Dear College of Fine Arts Faculty, Staff and Students,
I write to share the bittersweet news that Robert Ramirez has accepted a new role as head of the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University and will be stepping down as chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, effective July 31.
I am working closely with the department on a transition plan and expect to have an update very soon.
We wish Robert all the best in this new endeavor, and I am grateful to him for his excellent leadership of the Department of Theater and Dance. Not only has he steered the program through a global pandemic and supported our faculty and students as they’ve continued to make groundbreaking work in a constantly changing landscape, but he’s worked with faculty, staff and students to make significant progress in shaping the faculty hiring, recruiting, programming and curriculum during his time in the department.
Robert joined the faculty in the UT Department of Theatre and Dance in 2014 as an associate professor, and he was promoted to full professor in 2020. He served as head of the Acting program between 2014 and 2020 and as head of the Performance division from 2016 to 2017. He stepped in as interim chair of the department in summer 2019 and was named the first Latinx chair of the department in spring 2020. He holds the Z.T. Scott Family Chair in Drama and the Susan Menefee Ragan Regents Professorship in Fine Arts.
Robert played a key role in establishing the department’s B.F.A. in the Acting program, which offers students a total career immersion through the UT in LA program in their final semester. He also reignited a key partnership with the Rude Mechs theatre company to bring them in as the department’s resident theatre company to work with and mentor students.
His diversity, equity and inclusion work has left an indelible mark on the department and its future. Under his leadership, the department has diversified its faculty. He’s had a strong focus on undergraduate recruitment and partnered with South Texas Theatre Auditions to recruit a number of talented students from the Rio Grande River Valley. This partnership is exactly the kind of work we want to be doing as a Hispanic-Serving Institution at UT Austin.
And throughout his time as an administrator in the department, he’s also managed to maintain a healthy profile in the industry and an active creative research profile. Just this spring, he directed an important production of Octavio Solis’ Mother Road for the Pacific Conservatory Theatre, and this summer he’ll be directing Marisela Treviño Orta’s The River Bride for American Players Theatre.
Please join me in congratulating Robert on his new role and in expressing our gratitude for his service and leadership in the College of Fine Arts.