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Douglas Dempster, acting interim dean of the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin since fall 2006 and senior associate dean of the college since 2001, has been appointed dean of the college.
Dempster, who holds the Marie and Joseph D. Jamail Senior Regents Professorship and the Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Fine Arts as a professor in the college’s Department of Theatre and Dance, was named after a national search.
“The fine and performing arts programs at The University of Texas at Austin are among the leading programs nationally, both in scholarly disciplines and in the original creative work and performances of our faculty and students,” Dempster said. “The University of Texas at Austin is a superb example of the vital role universities now play as the central patrons of the arts for communities across the country. I’m entirely honored to serve as dean of the College of Fine Arts.”
William Powers Jr., president of the university, said, “I am excited about the appointment of Doug Dempster as dean of the College of Fine Arts because of the dynamic and energetic leadership he brings to the college. Doug has a keen understanding of the value and importance of the arts on our campus and their vital connection to our local community and the larger society. His unparalleled and broad-ranging knowledge of the arts enables him to bring an exciting new vision to the College of Fine Arts.”
"Doug Dempster is a vigorous and effective advocate for the College of Fine Arts and will lead the college to the next level of excellence,” said Steven Leslie, executive vice president and provost of the university. “He has extensive experience in fund raising and academic development both at The University of Texas at Austin and, previously, at the Eastman School of Music. We are delighted he has agreed to become the next dean of the college."
Prior to joining the university, Dempster held a faculty position for 18 years at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester. He held appointments in the Departments of Humanities, Philosophy, Music Theory and Musicology, and was Humanities Department chair and associate director and dean of academic affairs. Well known nationally for curricular reform in professional arts schools, he was founding director of the Eastman School’s Arts Leadership Program.
As senior associate dean of the College of Fine Arts since 2001, he was chief academic and operational officer of the college, which is composed of three academic units, Art and Art History, the School of Music, and Theatre and Dance, as well as the Blanton Museum of Art and the Performing Arts Center.
With research specialties in aesthetics, the philosophy of music theory, cultural policy studies and the philosophy of language, Dempster teaches and is widely published in a diverse range of fields. He earned his doctor’s and master’s degree in philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and wrote his dissertation on the semantics of representation and realism in the visual arts. As an undergraduate, he studied philosophical aesthetics and political science at St. Lawrence (N.Y.) University.