The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University has appointed Brad Dell as chair of the Department of Music and Theatre. Dell, an associate professor of theatre and director of ISU Theatre at Iowa State, begins his five-year term on July 1.
“I am extremely excited and honored to collaborate with my outstanding colleagues and students to continue building a Department of Music and Theatre that is a sanctuary for all—an environment where every time someone steps into a classroom, enters rehearsal, joins a meeting or walks down a hallway, they feel like they are welcomed home,” Dell said. “I hope to promote a culture of joy, opportunity and support that empowers every student, faculty and staff member in our community to thrive and seek success.”
Dell joined the Iowa State faculty in 2005 and was named director of ISU Theatre in 2018. During his tenure as director, the program has had sustained regional and national success at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), participated in a thriving LAS Dean’s Artist-in-Residence program, generated a broad variety of local and regional community partnerships and created productive community conversations to positively advance issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
A nationally-regarded leader in educational theatre, Dell is a 2019 recipient of the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion, the most prestigious award given by KCACTF, an affiliate of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
“Brad has provided tremendous leadership for the ISU Theatre program and has a vibrant vision for the Department of Music and Theatre,” said Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Our Department of Music and Theatre is home to world-class faculty and a thriving new generation of student artists. Brad is a dedicated and respected leader, and I am confident he will sustain the department’s continued success.”
The Department of Music and Theatre engages more than 1,000 Iowa State students in concert, jazz and athletic bands, and orchestra; 400 students in its four choirs; and 450 students in theatre and performing arts. Students from all majors regularly perform at prestigious regional, national and international venues and competitions. Faculty represent a distinguished combination of artistic and academic excellence.
Dell is the current national co-vice chair of KCACTF and will become national co-chair in 2023. He recently helped create and implement the organization’s representation, equity and diversity initiative. Dell has also served as a KCACTF regional chair, vice-chair, festival coordinator, workshop coordinator and arts leadership coordinator. In 2017, the Des Moines Convention and Visitor’s Bureau awarded him their Champion Award for bringing the festival to Des Moines in 2017 and 2018.
Dell is the recipient of the 2021 Broadway World Des Moines Educator of the Decade Award, a 2019 ISU Student Government Outstanding Staff Member of the Year Commendation, the 2019 Kennedy Center Gold Medallion Award, the 2017 Iowa State Alumni Association Faculty/Staff Inspiration Award and the 2017 ISU LAS Outstanding Teaching Award, among other honors.
Dell holds a master of fine arts in theatre from Western Illinois University. He has served in leadership or service roles with numerous area arts organizations, including Iowa Stage Theatre Company, Story Theatre Company, Des Moines Performing Arts and the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards.