New interim VCUarts dean ready to ‘embrace’ role

Nancy Scott was appointed to Interim Dean on Sept. 3. Photo by Steven Casanova, courtesy of VCUarts

Hannah Eason, News Editor


Scott started working for VCU in 1993 in the fashion design and merchandising department. Photo by Steven Casanova, courtesy of VCUarts.

Nancy Scott started her career at VCU more than 25 years ago, and after playing a key role in the development of VCUarts Qatar and holding several administrative positions in the School of the Arts, she has been appointed interim dean.

“This is an exciting time to be at VCU and to be the interim dean of this great art school,” Scott said in an email. “The students are creative and engaged, and the faculty are leading global creative practice and passionate about teaching.”

Provost Gail Hackett made the announcement in an email to art students and faculty on Sept. 3. Scott will serve as interim dean and special assistant to the provost for the School of the Arts in Qatar.

“I appreciate all of the advice I received and although there were a number of strong candidates,” Hackett wrote to students and faculty, “you made it clear that Scott, a trusted and skilled leader, was the right choice to guide the school forward as we navigate the search for a permanent dean.”

Scott was appointed acting dean in August after former dean of the School of the Arts Shawn Brixey resigned. His resignation came after the resolution of a lawsuit filed against Brixey and other VCU officials by painting and printmaking professor Javier Tapia, who was accused of racial profiling. Brixey told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in an email that speculation his resignation was connected to the lawsuit was “baseless and has nothing to do with the decision.” 

The interim dean served as the associate dean for academic administration from 2001 until July, when she was promoted to executive associate dean for the school.

“I’ve been fortunate to work for some visionary deans that coached, encouraged and challenged me to take risks, make mistakes and learn how to adapt, improvise and do things right,” Scott said. “As an associate dean, I’ve had oversight of many of the school’s key functional areas from recruitment and admissions to finance, human resources, and IT.”

Scott’s role at VCU began in 1993 as an assistant professor in the fashion design and merchandising department. Hackett said she “quickly” moved into leadership roles, including assistant department chair and assistant dean for academic affairs for the School of the Arts.

“Definitely spending five years in an academic department where I taught and advised students prepared me for a role on the leadership team,” Scott said.

Scott contributed to the development of VCU’s Doha, Qatar, campus, and previously served as associate director of the Shaqab College of Design Arts, now known as VCUarts Qatar.

“Much of my effort has been in support of our Qatar campus so I feel extremely prepared,” Scott said. “While the magnitude of the responsibility is enormous, I’ve acquired the skills to embrace this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Scott’s new roles include interim dean and special assistant to the provost for the School of the Arts in Qatar. Photo by Steven Casanova, courtesy of VCUarts.

A year after the first art foundation program for fashion, interior and graphic design majors was established in 1998, Scott joined the administration and moved to Doha, Qatar.

In 2002, she was a member of the counsel in charge of negotiating a 10-year agreement with the Qatar Foundation. She also served on the council in 2012.

“Even though the enrollment at VCUarts Qatar is small at 350 compared to our 3,000 students here in Richmond, it takes a significant amount of effort to manage,” Scott said. “The two campuses are 7,000 miles apart, the time difference is 7 hours and the school week in Doha is Sunday to Thursday. We are always dealing with the unexpected and thrilled to be among the other prominent US universities in Doha.”

Scott will serve alongside VCUarts Qatar Dean Amir Berbić, who was appointed in August.

“We are both new in our roles and eager to develop and execute new and innovative disciplines,” Scott said. “VCUarts Qatar is a very special place and I have much respect for the faculty, staff and students. We are so proud they are part of us.”

VCUarts is ranked second by U.S. News & World Report among all fine arts programs in the country. The school is the top-ranked public art school. More than 20% of the incoming class is from out-of-state, which Scott says is attributed to “reputation, rankings and aggressive recruitment efforts.”

Scott said the school is planning to partner with other organizations to co-host the Menuhin Competition, a leading international violin contest last held in Switzerland.

“My energy, effort and commitment are 100%,” Scott said.


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