Dean Search for the School of Dramatic Arts

From the Office of the Provost

Search for the New Dean of the School of Dramatic Arts


To:USC School of Dramatic Arts Community
From:Charles F. Zukoski
 Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Date:August 6, 2020
Subject:Search for the New Dean of the School of Dramatic Arts

I am pleased to write to you today to let you know about the appointment of an advisory search committee to identify and recruit exceptional candidates for the next dean of the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Elizabeth Graddy, Executive Vice Provost, and Haven Lin-Kirk, Dean of the USC Roski School of Art and Design, will co-chair the committee. The complete roster follows this memo.

We are extremely proud of the school, which inspires, trains, and supports the performers and writers, designers and sound designers, stage managers, and directors of the future. The school provides innovative artistic training and cultivates a nurturing environment, prioritizing its unique commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Training and support at SDA include its prolific production program, partnerships with professional companies, including those that capitalize on our L.A. location, mentoring, career counseling, and other modes of support, and access to extraordinary guest speakers and lecturers, including some of the most illustrious dramatic talents.

Because the appointment of SDA’s next dean is such an important step for the school and for our university community at large, we will move swiftly and systematically to locate and recruit the best candidates. To aid our search, we have also assembled a special group of advisors who will be consulted by me throughout the process. I thank in advance the following friends of SDA for their guidance: Joshua Grode, CEO at Legendary Entertainment; Rik Reppe, writer/performer and advisory partner/customer experience leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers; Lori Furie, Executive Vice President, Visual Effects at Sony Pictures Entertainment; Michael Felix, Senior Vice President, retired, Capital Group Companies, and USC Trustee; and Katelyn Lee, Chair, Committee on Academic Affairs, Undergraduate Student Government. We have engaged executive search firm ILM Partners to assist us; Neil Fink is our primary consultant from the firm.

As the search committee moves forward, we will follow the same procedures that have been observed in other dean searches. There will be no votes by any group or constituency and no final vote will be taken within the advisory search committee. All nominations will come before the advisory search committee without filtering. Those who are asked to interview the final candidates will be invited to send their comments regarding the strengths and possible weaknesses of the final candidates to me directly and confidentially. Finally, President Folt makes the final decision on the new dean.

We will follow up soon with additional information about how you can provide your nominations and input, and we will keep you informed of progress. You can also follow updates at our dean search website,

Thank you for your support of the School of Dramatic Arts.

Office of the PresidentAcademic Senate
 Academic DeansStaff Assembly
 President’s Senior Leadership TeamGSG President
 Provost’s Leadership TeamUSG President

About the USC School of Dramatic Arts

Located in Los Angeles, a city synonymous with artistic innovation and excellence, the top-ranked USC School of Dramatic Arts is a leader in dramatic arts education. The School uniquely blends artistic training in a conservatory environment with outstanding faculty and the full academic experience found only within a major research university, and bridges the classical foundations of the dramatic arts with all of its contemporary and future expressions. A close-knit, supportive environment offers students the freedom to explore their artistic passions. Through programs of the highest caliber, as well as initiatives that provide access to professional experience, students are prepared for leadership in every facet of dramatic arts.

The School’s active production program (more than 20 shows annually) utilizes four theatre facilities. The School encourages students to gain professional experience and academic credit through internships and has created partnerships with many professional companies. The recently established Career Center offers students and recent alumni a full suite of services including mentoring, coaching services for auditions and the production of self-tapes, career counseling, guidance and support for headshots, seminars with leading industry professionals, and audition opportunities.

The School also attracts a wide range of guest speakers and lecturers, including some of the most distinguished talents from stage, screen and television. Our graduate programs in Acting and Dramatic Writing are both intensive, three-year programs taught by a faculty comprised of theatre professionals working at the highest level of the industry. The location of the campus, in the center of the entertainment industry, makes the School of Dramatic Arts distinctive among colleges and universities in the United States.

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News & Updates

Updates from the Office of the Provost regarding the search for the New Dean of the School of Dramatic Arts.