VCUarts dean Shawn Brixey steps down

Photo by Gessler Santos-Lopez

Andrew Ringle, Managing Editor

Shawn Brixey is stepping down from his role as dean of VCUarts, effective Monday, according to a statement from the university. 

He will remain a tenured faculty member in the School of the Arts and an affiliate faculty member at the College of Engineering.

Brixey has led efforts in education, research, community outreach and fund development since July 2017 as dean and special assistant to the provost for the School of the Arts in Qatar. 

Nancy Scott, associate dean, has been appointed acting dean until an interim dean is named. A national search will be conducted over the next several weeks to permanently fill the position, but the school has not specified when a new dean will be hired.

“We also have a strong leadership team in place, so it will be business as usual for our students,” said Kim Catley, VCUarts’ associate director of print and digital content.

Brixey’s resignation comes after a decision by VCU to suspend Javier Tapia, an associate professor at VCUarts who was accused of racial discrimination when he called security on a black coworker last fall. The suspension prompted a lawsuit from Tapia and protests by students who want him fired. Brixey was one of the VCU officials named in the December filing, among VCU President Michael Rao and Noah Simblist, chair of the painting and printmaking department.

The Commonwealth Times has reached out to the VCUarts Student Coalition, which organized protests over the incident, for comment. 

Out-of-state student yields have increased by 20% under Brixey’s tenure, and first-year student retention rates grew to 84%, the highest at VCU.

“I am so very proud of the work we have accomplished together — work that has supported our students, our faculty and our community, and has positioned us for an even more incandescent future at the nexus of arts and innovation,” Brixey said in an email to VCUarts students, faculty and staff Monday.

Brixey said in a statement he will continue working with administration on the VCU master plan and new community and industrial partnerships as a professor in the School of the Arts and College of Engineering.

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