U. of Utah College of Fine Arts welcomes two new leaders

June 04 2018

The University of Utah College of Fine Arts is pleased to welcome two new members to its leadership team on July 1, 2018. Melonie B. Murray, Associate Professor in the School of Dance, will be joining the Dean’s Cabinet as the new Associate Dean for Faculty & Academic Affairs, a position vacated by Sarah Projansky, who after five years of service, is returning to the faculty in the Department of Film & Media Arts. Joining from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is Harris Smith, who will be taking over for Gage Williams as the new chair of the Department of Theatre.  

“This is an exciting time in the college’s momentous history, and we’re thrilled to welcome these two most qualified and talented administrators to our leadership ranks,” said Dean John W. Scheib. “Their histories and expertise will bring new perspectives, new energy, and new skills to our already incredible team.” 

Murray previously has been serving the School of Dance as the ballet program coordinator and director of graduate studies, and she implemented the new (and the nation’s only) Master of Fine Arts in Ballet at the U. Prior to her arrival at the U, she was the dance program director at Colorado Mesa University and has worked extensively in curricular development. 

“I am honored to serve our vibrant, innovative College of Fine Arts community in this capacity,” Murray said. “I look forward to working closely with Dean Scheib and his team to further the mission of the CFA.” 

Smith is coming from the University of University Nebraska-Lincoln, as the director for the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. He is the former head of the Professional Actor Training Program there, and his research and creative work focus on psycho-physical character development for the actor and choreographing violence for stage and film. 

“I’m enthusiastic about joining the Department of Theatre at the University of Utah” Smith said. “As an alum of the PAC 12, I’m excited to return to this excellent conference. I look forward to building upon the excellence of the department and commitment of the faculty toward its students.  It is my hope to deepen our relationships with communities in the Greater Salt Lake area and the state of Utah, as we continue to grow our national and international impact.”   

For more information on the College of Fine Arts, visit finearts.utah.edu.