July 29, 2005 — Raymond Tymas-Jones has been named dean of the University of Utah College of Fine Arts and the U’s new associate vice president for the arts, effective Sept. 1. He succeeds Phyllis A. Haskell who served as dean for eight years and as the first associate vice president for the arts, a post she assumed in 1999.
In this new position Tymas-Jones, currently dean of the College of Fine Arts and a professor of music at Ohio University (OU), will oversee the academic departments of art and art history, ballet, modern dance, theatre, the school of music, the division of film studies and an interdisciplinary arts technology program. He will also be responsible for on-campus arts organizations, including Pioneer Theatre Company, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and Kingsbury Hall.
In his current OU deanship and as a professor of music there, Tymas-Jones has provided leadership for the artistic and cultural environment of the university. At OU he was instrumental in establishing the “Arts for All” initiative, a curricular program to help all OU students create lifelong patterns of involvement with the arts. He also led the establishment of The Aesthetics Technologies Laboratory, an interdisciplinary arts and technology research center with a focus on collaborative ventures. Over his career, he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in applied voice, diction for singers and performance literature for voice. He also performed solos as a tenor and conducted a variety of choral ensembles. From 1993 until 1998, prior to joining OU, Tymas-Jones was director of the School of Music at the University of Northern Iowa.
“Professor Tymas-Jones brings a wealth of experience to the University, and we are delighted that he will be joining us,” notes University of Utah President Michael K. Young. “His commitment to providing a distinctive educational arts experience for all students, regardless of disciplinary interests, will serve the University well.”
Tymas-Jones, who will join the Department of Music as a professor, plans to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations and expand the use of technologies that explore new modes of creativity and understanding of the roles of the arts in society. “We are looking for artists interested in working with non-artists, scholars and scientists; to find connections and merge disparate types of research,” he says.
“We are confident that with his strong academic record and inclusive leadership style, Raymond Tymas-Jones will continue to create culturally diverse, forward-thinking environments that enhance traditional and emerging arts disciplines at the University,” says David W. Pershing, University of Utah senior vice president for academic affairs. “We are extremely pleased to have been able to attract a sitting dean to fill this important position.”
Tymas-Jones is impressed with the reputation of the University’s nationally and internationally renowned arts programs; the work being produced by students and faculty; the U’s progressive arts facilities, including Gardner Hall and the new Arts Technology Wing; and the integral support of the U’s administration.
“The arts reflect the spirit and the soul as well as the intellect, those aspects of the creation that need to be safeguarded, need to be nurtured,” explains Tymas-Jones. “Often times in higher education we shy away from concepts that deal with the human existence or condition, ethical awareness, aesthetics, spirituality, wellness and wholeness. It is the arts that afford us opportunities to experience our humanity in ways that are provocative, therapeutic and even satisfying. I am pleased that the University of Utah requires all of its students to have the arts experience-and hopefully they will understand that the arts are more than activities you participate in during free time, but, instead, are essential for a well informed, civilized and contributing society. There’s no way around it.”