Tiffany Lopez, visionary artist and administrator and proven champion for diversity and inclusion, has been named dean of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine, following a nationwide search. She will assume the post on July 1.
Lopez comes to UCI from Arizona State University, where she serves as vice provost for inclusive excellence and as a Foundation Professor in the Sidney Poitier New American Film School in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
“UCI’s visionary founders included a school of fine arts in our academic plan so that the study and creation of art would be integral to our students’ experiences,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Tiffany Lopez’s artistic and administrative achievements and her commitment to inclusion and diversity will advance the school’s excellence and enhance its far-reaching impact across campus and in the community.”
Hal Stern, UCI’s provost and executive vice chancellor, said: “We welcome Tiffany Lopez to UCI and look forward to engaging her exceptional talent and expertise in academic administration and the arts. Her experience working with faculty, staff and students to advance inclusive excellence initiatives and arts programs will benefit the Claire Trevor School of the Arts and our entire campus community.”
Lopez was previously director of the former School of Film, Dance and Theatre at ASU. She led the film program to launch as the Sidney Poitier New American Film School, diversified faculty across the school’s programs, and increased opportunities for students to engage with regional artists and experience intergenerational mentorship.
“I am thrilled and honored to be joining the Claire Trevor School of the Arts as its next dean,” Lopez said. “What’s particularly exciting is how the school collectively embraces the call of our moment to enrich and expand pathways for 21st-century art making and to cultivate citizen-artist leaders who exemplify the role of creativity in exploration. I’m inspired by the stellar range of artists, scholars and advocates and look forward to collaborating to advance the work being done by this incredible community.”
The granddaughter of migrant farmworkers and a first-generation college student, Lopez has dedicated her career to increasing opportunities in higher education, furthering the role of the arts and forging routes to support success through leadership.
Prior to ASU, Lopez spent more than two decades at UC Riverside, where inclusion and community engagement were instrumental to her teaching, research and creative activity on how artists use their work to stage conversations about trauma and violence to generate paths for personal and social change. At UCR, she was a professor and the Tomas Rivera Endowed Chair in the Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production.
Lopez is a founding member of the Latino Theater Alliance of Los Angeles, and she has also worked as a dramaturge with numerous theaters, including the Mark Taper Forum, Cornerstone Theater Company and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. A community college transfer student, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English at California State University, Sacramento and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in English at UC Santa Barbara. Lopez was also the first Cesar Chavez Dissertation Fellow at Dartmouth College.
She’s the recipient of many prestigious honors – including being named an ASU Faculty Women’s Association Outstanding Faculty Mentor (2019), a Hispanic Lifestyle Latina of Influence (2015) and a Fulbright scholar (2004) – and has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts and The Rockefeller Foundation.
Lopez will replace Dean Stephen Barker, who is retiring.
“I am delighted that Dr. Tiffany Lopez will be taking over the reins of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts,” Barker said. “Her remarkable background as a researcher, teacher and community builder are perfectly suited to take the school and the campus to the next level of achievement. The many strengths she brings to UCI are a model for students, staff and faculty, as well as for the greater community.”
University of California, Irvine is a platinum-level Leaders Circle partner of the Greater Irvine Chamber.
The Claire Trevor School of the Arts is UCI’s creative laboratory, exploring and presenting the arts as the essence of human experience and expression through art forms ranging from the most traditional to the radically new. CTSA has proven itself to be a national leader in training emerging artists and performers since its establishment in 1965. In 2000, the school was named in honor of Academy Award-winning actress Claire Trevor and her involvement with the school and its students.
CTSA is home to the departments of art, dance, drama and music. Undergraduate and graduate degree courses include extensive studio, workshop and performance experiences; theoretical and historical studies; and arts and technology practices.
Boasting an acclaimed, international faculty who work across a wide variety of disciplines and partner with others across campus, CTSA also provides excellent facilities to support artistic development and research. These include four theaters; a concert hall; three art galleries; the Beall Center for Art + Technology; electronic music studios; cutting-edge costume, lighting and scenic design studios; a stage production shop; digital arts labs; and a video production studio.