Alford Promoted to Assistant Dean for the School of the Arts


It would be difficult to identify a name more synonymous with VCUarts than Holly Alford’s.

An alumna with a Master of Fine Arts in Costume Design, Alford has given back to the School of the Arts and the university for 25 years, serving in a variety of roles from associate professor and Faculty Senate President to VCUarts Director of Inclusion and Equity.

Now she is adding another to the list: assistant dean. 

Associate Professor Alford’s promotion took effect at the beginning of February. As assistant dean, Alford now oversees the academic operations and activities for two VCUarts groups: Design and Performing Arts. Alford maintains the title of Director of Inclusion and Equity. 

“Many of us are balancing several roles, but I have learned that prioritization, organization and planning help to get the work done,” Alford said, noting that taking on more responsibility over the years is her way of giving back to the school that supported her. 

“As a graduate student, I had an amazing faculty in theater that valued my talent and did whatever it took to support me,” she said, adding that she felt that same level of support as she began teaching at VCUarts and grew into administration.  

“I wanted our students, and now the administrators, staff, and faculty – in the Design and Performing Arts groups – to have the same experiences here at VCUarts that I had. As a diverse institution that values inclusion and equity, I want to continue to make sure that the institution remains committed to ensuring that our students, faculty and staff are valued and feel safe and that our students have the ability to be provided an amazing educational experience,” Alford said. 

Those who collaborate with Alford celebrate her thoughtful approach to problem-solving. 

“Holly exemplifies what makes VCU’s School of the Arts so special,” said VCUarts Dean Carmenita Higginbotham, Ph.D. “ She brings an incredible compassion and commitment to everything that she does and is an invaluable force in moving the school forward. I could not be more excited to have Holly in this new role.”