Professor of Music
Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean, College of Fine Arts
Mary Ellen Poole, Ph.D., is the Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean of the College of Fine Arts (CFA). She also holds a faculty appointment as professor of music. She joined Carnegie Mellon University and CFA on August 1, 2021.
Dr. Poole is a musicologist who most recently served as the director of the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, a post she held since June 2014. She also served as a faculty member in the Florence Thelma Hall Centennial Chair in Music and professor of musicology.
Under Dr. Poole’s leadership, the Butler School of Music attracted world-renowned faculty; expanded its donor base and funded facility updates; and led and facilitated community conversations promoting and diversity, equity and inclusion. Throughout her career, she consistently advocated for increased performance opportunities for student ensembles.
Prior to her post at Butler, Dr. Poole served as the dean of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for a decade. There, she increased enrollment, recruited exceptional faculty and supervised construction of an $80 million facility in the city’s arts district. As a musicologist, her research has focused on fin-de-siècle Paris: cabaret chansons and chansonniers, music as political propaganda during the Radical Republic and the ideology of teaching music to the working class.
Dr. Poole was selected as the 13th dean of CFA in summer 2021 by a cross-sectional committee of CFA faculty, staff and students.
“I can’t wait to immerse myself in the current work and future potential of the art makers at Carnegie Mellon,” said Poole. “One in 10 CMU students call CFA home, and that to me signifies critical density. Artists are and can be the connective tissue in every conversation about making this world a more humane, just and sustainable place. It will be a privilege to shine a bright light on their leadership.”