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.

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