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Dean-less in College of Arts, Communication and Design

By Shannon Miller

Managing & News Editor

The former Dean of the College of Arts, Communication and Design (CACD), Steven Breese, was appointed to a dean’s position at a different school, leaving some LIU students without a permanent dean for the start of the 2019 fall semester.

Post welcomed Breese to the dean’s position back in August, 2017, after 25 years of leadership in the field. Just two years later, the actor, director and playwright accepted a new offer to serve as the artistic director of the Pittsburgh Playhouse and dean of the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. Breese fully intended to stay at LIU for a while, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but the dual position was too much to pass up. Ed Weis, Vice President of Academic Affairs, will assume the duties of the position until a new dean is found.

Following Breese’s departure, the chairs and a few faculty members of the CACD school voted unanimously to appoint theatre and film professor, Jon Fraser, as the department’s interim dean; however, the university opted against it. “I was associate dean; I was acting dean; I was senior associate dean, but I was in the dean’s office for 12 years, which is why my name came up. I had already done the job for many years,” Fraser said.

Professor of Communications and Film, Dr. Barbara Fowles, attended the meeting and voted in support of Fraser. “We chose Jon partly because he was very willing to take on the job, and no one else was eager to do so, since the administration is so difficult to work with,” Fowles said.

It remains uncertain why the university turned down the department’s recommendation. No further explanation was given, according to Fraser’s knowledge. The school’s determination comes amidst many changes and additions to the CACD school, including the recently introduced bachelor of science in communications program. “We are now in a situation where even minor paperwork must be funneled through academic VP Weis, who is vastly over-extended making for a difficult work process,” Fowles said.

Weis seemed inclined to accept the department’s vote, and asked them for a letter in support of Fraser, according to Fowles. “The decision to not hire Jon – or anyone – was made by those above Ed Weis, and I assume it as a money-saving measure,” she said. “It certainly is not a helpful decision.” A letter was written promptly and primarily by Cara Gargano, the chair for the department of theatre, dance and management, and then given to Weis. When The Pioneer asked Weis for clarification on why the school declined to have Fraser step in, he said, “The University cannot comment on personnel matters.”

An ad was posted to LIU’s website on August 29 for a position titled “Dean, Visual Arts & Design.” Another ad was posted to on approximately Sunday, Sept. 1, under the same title. As of Thursday, Sept. 17, two weeks into the start of the fall semester, both ads have yet to be removed.

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