College of Communication and Fine Arts
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Dean's Message

As you have undoubtedly read, significant issues have developed in higher education across the nation and in Tennessee as well. As Provost Rudd has written: “Our funding models are under pressure from a continued reduction of state funds, changing enrollment patterns and, for Tennessee universities, funding formula that is impacted by completion outcomes… In recent years, we have absorbed significant reductions (36%) in state funding by undertaking a variety of cost reduction measures.” As the result of a University $20 million funding gap, CCFA has reduced this year’s budget and will take very heavy cuts in next year’s budget. The cuts include the loss of faculty and staff positions, the closing of the Center for Multimedia Arts, and undergraduate as well as graduate support.

Despite these substantial financial setbacks and the resulting impact upon programs, we continue to deliver vibrant programs with strong research/creative activities thanks to our faculty, staff, and talented and bright students. An important partner in this continuation of excellence has been our friends and donors. Indeed, as I write this opening missive, the CCFA and alumni donor numbers have both increased by almost 50% over this same period last year. Thank you! Donations have been and will be a terrific help and are deeply appreciated. Although not fully replacing the continuing loss of state dollars, alumni giving is particularly important to the College. Alumni gifts carry weight in the U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges ranking, directly impacting our student recruitment and how our programs are perceived on the national scale.

Development Director Katherine Goliver wrote about donors who, influenced by the architecture students’ work in the wonderful Bauhaus exhibition that recently closed in the Art Museum of the University of Memphis and is featured on the cover of this magazine, are providing support for architecture students in their required development of model building skills. Other donors have greatly aided our new musical theatre concentration through scholarship support or the Communication Department’s graduate program. We thank them and so many others who support our students and hope you will join them in helping to continue the excellence for which we have become known. We also invite you to come and see for yourself the wonderful work that occur in our galleries, studios, classrooms, concert halls and theaters.

Each time I write the column, it is always hard to say goodbye to those who have left us. This time it is to Tommy Ferguson and Larry Edwards. Tommy is remembered for his great influence on our Music programs, as you will read about in a special tribute article. Larry was a great artist, teacher and friend. He was also a wonderful chair of the Department of Art with whom I worked closely and will miss dearly.

Let me close by thanking the Advisory Board of CCFA for surprising me with the great honor of receiving the Distinguished Achievement Award in the Creative and Performing Arts. It was a true surprise. When I look at the list of those who have received it before me, I continue to think that they were out of their minds! However, I will be forever grateful to them and all who came to and participated in the lovely lunch and presentation ceremony. It was wonderful to see so many friends who have helped build the college and have a chance to thank them for all that they have done.

Dean Richard Ranta

"We continue to deliver vibrant programs with strong research/creative activities thanks to our faculty, staff, and talented and bright students."

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Last Updated: 4/22/14