Wendy Arons(opens in new window), professor of dramatic literature in the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama(opens in new window), has been appointed the new director of the Center for the Arts in Society(opens in new window) (CAS) for a four-year renewable term. Arons will start at the end of this academic year.
Mary Ellen Poole(opens in new window), Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean of the College of Fine Arts(opens in new window), and Richard Scheines(opens in new window), Bess Family Dean of the Dietrich College for Humanities and Social Sciences(opens in new window), announced the appointment this week.
"Wendy will take over the leadership role of CAS from School of Art Professor Jim Duesing(opens in new window), who is to be commended for his excellent service to CAS since 2014," Scheines said.
Poole concurred. "Richard and I are thrilled to have Wendy assume this crucial role, and we can't wait to see where she'll take the CAS. We are confident that she will build upon the foundational work Jim has done, and put her own stamp on it."
Arons has lent her time and talents to the CAS in various ways since 2008, shortly after she came to CMU. She was the project leader from 2008-2011 for the Performance and Ecology Project(opens in new window); served as the co-facilitator (with Kristina Straub) of the Performance Initiative(opens in new window) from 2014-2017; and has been a member of the Advisory Board since 2017. She will remain a member of the School of Drama faculty and continue to teach dramaturgy classes.
Looking forward, one of her first tasks with the CAS will be to meet with arts and humanities faculty to determine the theme for the next CAS initiative, identifying its coordinators and working with them to put out a call for project proposals so that funding for the next cycle of projects can be put in place by mid-2023.
"The CAS is currently in the middle of its Borderlines initiative(opens in new window), coordinated by the School of Architecture's Mary-Lou Arscott(opens in new window) and Nico Slate(opens in new window) in the Department of History," Arons said. "I will also continue to shepherd and support the projects that are under way in that initiative, and help Mary-Lou and Nico plan a capstone event for that."
She said she is looking forward to building upon what Duesing has accomplished during his time at the helm of CAS and credits his support and guidance — not only to the CAS itself, but also to its team members.
"Jim has exemplified service leadership in his work as director of CAS," she said. "He has been the kind of leader who puts in place structures of support and guidance so that others can thrive and produce excellent work. I plan to continue to work in the same vein and with the same intentions. What the Center offers to faculty is not merely monetary support, but also valuable nonmaterial support, through mentorship and networking. My goal is to build on those support structures and continue to expand them."