KALAMAZOO—Daniel Guyette, dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts at Western Washington University, has been named dean of Western Michigan University's College of Fine Arts, effective Aug. 15.
Guyette, whose appointment was made pending approval of the WMU Board of Trustees, has a professional theatre background in addition to his career in higher education. He brings 24 years of experience in teaching and administration to the position, including nine years as a dean, overseeing two fine arts colleges. His appointment includes a position as a tenured professor in the Department of Theatre.
Guyette replaces Dr. Margaret Merrion, dean of the college for the past 13 years. She is scheduled to retire at the end of June.
"We're thrilled to have found a new dean who has extensive experience in fine arts education and academic leadership as well as significant professional experience in the arts," says Dr. Timothy Greene, WMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Our College of Fine Arts enjoys a strong national and international reputation, and Dean Merrion is passing the baton at a time when the college is extraordinarily well-positioned for new opportunities for students and further growth in reputation."
As dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts at Western Washington University since 2009, Guyette oversees the departments of art, design, theatre and dance, and music as well as the Western Gallery and the top-10 nationally ranked Outdoor Sculpture Collection. During his tenure in that position, he increased student enrollment by 7.5 ercent and lowered time to degree. He also created a Community Advisory Board and founded the Bellingham Arts Business Accelerator in partnership with the College of Business and Economics.
Before being named dean at Western Washington, Guyette was dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of South Dakota for five years and chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Northern Colorado, where he also was a full professor in the theatre department. Earlier in his career, Guyette served as an assistant professor at both Utah State University and Guilford College.
An award winning designer, Guyette has worked professionally for more than 25 theatre companies and universities. He earned his bachelor's degree in speech from Northwestern University and a master's degree in scenic and lighting design from Pennsylvania State University.
"I am thrilled to be offered this position and to be able to work for an institution with such a reputation for high-quality education,'" Guyette says. "The College of Fine Arts has been known for quality in the arts for many years, and under the leadership of Dean Merrion, it has grown to national stature. Serving as the next dean of the college is a wonderful opportunity."
Guyette is a member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans and was elected a board member of that organization in 2010. In 2012, he created a workshop for new deans through that organization and has been asked to repeat it again this fall. He is also chairing the organization's 50th anniversary event this fall and has served as chair of its Career Development Task Force since 2008.
Guyette also has been active with the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology, serving as the organization's scene design commissioner for six years, as well as with the American College Theatre Festival.