The administration, staff and faculty of the UCF School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD) facilitate the success of the university to maintain an efficient educational and creative environment for students. This fall, we welcome several new faces to the team.
Rudy McDaniel, Director of the School of Visual Arts and Design, looks forward to the personnel changes. “I’m inspired by the wide range of skills and extensive knowledge our new faculty and staff members bring to SVAD. An engaged, committed faculty coupled with a dedicated and knowledgeable staff is the cornerstone of art and design education,” says McDaniel. “I know our students are going to love learning from these new experts in our studios, classrooms, and labs. I am additionally excited for our new staff members who play a critical role in helping us prepare for the new semester and giving our students an outstanding educational experience.”
Several additions have been made to the faculty as both new and familiar members step into roles this fall at SVAD, including James Chambless as Visiting Lecturer, Christina Christie as Lecturer, Márcio Gonçalves as Assistant Professor, Nicholas Kalemba as Lecturer, Lorna Ruth Galloway as Lecturer, Leeann Rae as Visiting Lecturer, Jeremy Robinson as Visiting Lecturer, Damian Thorn-Hauswirth as Visiting Lecturer, Joshua Treadway as Assistant Professor and Vivian Ye as Lecturer. Read more about the new faculty members here.
In addition to these new faculty members, SVAD has acquired new staff:
Jason Fronczek ‘20MFA, who has served as an OPS employee for the last four years, will step into the role of Laboratory Coordinator II as one of four facilities support team members. As a formerly incarcerated person, Fronczek volunteers with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to petition State Representatives to offer equitable solutions for fair access to education, housing, and employment. In his new role, Fronczek will oversee general SVAD facility operations under Joe Muley.
Dhara Gajjar has been hired as the Administrative Assistant to the SVAD advising team. Gajjar frequently volunteers for multiple organizations, such as American Cancer Society and Hummingbird food pantry, and has received the Citizen’s Scholar award for her altruistic efforts. In her new role, she will facilitate the tasks of the advising team, ensuring efficient service for SVAD students.
Kilani Sierra will step into the role of Administrative Assistant I of the SVAD Front Office. Sierra has previously held administration roles atother universities, including New York University and her alma mater, Full Sail University, which equipped her with the skills necessary to take on her new role. As Administrative Assistant I, Sierra will facilitate the functionality and flow of the front office.
The School of Visual Arts and Design also welcomes two new Assistant Directors, Keri Watson and Matt Dombrowski.
Keri Watson, Ph.D., who also serves as an Associate Professor of art history and the Director of the Florida Prison Education Project, has been selected as Assistant Director. “I’m thrilled to join SVAD’s administrative team and look forward to working with our faculty, staff, and students to ensure the success and longevity of SVAD. Our primary job as educatorsis to help students succeed, and a primary measurement of that success is graduation rates,” says Watson. “With this in mind, I am working to establish performance metrics for our school that are keyed to the benchmarks established by the state of Florida. Serving our students is our number one priority and optimizing our course offerings and degree programs to help our students graduate on time will help us set a course for the future.”
Watson has an extensive background in art history, currently serving as Co-Executive Editor for Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art, and teaches courses in a variety of focuses, such as 19th- and 20th-century art, American art, the art of Disney and self-taught artists, and African American Art. Her research on the power of art to contribute to and challenge stereotypical representations of race, nationality, gender, sex and dis/ability, has been recognized and supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Terra Foundation of American Art, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Society for the Preservation of American Modernists. Watson’s dedication to her craft and forward thinking makes her the ideal candidate to take on the position of SVAD Assistant Director.
Matt Dombrowski ‘08MFA, Associate Professor of Emerging Media, has been selected as Assistant Director, as well. A passionate advocate for student success, Dombrowski is a recipient of the UCF Undergraduate Teacher of Excellence Award and the Dziuban Online Teaching Excellence Award.
“I am honored to serve my SVAD colleagues and our amazing student population in this new role,” says Dombrowski. “As a UCF graduate, I believe that SVAD is one of the best institutions in the country for visual arts and design. This is showcased by the unmatched talent of our faculty and our creatively driven student body. I look forward to exploring NASAD accreditation and other opportunities to showcase SVAD’s creative efforts and accomplishments to the larger academic community.”
As an international exhibiting artist with an industry background in motion graphics and commercial art, Dombrowski is a firm believer that the influences and implementation of digital media practice should be used for the betterment of our society and to help positively shape its future and hopes to make artistic and cultural impacts with his work. He is also Creative Director with Limbitless Solutions, Inc., involved in developing and producing expressive 3D-printed bionic limbs, interactive alternative controllers and bionic training games for children. His strive for innovation and tenacious drive make him a fierce supporter of the arts and a great contribution to the administration.
“Even before their recent administrative roles began, Associate Professors Matt Dombrowski and Keri Watson dedicated themselves to making our school a better place to work and learn. They both have excellent energy, new perspectives, and great ideas. Both are tackling ambitious projects, including accreditation and improved student success metrics, that are critical for strengthening our academic and civic mission,” says McDaniel. “Further, both have already demonstrated their creative problem-solving skills and passion for advancing our school through their prior accomplishments in research, teaching, and service. We feel very fortunate to have them join the administrative team.”