2010-11 Academic Affairs Newsletter

CCA Provost Mark Breitenberg

Fall 2010 / Spring 2011

Dear friends,

As I begin my second full year at CCA as provost, I am enthusiastic about the ambitious goals we have set for ourselves, as well as our ability to accomplish them. Much of my enthusiasm derives from the fact that our agenda for this year has been generated by many different voices in our community: students, faculty, chairs, directors and administrators. Our commitment to creative collaboration, productive debate and collective action is our greatest strength as an institution.

Once again, the directors, assistant and associate directors, as well as other key leaders in academic affairs, held a two-day off-site retreat early in the summer and a second one in August to assess our work from this past year and to plan for 2010–11. President Stephen Beal also held two retreats for the Senior Cabinet to coordinate individual department goals and strategies with those of the college. Based on these meetings, I’d like to mention some of the key initiatives we’ll be focusing on this year in Academic Affairs.


This year we will undertake a collegewide effort to increase our retention and graduation rates. An improvement of just a few percentage points in our retention rate, particularly between our students’ first and second year, would be a significant boon to our tuition-driven budget. Just as importantly, improved retention represents improvement in student success and satisfaction. Our target over the next five years is to increase first-year retention to 80 percent and maintain overall retention of 87 percent. As part of our collegewide effort to improve retention after the first year, the directors will lead each department in creating their own “bridge plan” that will introduce first-year students to their prospective majors in a variety of ways and create enthusiasm for their future education at CCA. K C Rosenberg and the first-year faculty will also be monitoring and assessing their newly designed curriculum as it unfolds this fall. We will also plan faculty development teaching workshops that will include the unique challenges of teaching and mentoring millennial generation students.


Last spring we launched nine ENGAGE classes in the inaugural year of this new initiative under the leadership of CAPL director Sanjit Sethi. We have always felt that these community-based, project-learning experiences represent the core mission and identity of CCA, and our responses from faculty and students thus far endorse this claim. In the next two years, we would like each program at CCA to have at least one ENGAGE class embedded in their curriculum. We look forward to your involvement in this important collegewide initiative.

The Craft Conference

For the first time this year (April 1-2), the spring Grad lecture series will be rolled up into a single event: the Grad conference, with this year’s focus on the resurgence of craft across the disciplines. Led by Deborah Valoma and Mark Takiguchi, our goal is to build on our historical legacy in the craft disciplines and also demonstrate the renewed interest in the practice and sensibilities of craft in art, design, architecture and writing. With the help of a substantial grant from the Windgate Foundation, our inaugural grad conference promises to be an important event for CCA and influential event beyond our walls.

EcoTAP: Ecology Theory and Practice

It is always exciting for an institution to have new initiatives generate from the faculty. This year, David Heintz is organizing a series of “teach-ins” on sustainability and the environment that will complement our existing studios and classes on this critically important body of knowledge and practice.
View the EcoTAP website

New Searches

As part of our ongoing effort to increase CCA’s ranked faculty, this year we’re hoping to undertake four tenure-track searches as well as five or six ranked, non-tenure searches. Additionally, we will continue the search for a new chair of Industrial Design and launch a new search for the chair of Interior design, to succeed Katherine Lambert, who will continue to lead the program in an interim capacity this year. We thank Katherine for her strong leadership of the program for the past six years.


In spring 2009, President Beal formed the President's Diversity Steering Group. The primary agenda of this group is to oversee the college's fulfillment of the strategic plan's overarching goal of "cultivating diversity." Last year the group made progress by sponsoring high-profile public events in the spring; enumerating specific initiatives in the following areas:

  • diversifying CCA's constituent populations
  • diversifying our curriculum
  • building a campus community that supports the values of diversity
  • launching a web presence for "Diversity@CCA".

This year the group will focus on four areas:

  • student recruitment
  • student retention
  • staff/faculty/student training
  • faculty recruitment and retention

To support this last goal, Academic Affairs is working with the steering group to develop a number of initiatives:

  • creating an AICAD post-MFA teaching fellowship
  • improving outreach to communities of color for faculty searches
  • developing faculty retention strategies.

This year marks the full transition of our former Media Arts Program to the new Film Program. Chair Rob Epstein has led a collective effort among the faculty to redesign the curriculum and create a new identity for the program.
Vew the promo film on the CCA website program page.

In effect, our Film Program will emphasize narrative film with the continued important influence of the experimental work for which the faculty is renowned. We welcome Brook Hinton, former head of the film program at SFAI, as assistant chair. We're also very excited to have filmmaker Cheryl Dunye join the faculty. After many years of outstanding leadership, Barney Haynes will step down as cochair. In addition to teaching across the curriculum, Barney will serve as the technology advisor for the new Interaction Design Program.

Humanities & Sciences

The 2010–11 term will be a year of exploration and innovation in the humanities and sciences division. Director Rachel Schreiber and assistant director Dominick Tracy will lead a task force on the redesign the H&S curriculum and structure in order to deepen the relevance of their curriculum in the studio programs. This year has also been declared “the year of research,” with symposia planned around this critically important aspect of our students’ education. H&S has also organized four courses this year on the theme of “water,” each embedded with a scientist in addition to the regular faculty.

Interaction Design

Fall of 2011 is the launch of CCA’s new undergraduate program in Interaction Design. This new program is a natural for CCA in many ways. We’re located at the center of the industry here in the Bay Area. It is a design practice that has become important in many disciplines. And it incorporates a variety of humanities and sciences fields: ethnography, cognitive psychology, narrative and critical thinking. Our ambition is to create a program that prepares students for a professional career, provides a broad liberal arts and sciences education, and creates a center for interaction design that influences other programs at CCA as well. Kristian Simsarian has been selected to chair the new program. Kristian comes to us from IDEO, where he co-founded the software experience practice. He holds a PhD from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Interior Design

This year the Interior Design Program completes its move from the design division into the Architecture division. Under Director Ila Berman’s leadership, we will devote the year to redesigning the program and conducting a search for the new chair.

New Program Leadership:

Congratulations to Cinthia Wen, who was chosen in an international search to become the chair of Graphic Design. Cinthia has been the interim chair of the program for the past three years, and she will be working with the Graphic Design faculty to implement curricular changes to this already renowned department. Cinthia is also the founder and principal of noon design.

With the doubling of the size of our MBA Design Strategy, we are pleased to welcome two new associate chairs: Teddy Zmrhal, a San Francisco-based social entrepreneur who earned his MBA in Strategy and Organizational Behavior at Columbia and London Business School, and Susan Worthman, MBA from San Francisco State University. Susan also directs CCA’s first foray into executive education going on this summer: the Leading By Design Fellows Program, which launched this year with twenty-five students.

Charlie Sheldon, Industrial Design faculty, will lead the department this year as interim chair as we continue our search for that position. Maria Porges will be the interim chair in Visual and Critical Studies during Tirza Latimer’s sabbatical. Melinda de Jesus will assume the interim chairship of Critical Studies.

Promotions to Rank:

Congratulations to Ian Carter, Linda Geary, David Gissen and Emily McVarish who have been awarded tenure, and to Tammy Rae Carland, our newest full professor!

New Ranked Tenure Track Hires

Josh Faught
Josh Faught joins the Textiles Program from the University of Oregon where he most recently held the rank of assistant professor of fibers. Josh has exhibited widely in the United States. His work not only graces the sleeves of the band Grizzly Bear’s recordings "Horn of Plenty" and "Friend" but also is included in the permanent collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art. In While the Light Lasts, Faught's New York solo debut, Josh employed traditional craft techniques like crochet, loom weaving, ikat, and working with raw fibers. Josh holds a BA from Oberlin College, AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology and earned his MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Christine Metzger
Critical Studies
Christine Metzger joins the Critical Studies Program this fall from Johns Hopkins University, where she recently taught paleobiology for academically gifted 11 to 16-year-old students. Christine has taught in the Environmental Science program at Whittier College and the Geology program at the University of Oregon. Christine holds a BS from Washington and Lee University and an MS from Temple University.

New Ranked, Nontenure Hires

Christopher Falliers
Teaching at the college since 2004, Chris Falliers has taken on the role of chair within the Master of Architecture Program and has been appointed to the rank of assistant professor. Holding a BA from the University of Colorado and a MArch from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chris is also a principal at ULA Design in Berkeley.

David Fletcher
Architecture / Urban Landscape
David Fletcher has taught at CCA since 2008 and is the founding principal of Fletcher Studio; an innovative and award-winning collaborative practice based in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The firm provides comprehensive professional services in landscape architecture, urban design, and environmental planning. An urban designer and landscape architect, professor, and writer, David’s work addresses process, void, symbiosis, alternative transportation networks, green infrastructure, and postindustrial urbanism.

Joshua Cooley
Joshua Cooley began his career with Bay Area-based award-winning Pixar Animation Studios in 2003. He has worked as a story artist on such features as The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, and Up, including writing the latter’s promotional shorts.
Before joining the CCA faculty in spring 2010, Josh taught and lectured at his alma mater, Academy of Art University, the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, and at various art colleges and schools across Japan.

Hans Brekke
A graduate of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and the Academy of Art, Hans Brekke is an animator working at Tippet Studios, where he has animated characters for Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Twilight Saga: New Moon, Cats and Dogs, Bedtime Stories, Drag me to Hell, RedCliff, Cloverfield, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Enchanted. Previous to Tippet, Hans worked at Massive Black, where he created in-game creature animations for Tabula Rasa, and Hellgate: London.

Bret Parker
Holding a BA in English/Performance from Oberlin College and an MFA in Performing Arts from the European Dance Development Center, Bret Parker began working as a production assistant at Pixar Animation Studio in 1996, where she quickly realized how her dance/theater background related to animation. Her first official job as an animator was doing fix animation on A Bug's Life. Almost 13 years later Bret is still working at Pixar and has animated on almost every film.

Brett Schulz
Brett Schulz graduated with a BFA from the Academy of Art College in 2003. While in school he interned as an animator at award-winning Marin-based LucasArts, where he was hired full time following graduation. He later joined award-winning Pixar Animation Studios and has animated on such feature films as Cars, Ratatouille, WALL•E, Up, and most recently, Toy Story 3.

Doug Sheppeck
Doug Sheppeck is a character animator who has worked on most of Pixar's films, including Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, and WALL•E. Doug also went to New Zealand for two years to animate for Wetefx on The Lord of the Rings. Doug studied at Fort Lewis College, Whittier College, and California Institute of the Arts.

Celeste Connor
Visual Studies
Celeste Connor is an art historian, artist, and critic. Celeste writes on issues relevant to modern and contemporary art, from traditional genres to newest media. Cultural identity, gender, class, and consumerism are central concerns in her written and visual works. During her years at CCA Celeste has helped to develop the curricula of the Visual Studies Program, piloting many new courses and seminars. Her "Notable Absences" was one of the first courses at the college to explore the application of postmodern theories (Marxian, feminist, queer, and postcolonial) to the visual arts. Celeste earned a BA at UC San Diego and her MA and PhD from UC Berkeley.

Jeanette Roan
Visual & Critical Studies
An interdisciplinary scholar of visual culture, Jeanette Roan’s forthcoming book Envisioning Asia: On Location, Travel, and the Cinematic Geography of U.S. Orientalism (University of Michigan Press, 2010) addresses how films function as a form of virtual travel and a source of knowledge of cultural difference. Prior to coming to CCA Roan served as a visiting scholar at the Center for the Humanities at Grinnell College. She has also been an assistant professor of English and Film and Media Studies at George Mason University, and a minority scholar-in-residence at Oberlin College.

Martin Venezky
Graduate Design
Martin Venezky is the mastermind behind Appetite Engineers, a small, internationally recognized design firm. Martins firm has created some wonderfully entertaining work for the Sundance Film Festival, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Chronicle Books, Princeton Architectural Press, and Blue Note Records. Venezky has taught at CCA, California Institute of the Arts, and Art Center College of Design. He recently completed a term appointment at the Rhode Island School of Design. He earned his BFA at Dartmouth College and an MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Cheryl Dunye
Diversity Studies, Film
Cheryl Dunye, a native of Liberia, holds an MFA from Rutgers University. Her third feature film, Miramax's My Baby's Daddy, was a box-office success. Her second feature, HBO Films' Stranger Inside, garnered her an Independent Spirit award nomination for best director. Cheryl's debut film, The Watermelon Women, was awarded the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Her other works have premiered at film festivals and museums worldwide.

Long Jiao
Graduate Design
Joining the Graduate Program in Design, Long Jiao brings years of experience designing automobiles, industry tools, and home-electronic appliances with Shanghai Volkswagen, GE/Fitch, GE Plastics, and Shanghai X-Plan. With his experience in conducting user-centered design research throughout new product development projects, he has constantly focused on discovering how people behave, think, and dream, and translating those findings into an executable strategy. Long earned a Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Architecture degree in Industrial Design in China; and holds an MFA from The Ohio State University.

Sean Nash
Diversity Studies
Sean Levon Nash spent much of his youth between East Oakland, Indiana, and Iowa. Of Choctaw, Muskogee Creek, Brulé and Comanche descent, his frequent relocation has afforded him a unique view of current America and its effects on mixed Indians. He continues to apply his mastery of medium to create historically relevant work through which he successfully contextualizes ancient indigenous iconography. Holding a BFA from the University of California at Davis and an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute, Sean joins the ranked faculty in Diversity Studies. Among other accolades, Sean was recently honored to have his first animated short film receive recognition at Sundance and other film festivals.

Brook Hinton
Brook Hinton is a San Francisco-based filmmaker and composer whose works range from narrative cinema to experimental multimedia performance. He has worked extensively as an editor, colorist, and sound designer, and has designed courses and workshops in digital cinema, narrative and experimental aesthetics, and postproduction for Bay Area Video Coalition, Film Arts Foundation, eMotion Studios, Stanford University, and the San Francisco Art Institute. His recent work includes the “found footage séance” series, Trace Garden, and the experimental documentary A Trip Down Third Street, recently featured in the Urban Research installation program at Director’s Lounge in Berlin.

Tim Smith
MBA Design Strategy
Tim Smith joins CCA this fall as an Assistant Professor in the MBA Design Strategy program. Tim is the founder of All About the Future, LLC which provides consulting services in sustainable development and business development to help for-profit companies and non-profit organizations reinvent the way we all live and work together so that future generations have better opportunities and a healthier planet.
Prior to establishing All About the Future, Tim held management positions in product marketing, strategic planning, and sustainable development at Fortune 500 companies with reputations for being pioneers in social and environmental stewardship.

Visiting Faculty

Julia Bryan Wilson
Fine Arts & Humanities & Sciences
Most recently teaching at the UC Irvine and the Rhode Island School of Design, Julia Bryan-Wilson’s research focuses on the intersection of art and politics since the 1960s. She has published on topics such as the visual culture of the nuclear age, the impact of AIDS on contemporary art, and the professionalization of institutional critique. As an art critic, she is especially committed to feminist, queer, and collaborative art, and has published on Ida Applebroog, Sadie Benning, Carrie Moyer, Yoko Ono, and Sharon Hayes, among others. Bryan-Wilson has taught classes on performance art in the 20th century, gender and craft, methodology, historiography, authenticity and fraudulence in the digital era.

Adam Haslett
Writing & Literature and Graduate Writing
Adam Haslett is the author of the short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here and the novel Union Atlantic. His story collection was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award and has been translated into fifteen languages. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Fine Arts Work Center and residences at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. His essays and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, Zoetrope All-Story, Best American Short Stories, The O'Henry Prize Stories, and National Public Radio's Selected Shorts. A graduate of Swarthmore College, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Yale Law School, he has been a visiting professor at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Columbia University.

Daniel Thomas Davis
Writing & Literature and Critical Studies
Composer Daniel Thomas Davis has been hailed by USA Today as “versatile—driven by an endless curiosity and the equally expansive energy to pursue it,” Daniel maintains a diverse range of musical activities throughout North America, Europe, and Africa. Over the past four years, Daniel’s chamber work To Canaan’s fair and happy land has received over 100 performances and broadcasts. Daniel holds degrees from the Royal Academy of Music, Peabody Conservatory of Music, and Johns Hopkins University (dual degrees in American History), and has studied ethnomusicology and several African stringed instruments, primarily at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and through fieldwork in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Currently, Daniel is working on a book of essays on music, society, and politics.

Robert Scott Constable
Recipient of the Ronald and Anita Warnick Award for 2010–11, Robert Constable is founder of Wowhaus in Oakland. Furniture design is the backbone of the company, but the Wowhaus has embarked on several large scale endeavors of both the orthodox (a Napa restaurant interior) and esoteric (a roving radio station) variety. One of the studios signature projects is the Treenest, a rough-hewn variation on the traditional childhood haunt designed for young and old alike.

Deana Lawson
Deana Lawson received her MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work focuses on the psychological, personal, political and historical experiences that are implicated through the body. Lawson is a recipient of the 2008–9 Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant and a NYFA Grant in 2006. Her publications include Time Out NY, Contact Sheet, and Photography Quarterly. Lawson's work has been exhibited widely, and she has held artist residencies at Light Work and Visual Studies Workshop.

Judith Mussel
With over 18 years of experience in such notable firms as Gehry Partners in Los Angeles and Coop Himmelblau Architects in Vienna, Judith Mussel joins CCA as a Visiting Professor in the Architecture Program. At Gehry Partners Judith took the lead in figuring out the development of complex curtain wall systems, and meshed design and technology in the new concert hall in Miami, Florida, the Winnick Institute in Jerusalem, and skyscrapers in Manhattan. Judith’s research area focuses on building technologies parametric design, construction constraints and ecological innovation. Judith has taught in Los Angeles at UCLA, USC, and Woodbury University.

Finally, I would like to thank David Gissen for his service as chair of the curriculum committee (CC), and I would like to welcome Lynda Grose as the new chair of CC.

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

Mark Breitenberg

Review previous newsletters: Fall 2009–Spring 2010 | Spring 2009 | Fall 2008