UC Santa Cruz names new dean of the arts

David Yager has been appointed the new dean of the UC Santa Cruz Arts Division, effective July 1, 2009.

New dean of the Arts Division, David Yager

David Yager—an innovative visual artist with a wide expertise in exploring how the arts can be applied to directly address social problems—has been appointed the new dean of the UC Santa Cruz Arts Division, effective July 1.

Yager will come to Santa Cruz from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he is Distinguished Professor and Wilson Elkins Professor of Visual Arts—and founder/executive director of the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, founder/director of the Innovation and Design Lab, and founder/past director of the Imaging Research Center.

Yager is also a photographer who has exhibited nationally and internationally, and has lectured throughout the U.S. His work can be found in the permanent collections of such major institutions as the Chicago Art Institute and the Museum of Modern Art.

Yager’s most recent accomplishment is his collaboration with the National Academy of Science on “Visual Culture and BioScience,” available as an online symposium and book.

“With over 25 years of experience as both an academic administrator and as a visionary of the arts, David Yager is an ideal choice to lead the UC Santa Cruz Arts Division,” noted UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal.

“He has an extensive track record in creating new and innovative undergraduate and graduate programs, and in successfully collaborating with a wide variety of campus and community partners,” Blumenthal added.

During a 12-year tenure as chair of the UMBC Visual Arts department, Yager attracted national attention for the department’s emerging research programs. In 1989, he founded the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture to explore social and cultural issues linked to visual arts—focusing on how design can contribute to solutions that directly address social problems.

In 2006, Yager founded the Innovation and Design Laboratory, where he works with graduate students and industries to create and publish new knowledge in the health and wellness fields in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medical Institution. As an artist and designer, he researches and oversees the design of new technologies and processes to simplify and enhance health care delivery to improve patient outcomes.

Yager was also instrumental in helping UMBC to establish the first M.F.A. program in imaging and digital arts in the country.

“This is an exciting opportunity for me to be part of an incredibly talented, research-oriented, and forward-thinking faculty,” Yager noted.

“As dean, there are some important opportunities to expand the arts and UCSC’s recognition on a regional and national level, and I look forward to helping build new and broad community support for the arts,” he added.

Yager holds an honorary Doctor of Art and Design degree from DeMontfort University in the U.K. He earned his B.A. from the University of Connecticut and his M.F.A. from Florida State University.

He will succeed Acting Dean David Evan Jones who has served as interim UCSC dean of the arts since September of 2008.