Welcome to the 2016-17 academic year!

Dear Members of the VCUarts Community,
Welcome to the 2016-17 academic year! I hope that classes are going well for each of you. As the Interim Dean for the School of the Arts, I am excited to welcome you returnees and the new students, faculty and staff who have joined us. I am thrilled by the talent, energy and creativity that you bring to the school and I know that you all will contribute to the vitality of VCUarts and the excellence that we strive to maintain.
As we begin our national search for a new dean, this is a period of transition for our community.  But, this should not be viewed as merely an intermission between acts.  Rather, we are continuing to build upon our story as we move seamlessly into the next scene. Just as the students of VCUarts dedicate themselves to their work and practice toward becoming world-class performing and visual artists, designers, scholars, educators, merchandisers, and entrepreneurs who will change the world, VCUarts administrators are dedicated to the school’s core values and mission: that of educating our students and reinforcing the infrastructure that will allow us to provide the best academic programs and opportunities to make our students successful in today’s world.
We are committed to making the School of the Arts a place where all members of our community are embraced and respected. This year, that effort will be focused at the Depot – with a reboot of the facility as a place for interdisciplinary engagement and cultural studies. Depot 2.0, in this way, is both a site for activities, events, and courses and a concept of revised intent that is aimed at involving students from across the School of the Arts and beyond. Students, if you have ideas for an ARTS course (or courses) you’d like to see piloted, please be in touch with your department chairperson. All faculty members who are interested in proposing a course should remember that priority will be given to interdisciplinary courses that incorporate student input.  
We make our community strong when we work together and we push the boundaries of what is known and understood, when we explore beyond the parameters of our respective disciplines and when we consider how the “answers” differ depending on who is answering. It is my hope that this initiative will further enliven the dialogue at VCUarts.
In addition to and in support of Depot 2.0, I recently announced the Inclusion Infusion Initiative, to encourage the creation of opportunities that will foster thoughtful engagement and deepen understanding around subjects and issues of broadly defined diversity and inclusion. This initiative is backed by an allocation of $100,000 to support a number of approved proposals from departments and from faculty.
As President Rao mentioned in his August 25 letter, VCU is on the brink of launching its largest fundraising effort in the University’s history. This is an opportunity for VCUarts to further support improved academic programs, increased scholarships and study abroad opportunities, research grants, and upgraded facilities and equipment. Essentially, funds raised as part of this campaign will allow us to invigorate our core mission with the resources needed to sustain our success and to do it in ever-evolving and new ways.
We are charged with providing our students with a world-class experience, to continue to advance VCUarts as a frontrunner in arts and design. Our goal is EXCELLENCE. I hope that each of you will roll up your sleeves and join me in this exciting endeavor. I look forward to our working together this year to the ongoing and increasing success of VCUarts.
James Frazier, Ed.D., M.F.A. (Professor)
Interim Dean, School of the Arts
Special Assistant to the Provost for VCUarts in Qatar
Virginia Commonwealth University


Interim Dean
James Frazier, Ed.D., M.F.A.


James’ Bio

James Frazier, Ed.D., M.F.A. is the interim dean for the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of the Arts, and the special assistant to the provost at the VCU School of the Arts in Qatar. He is a tenured professor and a former chair of the Department of Dance and Choreography.Frazier serves as a visiting evaluator for the dance accrediting body – the National Association of Schools of Dance, and he held the elected offices of president and secretary of the Council of Dance Administrators. He also serves as co-chair of the Diversity Task Force of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, sits on both the board of the celebrated American Dance Festival (where he served as co-dean 2010-13) and that of the American College Dance Association (ACDA). In addition, he maintains an ongoing professional relationship with the highly acclaimed New York-based performance ensemble Urban Bush Women, assisting on special projects.

Frazier’s previous academic appointments include: visiting assistant professor of Dance History, Florida State University; associate artistic director, Dance Institute of Washington (District of Columbia); publicity coordinator for the Urban Bush Women Summer Dance Institute; and adjunct appointments as a dance instructor at Florida A & M University, Florida State University, Temple University and Montgomery College.

As a professional dance artist, Frazier performed and toured with Kokuma Dance Theatre Company, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and was a founding member of Edgeworks Dance Theater. He has worked as a guest or creative collaborator with many others, performing nationally, including engagements at Jacob’s Pillow, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Dance Place, Philadelphia’s Prince Music Theater and The Joyce (SoHo), among others. He is a past recipient of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Choreographic Fellowship, and in 2009 he was commissioned to create a new ballet on the Richmond Ballet Company.

Frazier earned an Ed.D. in Dance at Temple University and both a M.F.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Marketing from Florida State University. In 2006, he was awarded the Alma Hawkins Award for Excellence in Dance Education for emerging leadership in the field by the Council of Dance Administrators.


September 7, 2016