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Arts and Media dean retires

Janet Hethorn stepping down July 1; Betty Kirby will serve as CAM interim dean

Contact: ​Jeff Johnston


Janet Hethorn, dean of the College of the Arts and Media, has announced her retirement from Central Michigan University. She will step down as dean July 1.

mug-2015-0512-003--Janet-Hethorn--CCFA-dean-rb.jpgHethorn joined CMU as dean of what was then the College of Communication and Fine Arts in August 2015. During her tenure, the college has created new partnerships across Michigan, expanded research and creative efforts, developed new international exchanges and a visiting scholars and artists program, and added a Center for Student Services to enhance student experiences. 

In 2017, Hethorn launched a new Leadership Fellow program with the goal of increasing international presence for students and faculty.

The college changed its name as part of CMU's Academic Organizational Review in 2018.

"She led the college to a new name and to a new strategic plan," Provost Mary C. Schutten said of Hethorn. "The College of the Arts and Media's long list of accomplishments under her leadership exemplifies the rigor, relevance and excellence of Central Michigan University."

 “I am proud of what we have accomplished together.” — Dean Janet Hethorn

As dean, Hethorn leads six academic departments and schools: the Department of Art and Design, School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts, Department of Communication, Department of Journalism, Department of Theatre and Dance, and the School of Music. She oversees interdisciplinary programs in integrative public relations, multimedia design and music theatre.

"When I joined CMU five years ago, I was drawn to the unique combination of disciplines that make up our college, and I embraced the opportunity to work with you in shaping our future," Hethorn wrote in her retirement announcement to her CAM colleagues. "I am proud of what we have accomplished together and am very pleased to have served as your dean."

Hethorn also worked with other CMU deans to create the Interdisciplinary Center for Community Health and Wellness, a five-college effort that collaborates with partners statewide.

"Cross disciplinary collaboration is now second nature to us," Hethorn said.  

Hethorn came to CMU from the University of Delaware, where she served as chair in the Department of Art in addition to leadership roles at the university's Center for Material Culture Studies and the Center for Historic Architecture and Design. She was the director of the Delaware Design Institute, which she founded in 2009.

She earned her doctoral degree in design from the University of Minnesota and bachelor's degrees in home economics education and textiles and clothing from Central Washington University.Schutten announced that Betty Kirby will serve as interim dean of CAM following her June 30 retirement as dean of the College of Education and Human Services. 

In April, CMU President Bob Davies announced a hiring pause for most university positions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Schutten said she is adhering to that process. 

"We will use this time to reflect and review all aspects of academic affairs to determine when, how and what future leadership will look like," she said.

Davies has approved Hethorn for emeritus status, pending action by the Board of Trustees.


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