To the Yale Community,
Earlier today, Marta Kuzma, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Dean of the Yale School of Art, announced that she plans to complete her five-year term as dean on June 30, 2021, and transition full-time to the faculty of the school as a tenured professor of art. I support her decision. I know how committed she is to creating and sharing ways of shaping the world through art, and I am happy that she will continue to teach and engage in scholarship at the school.
Marta brought to Yale immense expertise in forging intellectual connections among students and faculty from diverse fields. Over the past four years, she leveraged her experiences and relationships in Europe and the United States to form multidisciplinary collaborations for the school. For example, she helped to establish the Art and Justice Initiative, which provides seminars, workshops, research projects, and teaching opportunities. Through the initiative, students have developed their own curricula to teach incarcerated youths in Connecticut and have explored solutions for climate change and sustainable farming with experts across campus.
A devoted educator, Marta has said that her greatest moments at Yale have involved imparting knowledge to and learning from the next generation of artists and scholars. Every fall, she teaches a course for Masters of Fine Arts students called “Diving into the Wreck.” With the help of visiting faculty members and other experts from across disciplines, she and her students examine their experiences as individuals and as members of dynamic communities. From human sexuality to racial and socioeconomic inequality, she promotes open and critical discourse about complex and challenging topics and how they relate to making and understanding art. She demonstrates to students how to bring to the open underlying challenges that we must understand before we can create a better future.
Marta also has worked steadfastly on recruiting preeminent faculty, scholars, and artists to the school. She enriched the school’s curriculum and research excellence by recruiting two award-winning faculty members, and she brought two renowned artists to the school as Presidential Visiting Scholars to enhance teaching, learning, and practice.
In July 2016, when Marta assumed the deanship of the School of Art, she became the first woman to do so in the school’s history. As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of coeducation at Yale, we recognize that when the art school was founded in 1869, it was the first program to welcome women students. It led the way for other schools at our university to embrace coeducation. Today the School of Art continues to guide and inspire conversations and actions that improve the world. In honor of the school’s legacy, Marta has partnered with trailblazing alumni to publish a book of essays dedicated to the history of women and gender nonconforming graduates and faculty at the Yale School of Art.
At the start of the fall semester, I will formalize the process for finding Marta’s successor. I will appoint a search advisory committee that will seek broad input from art school faculty, students, staff, and alumni. In addition, I will engage a search firm to assist in this process.
As a scholar, writer, educator, and leader, Marta has contributed immensely to encouraging individuals from all walks of life to engage with the arts to deepen their understanding of the world and to address pressing challenges. Please join me in extending our gratitude to Marta for her contributions as the dean of the School of Art.
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology