Carnegie Mellon University
June 04, 2021

Poole Named 13th Dean of CMU's College of Fine Arts

Shilpa Bakre
  • Marketing and Communications
  • 512-705-1228
Pam Wigley
  • College of Fine Arts
  • 412-268-1047

Mary Ellen Poole has been named Carnegie Mellon University's Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean of the College of Fine Arts. As CFA's 13th dean, she also will hold a faculty appointment as a professor of music. Poole begins her new role Aug. 1.

Poole, a well-regarded musicologist, currently serves 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 has held since June 2014. She also holds a faculty position as the Florence Thelma Hall Centennial Chair in Music and professor of musicology. Prior to this role, she served as dean for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for 10 years.

Under Poole's leadership, the Butler School of Music recruited more than a dozen world-renowned faculty; expanded the school's donor base and significantly increased giving; and developed community conversations promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.

"In addition to her extensive research in musicology, Dr. Poole brings with her an unwavering dedication to student success, inclusive teaching and learning practices," said Carnegie Mellon Provost Jim Garrett. "She combines this passion for the arts and for education with a strong record of executive leadership; engagement with alumni, partners and stakeholders; and advocacy for diversity and inclusion."

Watch the announcement of Mary Ellen Poole as the new dean of CFA.

"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 calls 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."

Poole succeeds Dan Martin, who is stepping down following more than 11 years as dean. After ensuring a smooth transition, Martin will continue his service to CMU as a faculty member.

"We are grateful to Dean Martin for his ongoing leadership as we searched for his successor," Garrett said. "His dedication has served to highlight and celebrate the impactful work of the remarkably diverse and high-ranking programs housed within the College of Fine Arts, increasing its visibility and reputation."

Garrett also thanked the CMU search committee, led by University Professors Cindy Limauro and Vivian Loftness, for their work. "The committee went to extraordinary lengths to identify and select CFA's new dean — despite challenges faced while conducting a search during a pandemic."

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