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Through new faculty hires, the College of the Arts seeks to define the role of the arts in higher ed, society

Published: November 13, 2018 8:30 am

Through a unique hiring process, UF’s College of the Arts recently called on college faculty and staff to develop a unified vision for the hiring of 19 new faculty members.

The charge, or “meta-narrative,” seeks to expand the role of the arts as agents of change in a variety of fields and social contexts. It states the college’s position in exploring the complexity of the evolving human experience and empowering students and faculty to fearlessly shape that experience through critical study, creative practice and provocation.

“The meta-narrative is a statement, but it is also a process that we are engaging among ourselves,” said Onye Ozuzu, dean of the College of the Arts. “That process is refining our own sense of clarity about who we are calling for and why.”

The 19 positions, 15 of which are newly created, are being posted throughout the fall 2018 semester and span many disciplines in the School of Art + Art HistorySchool of MusicSchool of Theatre + DanceCenter for Arts in Medicine and Digital Worlds Institute. Each position contains the same call:

“We seek a colleague who identifies as a change-maker. We seek a colleague who will prepare students to access and unsettle centers of power in a radically changing world. We seek a colleague who will position emerging artists and researchers as catalysts for equity on local and global levels.”

Through a uniquely democratic and comprehensive process, the College of the Arts’ current 120 faculty and 30 staff members collaborated to develop the meta-narrative. A committee of school directors, deans and faculty members submitted ideas for the language, which appears at the top of every job description.

“We see the future of the arts as one where art and artists function in collaboration with other agents of dynamic, unprecedented change to the platform for life,” Ozuzu said. “Those agents range from our own paradigm-shifting technologies to changes in environment, in politics, in media and in the migratory patterns of the human family.”

The proposed language was consolidated and posted to an internal discussion board for all college faculty and staff to provide feedback on. From the discussion board, a writing committee crafted the final meta-narrative that appears with each job position.

“This process provides an opportunity for the entire college to redefine the meaning of our work, focusing as much on what the work an artist does — and can do — in the world as the works we create,” said Anthony Kolenic, assistant dean for Research, Technology and Administrative Affairs.

The 19 positions will each have their own search committee and an additional consultant from outside the discipline of appointment. This consultant — named the provocateur — will evaluate the candidate’s aptitude related to the meta-narrative and ensure the committee’s discussions include the college’s most ambitious overarching goals.

“The inclusion of a provocateur expands the hiring process to be about more than possessing the highest level of expertise in a particular discipline,” said Barbara Mitola, director of Human Resources for the College of the Arts. “The provocateur helps facilitate discussions around the values inherent in the meta-narrative during the search process.”

Of the positions, 15 will be new to the college, creating more opportunities for students and more potential for programs. The positions are only a portion of UF’s two-year initiative to hire 500 new faculty positions by 2019. The College of the Arts has already hired 11 in the first year of the initiative.

“We are putting out a call for artists, educators and scholars who see themselves, their work and our students as meant to shape how humans engage with what is next,” said Ozuzu. “We are putting out a call for colleagues who will help shape what we next need to be.”

The positions include:

  • Lecturer in Arts in Medicine – Service Learning, Teaching and Research
  • Program Director and Professor of the Center for Arts, Migration and Entrepreneurship
  • Lecturer in Contemporary Art Making
  • Assistant Professor in Digital Arts & Science with an interdisciplinary specialization in Science/Engineering
  • Lecturer in Digital Arts & Sciences
  • Assistant/Associate Professor in Museum Studies
  • Assistant Professor in Graphic Design
  • Assistant Professor in African Art History
  • Lecturer in Studio Art
  • Assistant Professor in Low Brass
  • Assistant Professor in Music Business
  • Assistant Professor in Music Education
  • Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology
  • Assistant Professor in Music Composition
  • Assistant Professor in Theatre
  • Assistant Professor in Theatre Studies
  • Assistant Professor in Performance Somatics
  • Assistant Professor in Dance Studies
  • School of Theatre and Dance Director and Professor

Interested candidates can apply at arts.ufl.edu/jobs.

Story by Brandon McKinley of the College of the Arts

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