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DePauw University Appoints Inaugural Dean of the Creative School

DePauw University is pleased to announce the appointment of Marcus Hayes as the Inaugural Dean of its new Creative School, which will launch in fall 2024. Dean Hayes’s appointment is effective July 17, 2023 when he assumes leadership of DePauw’s ongoing preparation for the opening of the Creative School. Hayes comes to DePauw from Austin Peay State University where he founded a now thriving dance program, serves as a professor and chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance and prior to that served as associate dean and later, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

Marcus Hayes, Creative School Dean

“I am so pleased that Marcus Hayes is joining our team. His broad vision, focus on people and passion for interdisciplinary projects will benefit DePauw immensely as we prepare to launch the Creative School,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Dave Berque. 

Hayes, who will also hold faculty appointments in both music and theatre at DePauw, has an exceptional academic background that includes serving on the Board of Directors for the American College Dance Association, serving as president of the Tennessee Association of Dance, completing an invited Dramaturgy for Dance Residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada, and authoring the textbook, “Introduction to Dance: Understanding Dance as an Art Form.”

Dean Hayes has interdisciplinary professional and research interests that range from local to global. He completed a year-long collaboration with the Frist Art Museum in Nashville and he also conducted ethnographic research related to West African influences on Latin American folk dances in Colombia, Argentina, and Uruguay. Dean Hayes sees dance as a catalyst for artistic collaboration. “Dance is interdisciplinary in its very nature because it so often involves music, visual arts, and creative writing, history, kinesiology, and physics. My personal experience as a collaborative artist will serve as a blueprint for building the exciting opportunities within the Creative School.” 

In alignment with DePauw’s ranking by U.S. News & World Report as the 16th most innovative university in the country, Hayes looks forward to positioning the Creative School to attract and graduate the most innovative thinkers – using a wide range of creative tools (e.g., art, music, film, creative writing, theatre, design, technology) - and to working with faculty colleagues to develop new ways of helping students across the University integrate creativity into their curricular and co-curricular experiences. 

Under Hayes’s leadership, The Creative School will also be an important place for artists, writers, musicians and actors to hone their crafts and enhance their understanding of, and appreciation for, the arts as an important medium for interdisciplinary storytelling about the human condition in various forms.  

“I think students will be excited to find many interesting connections between the disciplines housed in the Creative School and to see how their studies in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as the School of Business and Leadership, are related and interdependent,” Hayes said. “I want students to engage in a wide range of opportunities to ignite creativity, imagination and creative problem solving – especially as we enter the age of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and extended reality. Also, I hope they will consider the concepts of aesthetics, composition, criticism, design fundamentals and creative research that informs contemporary art making.”

DePauw President Lori S. White said, “Dean Hayes is an outstanding fit as the inaugural dean of the new Creative School as we continue our Bold & Gold 2027 Strategic Plan and launch the three-school model. I look forward to Dean Hayes joining the DePauw community and leading the exciting launch of the Creative School.”

Hayes said, “I am excited to work with my new colleagues to create a shared vision for the Creative School that will help propel DePauw University into a future that is unique, bold and innovative.”

Hayes received his undergraduate degree in dance and history from Beloit College and his Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from Mills College.

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