Jory Hancock Named UA Fine Arts Dean

Jory Hancock, who in May was named interim dean of the College of Fine Arts, has been named the college's permanent dean.
Dec. 22, 2009
Jory Hancock (Photo credit: Jacob Chinn)
Jory Hancock (Photo credit: Jacob Chinn)

Jory Hancock has been named the permanent dean for the University of Arizona's College of Fine Arts.

Hancock, who directs the UA School of Dance and has worked with fine arts faculty members for more than two decades, was named the college's interim dean in May.

"As interim dean, I've really enjoyed working as a member of dean's council and have immense respect for campus leadership," said Hancock, who also holds the Stevie Eller Endowed Chair.

Hancock said he also has been able to build on an "already a strong working relationship" between the faculty and staff within the College of Fine Arts.

"More specifically, the personnel in the fine arts office, including those in student services, finance, development and information technology, have been creative and honest as we have tried to find new ways to do more with less," Hancock said. "The school directors have been innovative in addressing the budget challenges each of their schools faces." 

Hancock succeeds Maurice J. Sevigny in the deanship and also will serve as a divisional dean for the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science, or CLAS, of which the College of Fine Arts is a member.

"Dean Hancock's leadership style will match the moment perfectly," said UA Executive Vice President and Provost Meredith Hay.

"The UA Transformation process began to take root with a new structure this fall, and his leadership style as interim dean illustrated how effectively he will lead the college in its new form," Hay said. "He is a creative and steady hand whose track record in University leadership will continue to serve him well in this new role."  

The College of Fine arts is comprised of five schools, including art, dance, media arts, music and theater arts. Also, the Jack and Vivian Hanson Arizona Film Institute is part of the college. 

Joaquin Ruiz, executive dean of CLAS, acknowledged Hancock's long history of leadership and also his commitment to the UA. 

"His program in dance is well-recognized – and he built the program from the ground up," said Ruiz, who also is the College of Science dean. 

"He has a strong record of care and love for our institution and has a long record of serving at various levels of the institution."

Hancock joined the UA faculty in 1987 and helped develop the previously named Committee on Dance into a nationally-recognized dance program with a state-of-the-art facility.

Prior to his arrival at the UA, he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the music school at Indiana University, now the Jacobs School of Music.

He also spent the early part of his career as an apprentice with the American Ballet Theater in New York City. He went on to work with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and spent 12 years as a soloist and principal dancer with various other companies, including Houston Ballet and Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet. 

During his tenure at the UA, he served as both vice-chair and chair of the faculty, working with the President's Cabinet, University Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee, the University Space Planning Committee and faculty liaison to the UA Foundation. Hancock also was a strong force behind the $9 million campaign to build the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre. 

As he moves into the permanent deanship, Hancock said one priority and "exciting venture" will be to bring together the School of Media Arts and the School of Theatre Arts. 

Hancock suggested bringing the schools together both as a cost-saving measure but also to promote collaboration between them. He said faculty and administrators of both schools have been "enthusiastic and ingenious" about working together more closely and in developing plans for a merger. 

"We seem to be on our way to a very productive union," Hancock said. "The success of that partnership, and the resources saved through a merger, sets in motion opportunities for the other schools in fine arts." 

Another priority as permanent dean is to promote improved collaboration with the arts, humanities and sciences, Hancock added.

"The arts in their purest form can prevail at this University, and at the same time be married with science, the humanities, the social sciences, architecture, engineering, medicine, business and with countless other inquiries," Hancock said. 

"Given what I have accomplished in the School of Dance, I do believe, as dean, that I can ensure a strong arts presence in the years ahead," Hancock said. "And with our membership in CLAS there is a still greater opportunity to embed the arts in life on campus, in Arizona, and beyond."