Dean, University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts

California, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Nov 16, 2020
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

The University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts (USC SDA) seeks a dynamic, inspiring, collaborative and progressive Dean who is passionate about the performing arts and the power of theatrical storytelling, to expand upon USC SDA’s mission of preparing and empowering a diverse generation of artists, actors, writers, creators, industry professionals and entrepreneurs.  

The Dean will assume the role during a time of great change, both nationally and internationally, will encourage and facilitate foundational education across multiple artistic and distribution platforms, support creative and intellectual risk-taking and champion the creation of transformative work by students and faculty. This Dean, a community builder and civic leader, will be committed to upholding the highest standards of ethics, inclusiveness, integrity, governance and professionalism. This leader is a believer in activating the power, potential and responsibility of the arts to make an impact for the social good on civil society by promoting artistic excellence and innovation.  This Dean will have a committed role in the SDA’s investment in the Los Angeles theatre and arts community, and beyond. 

The Dean is an advocate for a broad range of theatrical storytelling across many platforms and will be energized by USC’s commitment to the arts and SDA’s mission, history, students, faculty and cooperative possibilities.  The Dean will bring insights and abilities to fully leverage the interdisciplinary opportunities of USC’s 6 other arts school and its position within a major research university.  

USC SDA seeks to build a more diverse and inclusive communities in academia and in the creative fields their students join. The location of the campus, literally in the center of the entertainment industry and in one of the country’s most diverse cities, makes the School of Dramatic Arts distinctive among colleges and universities in the United States. 


Top-ranked USC School of Dramatic Arts is positioned to be 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. The School bridges the classical foundations of the dramatic arts with its contemporary and future expressions. 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. 

Alumni have been honored with the most prestigious awards in the profession, including the Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe. Students leave the school prepared to work, whether it is on stage, backstage, on film or television, or in other forms of media.  

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 aided by the Career Center that 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 attracts a wide range of guest speakers and lecturers, including some of the most distinguished talents from stage, screen and television such as Bryan Cranston, Kate Burton, Tony Kushner and Mark Hamill.  

The School offers prestigious and highly competitive BFA programs in Acting for Stage Screen and New Media; Musical Theatre; Stage Management; Sound Design; Design; and Technical Direction. Additionally, a BA in Dramatic Arts offers flexibility for students who wish to double major or major in the School and minor elsewhere on campus.  SDA’s 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 School of Dramatic Arts currently has 625 students, enrolled in BFA, BA, MFA and Minor programs. Taught by a community of renowned and accomplished faculty committed to student success, SDA has trained artists, creators and makers who have been in the vanguard of cultural and entrepreneurial life.   

 SDA students and faculty distinctively benefit from being part of USC, one of the United States’ great research universities, one of the 7 USC art schools, and benefit from the interdisciplinary opportunities that come with being part of USC.  

 Historically, the School has trained many successful artists and professionals among whom are Forest Whitaker, John Ritter, Kyra Sedgewick, Anthony Edwards, Tate Donovan, Levar Burton, Grant Heslov (Oscar winner for producing Argo), Danny Strong (writer of Recount, Game Change, Empire and Lee Daniels’ The Butler, et. al.) and Peter Levine (Senior Partner at Creative Artists Agency). Our more recent alums are playing leads in various successful television series: Deborah Ann Woll, Patrick Adams, Troian Bellesario, Ryan Eggold, McKinley Belcher III and Beck Bennett; or recently in Broadway plays/musicals: Stark Sands, Charl Brown, James Snyder and Kevin Mambo. Additionally, writers such as Madhuri Shekar and Kirsa Rein are seeing their work on the regional stage and on television. 


The University of Southern California was founded in 1880 and currently enrolls over 46,000 students.  USC is one of a select number of universities the United States depends upon for a steady stream of new knowledge, art and technology. USC’s commitment to the arts, humanities and the community has a long history.  The commitment to research has broad social impact, including operating an integrated academic medical center that serves a million patients a year.  USC has an endowment of $5.7 billion and receives annually close to $900 million in sponsored research.  

USC is comprised of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and 20 graduate and professional schools. The University is known for its contribution to the arts, communication, media and public policy through its world-renowned, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, School of Architecture, School of Cinematic Arts, School of Dramatic Arts, Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, Roski School of Art and Design, Thornton School of Music and Sol Price School of Public Policy.  It is also known for the quality of its highly ranked professional programs in other schools, including the Marshall School of Business, Viterbi School of Engineering, Gould School of Law, Keck School of Medicine, Rossier School of Education and Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.   

Los Angeles is one of the most internationally diverse cities in the country, and the University of Southern California has enrolled more international students over the past 15 years than any other university in the United States.  USC plays an important role in making the creative capital, Los Angeles, a great center for the arts. The USC Fisher Museum of Art offers exhibitions ranging from contemporary works to antiquities, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts presents a variety of film screenings and other programs. The USC Thornton School of Music is the city's most active producer of live music performances and the USC School of Dramatic Arts produces a full schedule of performances. USC's Doheny Memorial Library hosts a rich array of lectures, readings, concerts and special exhibits, and the Gamble House in Pasadena serves as an outstanding example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture. In accordance with USC’s reciprocal approach of taking advantage of its location and contributing to the vitality of the creative community in Los Angeles, the University has created the USC International Artist Fellowship Program as the arts equivalent to The Rhodes Scholarship.  The program offers graduate fellowships to young artists from the Pacific Rim, South Asia and Latin America for study in USC’s world-famous arts schools in Architecture, Arts and Design, Cinematic Arts, Dance, Dramatic Arts and Music.  The program reflects the shift in the world’s focus on the Pacific Rim and strengthens USC’s ties to the global arts community by creating a new international artist community in Los Angeles.

To Apply or for Additional Information Contact:

Ina Miller    (415) 315 3770  

Neil Fink




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