Chair, Department of Theatre

University of Utah

Starting Date: July 1, 2024

The College of Fine Arts at The University of Utah invites nominations and applications for the position of Chair of the Department of Theatre. The anticipated start date is July 1, 2024. Reporting to the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, the Chair is the administrative head of the Department, overseeing its personnel, operations, production season, academic affairs, and strategic direction, while acting as the Department’s representative and advocate within the College, University, and wider community.

The Department of Theatre seeks a leader who is committed to our research mission, academic freedom, viewpoint diversity, open inquiry, and removing barriers that individuals from underrepresented groups have traditionally encountered. We aspire to recruit faculty who bring diverse perspectives, and strive to support their academic, professional, and personal success. The University of Utah recognizes that a diverse faculty benefits and enriches the educational experiences of the entire campus and greater community. The new Chair of the Department of Theatre will support ongoing creative and scholarly research that engages inclusive, identity-conscious, anti-racist casting and production, alongside culturally responsive theatre practices that address race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and religion.

The nationally acclaimed Department of Theatre houses professional BFA programs in Actor Training, Musical Theatre, Performing Arts Design, Stage Management, and Theatre Teaching as well as a liberal arts BA program in Theatre Studies. Students studying in the program include over 200 majors drawn from across the United States. Department personnel consist of 21 full-time faculty members, approximately 30 part-time faculty members, and 9 staff members. An instructional faculty of artists and scholars provides academic training, engaged learning, and creative exploration for students working toward professional careers or advanced graduate studies in Theatre.

The Chair of the Department of Theatre oversees and facilitates the production of a six-show season in two performance spaces: the Babcock Theatre, a 125-seat end-view theatre, and Studio 115, a 115-seat thrust space. Beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year, the department will also produce shows in the new Meldrum Theatre at the Einar Nielsen Field House. This state-of-the-art 375-seat thrust stage includes a covered orchestra pit and facilitates multiple staging configurations.

The department is housed in the Price Theatre Arts Building (PTAB), a recently renovated space that offers multiple acting studios, a digital design studio, lighting and sound labs, a costume construction lab, a prop lab, faculty office suites, and meeting rooms. PTAB is ideally located next to the Pioneer Theatre Company (PTC), the resident on-campus theatre company. PTC is afully professional company operating under a LORT B agreement with AEA, SDC, and USA829. PTC offers professional opportunities to students and faculty annually.

The University of Utah’s Department of Theatre has been a pioneer in Youth Theatre and Child Drama. One of the first universities in the nation to offer a course in children’s theatre, we remain one of the few theatre departments in higher education to house an award-winning Youth Theatre program that supports the teaching, research, and community-engaged priorities of the department and College of Fine Arts.


  • Terminal degree (MFA and/or PhD) in theatre or a related field.
  • A record of creative or scholarly achievement commensurate with a faculty appointment at the rank of a tenured Associate Professor or Professor, including a body of work that represents a significant contribution to the field; demonstrated excellence in post-secondary teaching; and evidence of an active, ongoing program of creative or scholarly research.
  • Significant leadership, administrative, and supervisory experience, including strategic and financial planning, curricular innovation, and recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and students.
  • Evidence of a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, with demonstrated ability to lead effective change in diverse groups.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • A demonstrated commitment to both liberal arts education and professional theatre training, and the skills to articulate a clear vision of how the two can complement and enhance each other in a Research 1 University.

The Chair of the Department of Theatre will

  1. Provide strong, collaborative, dynamic and transparent leadership to faculty, staff, and students, including leading departmental strategic planning.
  2. Foster and promote diversity in recruitment, training, productions, and program development.
  3. Serve as the public face of the department, building meaningful relationships with theatre patrons, supporters, donors, and alumni.
  4. Act as a representative and advocate in all official business with the college and university and the professional theatre community.
  5. Administer department finances, resources, and facilities.
  6. Oversee all department personnel, annual review processes, and encourage and support professional development initiatives, including retention and rank advancement.
  7. Serve as the producer of departmental theatre productions, including overseeing the season selection and supporting all elements of the production season.
  8. Oversee academic affairs, including curricular activities and the promotion of student success through supporting recruitment and retention efforts.
  9. Engage actively in donor relations, fundraising, and community engagement.
  10. Market theatre programs both within the university and to the larger community, advancing the reputation of the Department of Theatre nationally and internationally.
  11. Work closely with Pioneer Theatre Company leadership to facilitate communication and collaboration in various areas, including internship programming and Meldrum Theatre scheduling.
  12. Serve as an active and collaborative member of the Executive Committee of the College in furthering the goals and mission of the College of Fine Arts.

APPLICATION: Please submit (1) a letter of application that addresses the specifics of the position and the candidate’s leadership and administrative philosophy; (2) a CV that demonstrates the candidate fulfills the qualifications for the position; and (3) the names and contact information for five references. The candidate will be notified before references are contacted. Applications must be submitted electronically at Screening of applications will begin November 15, 2023, and continue until the position is filled. For additional information, please contact Dr. Melonie B. Murray, Chair of Search Committee,

The University of Utah is the state’s public flagship institution of higher education with an enrollment of approximately 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offers 111 undergraduate and over 100 graduate degree programs. A member of the American Association of Universities (AAU), the University of Utah is classified by the Carnegie Foundation among the 146 research universities with the “highest research activity” in the nation. The university has been named by Forbes as one of the top ten employers in the state and recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best national universities. The University of Utah has several campus-wide initiatives that contribute to a rich campus climate, attract academic and professional talent, improve access to higher education for historically underrepresented groups, and strengthen the U’s ability to educate the next generation of leaders.

The University is located in Salt Lake City, the center of a metropolitan area with a population of approximately 1.26 million residents. The city is known for extensive arts and cultural activities, boasts a new major international airport, and has received international recognition for its light rail system, foodie culture, downtown renewal, and increasing diversity. Hosting a vibrant arts community, Salt Lake City is home to thriving long-standing performing arts entities including Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah Symphony, Utah Opera, Ballet West, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, and Sundance Film Festival, among others. Located at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City offers unparalleled opportunities for outdoor recreation, with ten world-class ski resorts and five national parks within hours of the city. Salt Lake City is home to a robust array of diverse communities facilitating numerous opportunities for interaction with a range of civic and political organizations, given the city’s role as the governmental and social nerve center of the state. In 2023, U.S News and World Report ranked Utah as the best state in the U.S.A. and Salt Lake City as one of the top 100 best place to live in the nation. Salt Lake City currently holds a 100/100 rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for its inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community.

The University of Utah is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate based upon race, national origin, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, status as a person with a disability, genetic information, or Protected Veteran status. Individuals from historically underrepresented groups, such as minorities, women, qualified persons with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply. Veterans’ preference is extended to qualified applicants, upon request and consistent with University policy and Utah state law. Upon request, reasonable accommodations in the application process will be provided to individuals with disabilities. To inquire about the University’s nondiscrimination or affirmative action policies or to request disability accommodation, please contact: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 201 S. Presidents Circle, Rm 135, (801) 581-8365.

The University of Utah values candidates who have experience working in settings with students from diverse backgrounds, and possess a strong commitment to improving access to higher education for historically underrepresented students.

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