New personnel in several key positions are leading the Delaware College of Art and Design in new directions in an intentional effort to grow DCAD’s enrollment and prioritize community programming and relationships that will enrich the city’s Creative District and aid the broader effort to revitalize its downtown.
President John Hawkins, who has been serving as the interim leader of the College only since June, said he sees a new energy in his team and is excited about where DCAD is headed, both in terms of the fine arts education it provides and the impact a fine arts institution such as DCAD can have in Wilmington and beyond.
“DCAD is an untraditional school that operates in a fairly traditional way – and having a new Dean, a new admissions counselor, a new CFO and a new community outreach director all starting within the same time frame is helping us put a more cohesive foot forward into the community,” Hawkins said. “We are in our strongest recruitment and relationship-building period right now, and we are so pleased to have a full and energetic team to engage prospective students and partners in this process.”
The newest members of the DCAD team are:
-- Katy Matich Ro, the first full-time dean that DCAD has had in recent history. Previously, the chief academic officer’s responsibilities were fulfilled by a full-time faculty member who also coordinated one of the major areas and taught degree program courses. Ro leads and manages the educational programs that support DCAD’s mission and supervises and enforces the academic standards that are crucial to maintaining the College’s reputation and accreditation.
Ro holds a master of fine arts degree in book arts/printmaking from University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a bachelor of fine arts degree in drawing/painting from Minnesota State University Moorhead. The faculty and administrative experience she accumulated working at UArts and Hussian College, also in Philadelphia, made her the ideal choice to serve as DCAD’s dean, a role she hopes will afford her not only the opportunity to support students, but also to relate to them as a peer visual artist.
“DCAD has an established history of cultivating creative innovation in visual arts education and practice,” Ro said. “Now, as a member of this community, I have the honor of partnering with our distinguished faculty who are committed to student success through the ongoing development and delivery of academically rigorous art and design curricula.”
-- D. Eric Saul, chief financial officer. His recent experience as the executive director of SODAT – Delaware, the state’s oldest outpatient substance abuse treatment agency, gave him critical experience in managing a growing institution. At DCAD, Saul manages finances and oversees operations, facilities management, security systems and human resources.
Saul earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from what is now Rowan University and a master of business administration degree from Goldey Beacom College, and he is in the dissertation phase of earning a doctorate in education from Immaculata University. Saul is one of the only members of the DCAD leadership team without an arts background, and the opportunity to work in such a new-to-him environment was one of the factors that drew him to this role.
“I’ve succumbed to the contagious enthusiasm that abounds at DCAD,” said Saul.
-- Hailey McCracken, DCAD’s newest admissions counselor, who is charged with recruiting qualified students for the associate of fine arts degree program. Unlike Ro and Saul, McCracken isn’t new to DCAD: she is a DCAD graduate who went on to complete a bachelor of fine arts degree at Pratt Institute in New York.
“I can truly say attending DCAD was one of the best decisions I have ever made,” said McCracken, who is eager to help potential students find their perfect fit in higher education at DCAD.
-- Randle Reed, director of Community Programs, who also earned his associate of fine arts degree from DCAD and his bachelor of fine arts degree from Pratt Institute. Reed worked in DCAD’s admissions office and was DCAD’s assistant director of student services before he left the College to do community and outreach programming with United Way of Delaware.
In his new position, Reed provides leadership and educational management for DCAD’s professional-development and personal-interest offerings and its internship program for degree students. He also plans, implements and assesses programming and fosters relationships between DCAD and other community organizations.
“Most art schools are in bigger cities than Wilmington,” Reed said. “Having DCAD in Wilmington not only makes Wilmington a more competitive city, it also makes the Wilmington community more creative. I’m so excited to spearhead partnerships with non-profits, schools and businesses in both the city and nearby communities.”