Ramón Rivera-Servera Appointed Dean of College of Fine Arts

Dear UT community,

I am excited to announce that Ramón Rivera-Servera will serve as the next dean of the College of Fine Arts, effective July 1, 2021. Until then, he will serve as dean-designate.

Dean-designate Rivera-Servera comes to UT from Northwestern University, where he chaired the Department of Performance Studies and the Department of Theatre in the School of Communication. He was the first graduate of the Performance as Public Practice Ph.D. program in the Department of Theatre and Dance at UT Austin.

After a competitive national search, Dean-designate Rivera-Servera’s commitment to advancing the arts stood out. His perspective as a graduate of UT, his commitment to equity and inclusion and his position as a national thought leader will be of enormous benefit to the college and the university broadly.

“Dean Rivera-Servera is a person of incredible drive, energy, charisma and intellect. His passion is infectious, and I’m excited to see him work with the College of Fine Arts to raise it to even greater heights,” said UT Austin President Jay Hartzell. “We had to compete with other universities to bring Ramón to UT, but like many of our alumni, he knows the forty acres is home, a place from which he can change the world.”

For more than 20 years, Dean-designate Rivera-Servera’s scholarly work has focused on how the arts contribute to social transformation and how they help us become a more intentionally collaborative and ethical society. His interdisciplinary approach examines creative ethnography, new work development in performance and other ephemeral art forms, as well as Black and Latinx arts and cultures in North America and the Caribbean. His work documents a wide array of performance practices, ranging from theatre and concert dance to social dance, fashion and speech. He is the author of “Performing Queer Latinidad: Dance, Sexuality, Politics” (University of Michigan Press, 2012).

I would like to thank the search committee and acknowledge their collective effort, which has resulted in the recruitment of an excellent leader to UT. I would also like to thank Dean Dempster, an invaluable leader whose vision has advanced the college in important and meaningful ways. Through his creative and innovative approach, he established a strong foundation for the future success of the college, and our new dean will benefit from these contributions as he builds upon that work. Dean Dempster deserves a great deal of credit and I want to acknowledge him for his exceptional service to the college.

Please join me in welcoming Dean-designate Rivera-Servera to the UT community.


Dan Jaffe

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