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Search for CFA Dean Set to Begin

High praise offered for ad interim leader


Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Boston University will soon begin a search for a dean for the College of Fine Arts. In a letter sent last Thursday to CFA faculty and staff, University Provost David Campbell said that in the next few weeks he will assemble a search committee and select a professional search firm to help the committee identify potential candidates.

Campbell had high praise for the leadership of CFA Dean ad interim Walt Meissner (CFA’81), noting that Meissner has recruited strong leaders for the college’s three schools, hired outstanding faculty members, generated funding for crucial new facilities, created a vibrant dean’s advisory council and an engaged alumni group, and undertaken important administrative restructuring to enhance the operations of the college.

“All of us at Boston University owe Walt a debt of gratitude,” said Campbell. “We are grateful for his steadfast commitment to CFA’s students, faculty, and staff and for his continuing valuable service to the college.”

President Robert A. Brown also lauded Meissner’s accomplishments. “In his role as ad interim dean, Walt Meissner has done a terrific job moving the College of Fine Arts forward in its educational mission,” he said. “He also has created a vision for, and implemented the first steps toward, the renewal of the facilities for CFA.”

Brown said the time is right to begin an international search for a leader who, working with the directors of the schools of music, theatre, and visual arts, “will take the college to the next level of excellence and prominence.”

Meissner, who has served as CFA dean ad interim since 2002 and was CFA associate dean for administrative affairs from 1993 to 2002, says the announcement of the search was “very good news.”

“I’m proud of what has been accomplished at the College and believe in its bright future,” Meissner says. “I look forward to CFA’s continued growth in artistic excellence and prominence, and remain committed to its success.”

In a message to CFA faculty, Meissner wrote that the goal of the University is to position the College of Fine Arts to continue to leverage and build upon its significant academic and artistic strengths.

Patricia Mitro, a senior assistant dean who has worked with Meissner throughout his tenure, described him as a committed leader.

“It’s wonderful to work with Walt,” said Mitro. “He is devoted to creating an environment where students and faculty can do their very best work.”

Campbell said the search committee would be composed, in accordance with faculty guidelines, of three CFA faculty members elected by the CFA faculty, two faculty members from outside CFA elected by the Faculty Council, as many as three members designated by the provost, and as many as two students designated by the provost.

Once the search committee is in place, said Campbell, members will consult with faculty, staff, and students to develop a candidate profile. He expects the University to appoint a dean by September 2010.

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.


4 Comments on Search for CFA Dean Set to Begin

  • Richard Bunbury on 10.05.2009 at 12:13 pm

    CFA Dean search

    I wholeheartedly agree with the assessment of Walt Meissner. He has certainly earned my respect and devotion, and I daresay of everyone in CFA. He is truly a thoughtful and principled man who bears heavy responsibilities with grace and precision.

    Richard Bunbury
    Music Education

  • Anonymous on 10.06.2009 at 2:46 am

    Is the BU photographer following me?

    Last week I took plenty of pictures along Commonwealth Ave., starting at the CFA, with a special angle (down up), including such a photo as the above, and photos of the bees on the flowers (as the one he published here last week). I wonder if he was following my footsteps and shooting angles…
    The results are impressing anyway :-)

  • kcornuelle on 10.06.2009 at 2:23 pm

    Re: Is the BU photographer following me?

    This photo was shot in 2008, and is a file photo of CFA. Just thought you’d like to know, and it might make you a bit less paranoid! ; )

  • Anonymous on 05.11.2010 at 10:47 am

    The photo is definitely a few years old, as a CFA grad I know that the students sitting to the left of the entrance graduated last year.

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