs from art, music and theater to prepare.
“The key to success is preparation, and there are many folks that I have been able to turn to through this process,” Kelley said.
With his team around him, Kelley said he envisions a successful future for the College of Fine Arts.
“My goal is sustained excellence in every area we represent. I see from the work of the students and faculty in the College of Fine Arts that this is their goal as well,” Kelley said. “The future is bright for Fine Arts at USD.”