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College of the Arts Dean Joe Arnold shares a humorous moment with theater and dance majors this spring while listening to actors discuss their craft. Photo by Kelly Lacefield

Cal State Fullerton Names New Dean for College of the Arts

University Veteran Joseph Arnold Appointed

July 21, 2009

By Pamela McLaren

Joseph Arnold. Photo by Kelly Lacefield.

Joseph H. Arnold Jr., veteran professor of theatre and dance who has been serving as associate dean of Cal State Fullerton’s College of the Arts, is the newly named dean of the college.

The appointment by CSUF President Milton A. Gordon was effective July 17 and concluded a national search.

“Dr. Arnold is exceedingly well-prepared to lead our nationally recognized College of the Arts and to continue the college’s stellar history of serving as the teaching laboratory for the region’s brightest minds and talented students in the visual and performing arts,” said President Gordon. “Dr. Arnold brings over 35 years of academic and administrative experience and leadership at California State University, Fullerton, including serving 11 years as associate dean of the College of the Arts, two consecutive terms as chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, and six years as vice chair of Theatre and Dance. He also brings many years of active involvement with campus faculty governance.

“In all of these roles, Dr. Arnold’s colleagues have found him to have a collegial, consultative style of leadership, an extensive knowledge of the workings of the university, and a wide network of strong professional relationships with faculty members, staff and administrators, as well as with professionals in the arts profession nationally,” added Gordon. “Dr. Arnold is well-prepared to move the College of the Arts forward in the years ahead.”

The Placentia resident succeeds Jerry Samuelson, who has retired after serving 34 years in the post.

“Dr. Arnold has a comprehensive background with substantial experience and knowledge to provide the academic and administrative leadership going forward for the College of the Arts,” said Ephraim P. Smith, vice president for academic affairs. “We are pleased that Dr. Arnold, who is well-respected across the university and is known for being the ‘voice of reason and calm,’ is our new dean of the College of the Arts. He will be an asset to the college and to our Council of Deans.”

Arnold joined the Theatre and Dance Department faculty in 1973 and served as vice chair of the department from 1979 to 1985 before becoming department chair for six years. During his tenure as vice chair and chair, Arnold was engaged in curriculum and policy development, budget oversight, strategic planning, and accreditation and assessment for the largest department of its kind in the California State University system and one of the largest programs in the country.

“It is an honor to serve a College of the Arts that is one of the most vibrant and exciting in the country,” said Arnold. “Although I know we are facing one of the most challenging times in the history of the California State University, I look forward to working closely with our faculty and staff to meet our goal of providing the finest education in the arts that we can.

“I have been deeply touched by the kind words and support I have received from colleagues within our College and across the university. It is inspiring to be surrounded by so many dedicated and talented people.”

In 1995, Arnold was named director of the university’s Institute for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. During his two years in the position, he conducted workshops on assessment and served on planning committees, task forces and campus teams attending regional and national conferences on the subject.

In spring 1997, Arnold was named associate dean of the College of the Arts. In addition to his administrative duties in the college, Arnold continued to direct plays or teach a course each semester. Among the productions that he directed on campus was “The Manager” by Darin Shaugnessy and “Grasmere” by Cal State Fullerton alumna Kristina A. Leach (B.A. theatre arts ’00). Both productions were selected for performance at the regional American College Theatre Festival and the national Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C. “Grasmere” later made its professional debut at the Egyptian Arena Theatre in Hollywood and off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York.

In 2001, Arnold accompanied a group of 15 master of fine arts candidates during a two-week visit to Russia, where they participated in the Russian Theatre Discovery Project, attending workshops with Russian theater professionals, performing American drama in Moscow and St. Petersberg, and introducing Russian students to American authors and theater traditions.

“We are blessed with excellent students in our college,” Arnold noted. “I look forward to providing the finest programs that we can, enhancing the national reputation of the College, forging new partnerships with the industry and external constituencies, and building on our excellent past efforts in fundraising for our programs.”

Arnold co-founded the California State University Council of Theatre Administrators in 1991, co-founded the Collaborative Theatre Project with Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Edward Albee in 1988 as part of the CSU Summer Arts Program. He also was coordinator of Cal State Fullerton’s guest artist residency, bringing Tony Award-wining director Jose Quintero to campus for the spring semesters from 1983 to 1987.

Arnold has been the recipient of several California Arts Council grants and was honored as the 1993 Distinguished Professor of the College of the Arts on campus. He has served for 18 years on the Academic Senate and is active on numerous committees. In addition, he was involved in fundraising at the university level as a member of the University Advancement Committee and was a part of the team that raised funds for the Clayes Performing Arts Center.

Professionally, Arnold has worked extensively in Southern California theater as an actor, director and writer. He has co-authored five plays that have been performed on campus and professionally, including “H.L. Mencken: American Curmudgeon,” which received a Hollywood Drama-Logue Award. He has edited two books by Jose Quintero and written numerous papers on theater. Among his professional associations, Arnold served on several board of directors, including for the Gascon Theatre in Culver City, the Placentia-Yorba Linda Educational Foundation and the Jose Quintero Foundation for the Performing Arts.

The Placentia resident earned his doctorate and master's degree in speech communication from the University of Illinois.

Cal State Fullerton’s College the Arts comprises the departments of Art, Music and Theatre and Dance, which serve about 2,300 students in graduate and undergraduate programs. The college’s Wind and Jazz ensembles, Orchestra and University Singers have toured, by invitation, throughout the world. Prominent alumni include opera stars Rodney Gilfry and Deborah Voigt, baritone Jubilant Sykes, “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry, muralist Emigdio Vasquez, and “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King” creator Linda Woolverton.

Rick D. Pullen, dean of the College of Communications, chaired the 10-member search committee.

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