UNT College of Visual Arts and Design names new dean

Monday, March 15, 2021 - 08:56
 Karen Hutzel, an internationally recognized and community-minded arts leader, has been named the new dean for CVAD
Karen Hutzel, an internationally recognized and community-minded arts leader, has been named the new dean for CVAD

DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas welcomes a new leader for its top-ranked programs in visual arts and design.

Karen Hutzel, an internationally recognized and community-minded arts leader, has been named the new dean for the College of Visual Arts and Design.

“Dr. Hutzel is a collaborative, caring and inclusive leader,” UNT Provost Jennifer Cowley said. “She is deeply committed to our standing as both a Tier One research university and a Minority-Serving Institution and will be working with the CVAD community to advance initiatives in support of our mission.”

Hutzel comes to UNT from The Ohio State University, where she serves as the chair of the Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy.

Hutzel will start her new position on July 1. She succeeds Greg Watts, who has served as CVAD dean since 2015.

While at Ohio State, Hutzel earned a Fulbright Specialist award to expand an existing partnership with the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica. The award enabled her to design online courses and programs for the school and develop a new study abroad program for Ohio State students in Jamaica. She has worked closely with art educators throughout the globe in her role as North American World Councilor for the International Society for Education through Art, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization partner.

As the founder and former president of the National Art Education Association’s Community Arts Caucus, Hutzel has a commitment to community-engaged education and research.

“I believe public higher education institutions have a responsibility to contribute to society by educating citizens to live and participate fully in a democracy, to produce scholarship that advances our collective knowledge to improve our lives and challenge our assumptions, and to model responsible, equitable and inclusive practices in all that we do as an institution,” Hutzel said.

Beyond her leadership roles, Hutzel has published numerous articles and book chapters as well as co-edited a book about the transformative power of art education in K-12 urban schools.

Creativity has always been interwoven into Hutzel’s life. Growing up, she was surrounded by family members who were involved in many artistic pursuits.

“My father, a retired pipefitter, had a darkroom in the house when I was very young. My sister makes gorgeous artistic quilts as gifts to show her love to family and friends. My aunt is a longtime, accomplished potter. They are all grounded to the Earth and the environment, to create and serve the public good. I was lucky to be born into that,” Hutzel said.

In college, she first studied visual communication design for her bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and a doctorate from Florida State University – both in art education.

UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design graduates more artists and designers than any other Texas institution and is one of the largest producers of university-certified art educators in the state. In her new role, Hutzel is looking forward to building upon the college’s strengths and joining a community filled with creative ambition and expertise.

“My experiences in leadership both inside and outside of academia have culminated in a way that has prepared me well to move into a new role leading a top-ranked arts college at an incredible university,” Hutzel said. “UNT shares many of my values for public higher education: a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and a focus on innovation and community. With a high percentage of first-generation college students, UNT is appealing to me as a first-generation college graduate myself. I’m also excited by UNT’s location in a major metropolitan area, allowing for engaged learning and contributions to a robust arts sector for the benefit of our students, the arts institutions and the community at large.”


Considered one of the leading visual arts schools in the nation, UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design offers educational opportunities including 29 degree programs and concentrations ranging from art history to new media. Our communication design program is ranked first in the Southwest, and we offer the state’s only doctorate in art education.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

Media Contacts:

Heather Noel