New dean appointment to decidedly impact school of arts

Incoming Dean of the School of the Arts, Dr. Patrick M. Jones
Incoming Dean of the School of the Arts, Dr. Patrick M. Jones

Backed by extensive credentials and practical experience, Dr. Patrick M. Jones will become the dean of the School of the Arts effective July 1.

“He brings considerable experience in departmental leadership and in leading the bands of the Air National Guard to this position,” said Elizabeth Hitch, UVU vice president for Academic Affairs.
Currently the chair of the Music Education Department at Boston University, Jones is set to leave this role behind and take the reigns of UVU’s ever-expanding arts program.

With previous experience as assistant director of the School of Music and head of the Music Education division at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and as a music education faculty member at the State University of New York at Fredonia, Jones holds the skills necessary to further progress the arts program.

“He is very excited about the achievements and potential of the departments that form the School of the Arts and is doing all he can to advance their missions. That is a winning combination: enthusiasm for the vision of the School and its departments and the ability to assist the programs in reaching their potential,” Hitch said.

Jones earned a bachelor of science degree in Music Education from West Chester University, a diploma of fine arts in Conducting and Wind Literature from the University of Calgary, a master of arts in Conducting from George Mason University and a doctorate of Philosophy in Music Education from Pennsylvania State University. These credentials, combined with his excitement to be involved in his newly-appointed position, generate optimistic expectations for the School of the Arts.

“The mission of UVU, to be a distinctive teaching university focused on serving the community, resonates with my desire to be part of an institution that is connected to the community,” Jones said in a recent press release. “The environment of UVU and the Utah Valley is inspirational for artists of all disciplines. I can understand why such wonderful faculty would be drawn to UVU.”

Formerly, Kathie Debenham was appointed interim dean during the transition phase of the arts program, to which she brought experience and familiarity.

“Kathie provided great transition from the ‘old’ College to the ‘new’ School as she was familiar with the departments and programs and had administrative experience in a dean’s office,” Hitch said.

Asked to fill the position of vice president of Academic Affairs, Debenham was replaced by the seasoned Bruce Christensen, who came out of retirement to temporarily head the Arts program as UVU searched for a new dean.

Jones will be leading the School during this particularly pivotal time for the arts, pivotal due in majority to the consideration of a new Center for the Arts, which would be intensely beneficial to the flourishing arts program as its limited spacial availability in Gunther Trades seems ready to burst at the seams. The School has been working to gain donor support for such a facility and all involved are hopeful that its construction is on the horizon, although the state of the economy is a difficult hurdle to overcome.

“The opportunity to garner support for such a facility and actually see it designed and built is of considerable interest to Dr. Jones and is one of the projects at UVU about which he is very excited,” Hitch said.

Limitless possibilities exist within the School of the Arts, but Jones will need to mitigate the growing pains while simultaneously making decisions which will allow the School to prosper. Hopefully his efforts on behalf of the School will see it reach their utmost potential.

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