The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Meadows dean candidate meets students, faculty

Sharon Vasquez, one of the three Meadows dean candidate finalists, finished up her two-day visit to the Hilltop by meeting separately with students and faculty.

In her opening statements to both groups, Vasquez outlined what she could bring to the Meadows School of the Arts before initiating dialogue.

“I see a school already with a great reputation going to the next level, and I find that very intriguing,” she said.

Vasquez said a school in Meadows’ position makes it to the next level by asking the right questions, maintaining a multidirectional flow of communication and acting with imagination.

Offhand, Vasquez said her top three priorities for Meadows’ would be: student support through scholarships and other means, faculty support by adding more endowed chair positions to the budget and beginning a marketing campaign to increase the school’s reputation.

When asked to share her thoughts on Meadows’ weaknesses, Vasquez prefaced her answer by saying, “I’m not here to give a program assessment, I’m here to interview for a job.”

But, assess she did.

Vasquez said she sees pockets of excellence in Meadows but no application across the board, adding that its technology is not where she had expected it to be in a school at SMU.

As for its strengths, Vasquez said she sees a strong relationship between the faculty and students, a quality of the school she believes upholds its strong reputation.

Both groups asked for her thoughts on faculty tenure.

Careful hiring is the first part of process, she said. Clear guidelines for tenure and accountability, she emphasized, must be in place to have a strong system.

About 40 students, representing an equal percentage from performing arts and communication arts backgrounds, were present.

While Vasquez spent much of her with the students explaining the role of a dean, faculty dove into more personal questions at a later presentation in O’Donnell Auditorium.

A couple minutes after Vasquez opened the floor for dialogue, one faculty member said Vasquez’s corporate metaphors sounded empty. From this point forward, faculties’ questions took a more personal turn to better understand the candidate.

When asked to share one of her proudest moments as an artist, Vasquez lowered her guard and showed emotion. She told her experience with a former, now deceased student, who showed perseverance and immense courage under her guidance until the end.

“I got into this not to be a dean, but because I love teaching and being in a learning environment,” she said.

Vasquez is dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University.

She has a master’s in fine arts and a bachelor’s in fine arts from Florida State University.

She worked at the University of Texas at Austin as the director then chairperson of the theatre and dance department from 1984-2000. In 2000, she moved to State University of New York at Rockport, where she became dean of the School of Arts and Performances. In 2004, she took her current position at Wayne State.

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