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Central Michigan University appoints dean of College of Communication and Fine Arts

Janet Hethorn joins CMU from University of Delaware, brings more than 25 years of experience


​​​​​Michael Gealt, Central Michigan University's executive vice president and provost, has announced the appointment of Janet Hethorn as dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts. Hethorn was selected following a national search.​

Currently director of the Delaware Design Institute and professor of art at the University of Delaware, Hethorn will begin her leadership duties at CMU Aug. 1, with an annual salary of $200,000.

"Hethorn stood out as a top candidate throughout every step of the search process," Gealt said. "Her experience as a teacher, scholar and administrator with leadership and vision will continue to move the College of Communication and Fine Arts forward."

Hethorn joined the University of Delaware's art department in 1998, where she has served as professor and department chair, in addition to leadership roles at the university's Center for Material Culture Studies and Center for Historic Architecture and Design. In 2009, Hethorn founded the Delaware Design Institute where she served as director.

She earned a doctoral degree in design from the University of Minnesota and bachelor's degrees in textiles and clothing and home economics education from Central Washington University.

As CCFA dean, Hethorn will lead five academic departments and schools — including the art and design department, School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts, communication and dramatic arts department, journalism department, and the School of Music — and oversee three interdisciplinary programs: integrative public relations; media design, production and technology; and music theater. The college has 186 faculty and staff.

Shelly Schaefer Hinck has been serving as interim dean since Aug. 1, 2014, replacing Salma Ghanem who resigned to become dean of the College of Communication at DePaul University.

"Serving in the role of interim dean for the last eight months, Shelly has done an excellent job of leading the college," Gealt said. "Thanks to her ​skillful leadership and expert insights, students and faculty were able to seamlessly continue moving forward during this transition period. I want to publicly thank her for her outstanding service."


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