Academic Affairs Newsletter

Fall 2013 - Spring 2014

Dear Faculty,

Welcome back! With the start of each academic year, I have the opportunity to speak with new students and welcome them to the college. I invite them into the CCA community, explain our academic expectations and studio culture, and implore them to make the most of their time here.

Most importantly, I tell these eager students about the CCA faculty -- the 550 instructors, artists, designers, architects, curators, writers, and scholars who make up this impressive body. I make sure the students know their instructors are their greatest resource as mentors, role models, and eventually peers.

I tell them to take advantage of you all while they can! And in turn, I invite you to take full advantage of us. The faculty and staff who make up the leadership team in Academic Affairs are here to provide you with support, mentorship, resources, and camaraderie as you continue to hone your pedagogy and pursue your professional and creative goals.

Below are a few academic updates. I look forward to working with all of you this year.

Please take a moment to review and bookmark the Academic Affairs section of the CCA website; the pages are continually updated and contain a plethora of vital information.

Administrative Searches & Appointments

The associate provost search is being relaunched this fall with a more focused job description and a faculty commitment to expanding the applicant pool through better networking.

As an interim solution, Julian Carter, associate professor of Critical Studies, is assuming a one-year position as special assistant to the Provost for faculty development and academic assessment.

Similarly, Deborah Valoma, chair of Textiles, is serving as special assistant to the Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and studio assessment.

Deborah and Ian bring years of leadership and fresh ideas to these roles; I am excited to partner with them both and move a number of projects forward this year.

With Sanjit Sethi’s departure for the Santa Fe Art Institute, we will begin the search for a new director of the Center for Art and Public Life. The strength of Center programming and its place at the college and in the community leave CCA well positioned for this search.

For this year, Shalini Agrawal, faculty in the First Year Program and an architect with a community-based practice, will serve as interim director.

This year also brings two changes at the divisional level:

Juvenal Acosta, associate professor of Writing and Literature, will serve as the new director of Humanities and Sciences

David Gissen, associate professor of Architecture, steps into the role of interim director
while we conduct a search for a new director of Architecture.

Finally, we welcome changes in the leadership of eight of our academic programs:



Curriculum & Programs

This year brings the successful launch of two new MFA programs in Comics and Film.

As we continue to look for ways to expand our academic offerings while strengthening our mission, fulfilling our vision, and reaching new markets, we will recraft two other MFA programs for fall 2014 -- Design and Writing -- and explore new MBA programs in Design for Public Policy and Strategic Foresight.

This year I will also continue to work with faculty and administrative leadership on ways in which the college can expand our offerings in the area of post-professional nondegree programming and increase opportunities for hybrid and online learning.

With a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation, the largest ever awarded a college of art and design, CCA will grow its Science in the Studio program to include new mobile science units and a multischool symposium on the interrelated roles of science and creative practices.

Faculty Searches

As part of our ongoing effort to increase CCA’s ranked faculty, this year we will search for four tenure-track faculty positions in Animation, Industrial Design, and Sculpture as well as one in a Humanities and Sciences program.

We will also undertake a small number of ranked, nontenure faculty searches across the divisions.

New Tenured Faculty

Congratulations to associate professor Andrew Kudless (Architecture) and associate professor Allison Smith (Sculpture and Fine Arts), who were this past year awarded tenure.

Kudless and Smith are outstanding members of the CCA community as well as their respective professional communities. (Stay tuned for an announcement about their tenure presentations later this year.)

New Tenure-Track Hires

Makeda Best

Assistant professor, Visual Studies

Makeda Best is a photography historian, and her current research focuses on nineteenth century works. She is working on a book based on her dissertation and research on the Civil War-era photographer Alexander Gardner.

She received her BA from Barnard College, BFA and MFA in studio photography from the California Institute of the Arts, and MA and PhD from Harvard University in the fields of American art and the history of photography.

She has worked previously as an assistant curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and has received numerous fellowships.

Prior to joining the Visual Studies faculty at CCA, she was as an assistant professor of art history at the University of Vermont.

Neeraj Bhatia

Assistant professor, Architecture

Neeraj Bhatia is an architect and urban designer from Toronto. His work resides at the intersection of politics, infrastructure, and urbanism. He is a codirector of InfraNet Lab, a nonprofit research collective probing the spatial byproducts of contemporary resource logistics.

He is also the founder of The Open Workshop, a design office examining the project of plurality.

Bhatia has worked for a number of architecture offices and has taught at five major universities including Cornell and Rice. His award-winning research has been widely published, and he has received Graham Foundation grants and a Shell Center for Sustainability grant.

Bhatia received his master’s degree in architecture and urban design from MIT, where he was studying on a Fulbright Fellowship. Prior to that he attended the University of Waterloo, where he obtained a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Architecture.

He is an NCARB-registered licensed architect.

Haakon Faste

Assistant professor, Interaction Design

Haakon Faste joined CCA from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was on the faculty of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute for three years.

A former leader of IDEO’s Software Experiences design practice, he has led design strategy, implementation, technology innovation, and IP strategy on creative projects for some of the world’s most innovative corporations, including Toyota, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Intel, and Cisco Systems.

He holds a PhD in perceptual robotics from the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy, and a BA in physics and studio art from Oberlin College. His scholarship focuses on socially responsible innovation, design education, and computer-assisted collaborative creativity.

Faste is the founding director of the Rolf A. Faste Foundation for Design Creativity, and has also been active in technology design in the cultural arena, having led interactive media projects with clients such as Rolling Stone, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and

In 2008 he was co-recipient of the XXV Oscar Signorini Prize in Robotic Art, Fondazione D'Ars, Milan.

New Ranked Nontenure & Visiting Faculty

This year we welcome a number of new faculty members into ranked positions across the college:

  • Assistant professors Adam Marcus and Brian Price in Architecture

  • Associate professors Steve Diller (MBA in Design Strategy); Barbara Holmes (Furniture); and Robert Hunt (Illustration)

In addition, James Brown, Dan Sukiennik, and Anthony Wong join the Animation Program as visiting faculty.

Charlotte Cotton (Photography) and Dario Robleto (Sculpture) join the Fine Arts faculty in the spring as visiting artists.

And Chris Teggiari joins the Center for Art and Public Life as the second scholar in residence, with teaching appointments in Fine Arts and Design.

I know I join you all in great anticipation of what will undoubtedly be a productive and exciting year at CCA.

Dr. Melanie Corn

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Previous Academic Affairs Newsletters

Fall 2012-Spring 2013
Fall 2010–Spring 2011
Fall 2009–Spring 2010
Spring 2009
Fall 2008