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Organizational Changes

September 22, 2014

In response to the tremendous growth of several of the College’s academic programs and as part of our efforts to support interdisciplinary collaborations and research, we are making a number of changes in our organizational structure and announcing a number of new leadership appointments. The Digital Media programs, previously housed in the Department of Cinema & Television, have seen explosive growth in enrollment and funded research efforts while garnering top national rankings and media coverage. The impressive full-time faculty has grown to thirteen gamers, animators and interactive digital media designers and artists. 239 students are enrolled in three undergraduate and Master’s programs, and a PhD Program, which will be the College’s first, is now in development. Program Director Michael Wagner has provided tremendous leadership over the past two years and we are pleased to announce the creation of the new Department of Digital Media and the appointment of Dr. Wagner as Interim Department Head. Michael will oversee; Nick Juschyshyn, who is appointed Program Director of Animation & Visual Effects; Troy Finamore, who has been named the Program Director of Interactive Digital Media, and Jeremy Fernsler who has been appointed Associate Program Director of Game Art & Production. Dr. Wagner will also serve as the Game Art & Production and Graduate Digital Media Program Directors.

We are merging our excellent programs in Graphic Design and Photography into a new Department of Design, which also includes our top Fashion Design, Design & Merchandising (D&M) and Product Design programs. Roberta Gruber, who has ably served as the Department Head of Fashion, Design & Merchandising, and Product Design will serve as the Design Department’s Head. Catherine Byers, who has been so instrumental in the success of our annual Fashion Shows and award-winning D&M Magazine, has been appointed D&M’s Program Director, replacing the long-serving Anne Cecil. Many thanks to Anne for her tireless efforts. D&M, under her leadership, achieved top ten national rankings and launched such innovative initiatives as the D&M Shop, our virtual and pop-up retail enterprise; numerous community engagement projects; and new study abroad and international initiatives.

Rena Cumby is the new Department Head of Architecture & Interiors, taking over for Jon Coddington who returns to the faculty. Under Jon’s leadership, the Department made outstanding new hires, launched new minors, embraced new technologies, and increased its community engagements. Rachel Schade, who has been serving as Interim Architecture Program Director, has formally taken on the Program Director position. Elsewhere, our Emmy Award-winning Jim Klein will return for a second stint as Program Director of Music Industry, and Michelle Manghise has been appointed Associate Program Director to assist Jim with the Program’s Business concentration. Matt Kaufhold has been appointed Screenwriting & Playwriting’s Interim Program Director taking over for Ian Abrams, who created the program and has been instrumental in the Westphal in Los Angeles program. Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness will serve as Associate Program Director of Product Design and will work closely Program Director Michael Glaser.