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Student engagement takes center stage for Dean’s Advisory Council

Published October 24, 2023
A group of smiling people in garnet and gold post in the University President's Box in this keepsake photo.

The College of Fine Arts Dean’s Advisory Council met in Tallahassee over Homecoming weekend.

Over Family Weekend, the College of Fine Arts hosted the Fall meeting of its Dean’s Advisory Council in Tallahassee. Members are made up of alumni and friends who represent and support the academic programs in the College.  

During the meeting, members learned about the Colleges latest achievements and exciting news, discussed ways to engage alumni and donors, and enjoyed some first-hand experiences with the arts. Members attended a performance of Adele Myers & Dancers T.W.I.S.T., 9-to-5 the Musical, and learned about the College’s Art Therapy program.  

Seeing students in action is important, but there is more to volunteer leadership than entertainment.  

“As a council, we give back financially and act as advocates for the arts at FSU in our communities. But we also offer up our time – while on campus and throughout the year – as one-on-one mentors, class speakers, and just make ourselves available to the faculty. Student engagement really is the most rewarding part of volunteer leadership.”   

-Brett Player, Council Chair 

“Learning directly from and connecting with professionals is critical for our students. We were delighted that four Council members hosted in-person experiences for more than 50 students over the weekend in Dance, Theatre and Interior Architecture & Design.” 

-James Frazier, Dean 


Students participate in a lighting class.

Doug Hildeman (MFA Technical Direction 2008) spent time with first-year students in the MFA Technical Direction program to learn about their recent achievements and provide insights on transitioning from a graduate degree to the professional world. “Seeing the work that students are doing, in person, made me proud to be an alum of the program.” 

In the afternoon, Hildeman hosted a Master Class to introduce students to architectural lighting. “My colleagues at Pixelumen Lab consider our work to be at the intersection of architecture and entertainment…architainment if you will. It was rewarding to show these students different applications for the skills they are learning in technical theatre…the job opportunities are just endless. 

Whittley (center) with Theatre MFA students.

Tirrell Whittley connected with graduate students in the MFA Theatre Management program on Friday afternoon to provide insight on Producing a New Musical. Whittley has several film production credits to his name and added theatrical producing to the roster last year with the premiere of Trading Places at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre.  

“Having seen Trading Places during its Atlanta debut, it was fascinating to learn about Mr. Whittley’s contribution to the production. I appreciate his insights surrounding investment in commercial theatre and the lifecycle of those productions.”

Lizzie Powers, MFA Theatre Management Candidate  

Interior Architecture & Design

Barbara Heard speaks to FSU students in North Carolina

Barbara Heard (BS Interior Design 1981) worked with Associate Professor Stephanie Sickler to bring 22 students from FSU to High Point Market in North Carolina. High Point Market is the largest residential furniture market in the United States. With more than 2,000 exhibitors, the market offers more educational opportunities than several conferences combined and endless networking opportunities. 

“Thanks to dedicated faculty and a giving design community, these students get an incredible learning experience packed into just 3 days! It is an honor to work with Stephanie Sickler for the second year in a row to add opportunities for the students with furniture industry partners, like Global Views and Surya.”

Barbara Muse Heard  



People dancing together in a studio

Students participate in an master class with Adele Myers

Adele Myers (MFA Dance 2000), along with members of her company Adele Myers & Dancers, provided a Master Class for more than twenty dance students on Thursday, October 18 before the company performed its newest work T.W.I.S.T. (These Women in Space & Time) as part of FSU’s Opening Nights.  

Two people on a stage sitting in chairs

Dean James Frazier and Adele Myers

In a post-performance discussion, led by Dean James Frazier, Myers reminisced about her time at FSU.  

“To return to the same theater where I launched AMD 23 years ago was grounding in an otherwise topsy turvy time for the live arts these days. Ending our tour of TWIST at FSU offered us a joyful, healing bountiful closure. My heart felt full.  

[The company] felt equally as energized and nourished in our engagement with the students. They were so open and available to our offerings with such positive spirits. It was a genuine pleasure to engage with them both virtually and in person. I look forward to building upon this ongoing engagement with the students as part of the Dean’s Advisory Council.” 

This meeting comes as the College of Fine Arts is celebrating its Year of Anniversaries, honoring several important milestone events for the arts at FSU. The Dean’s Advisory Council plays an important role in championing and promoting the programs and accomplishments of the arts community at FSU.  

For updates about Year of Anniversaries events, visit or follow the College of Fine Arts on Instagram at @fsucfa.  

Interested in volunteer leadership with the arts at FSU? Let us know at Secure Forms | Volunteer Leadership Interest Form (