Art department hires Michael Henderson to replace resigned chair

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The Art department has hired a new chair from within the department.

Michael Henderson, art professor since 2001 has been selected as the new chair after previous chair Tony Ship stepped down in the fall 2012.

“The Art Department is continuing to grow and has a lot of opportunities and challenges in the coming years,” Henderson said. “The faculty has a lot of ideas and plans for the future. I am excited about the opportunity to serve the department as chair and hope I can help the faculty and students achieve some of their goals.”

Henderson was initially hired to teach computer animation and graphic design. He helped develop the degree program in Computer Animation.

Henderson currently teaches studio art courses in painting and drawing, museum and gallery practices, and the history of animation.

Henderson is also a founding member of BOX13 ArtSpace in Houston.

Henderson has many goals for the art department, including the development of a new degree and for the art program to have its own building.

“Another goal of the department is to increase our visibility in the community,” Henderson said. “We are working to bring more people from the local and university communities to the exhibitions in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, and other events like the Animation Festival and the Art Auction, which takes place April 27. We are also planning on increasing our community engagement through courses that include student involvement with community partners.”

Henderson was selected by a pool of candidates following a national search according to interim chair Wayne Barrett, music professor. Barrett said that the art department selected their chair differently than most departments do.

“In the art department after all of the finalists have been presented the search committee meets with the entire faculty and the whole faculty votes,” Barrett said. “It is very inclusive. He really was chosen as finalists not only by the committee but by the whole faculty.”

Barrett said that Henderson got the job because of his leadership and knowledge of art at the college-level.

“He has strong attributes, and the fact that he has been in the department a number of years and he has proven and demonstrated his leadership skills and knowledge about art programs,” Barrett said. “The faculty has a lot of confidence in him. He is sort of a go-to person on the faculty when things come up.”

The university is seeking accreditation from NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design).

“Michael has had a good deal of experience interacting with NASAD and he has given valuable leadership in the seeking this NASAD accreditation,” Barrett said.

Barrett said that this will be a smooth transition for Henderson since he has been so involved in the department.

Henderson will begin his new position in the fall.

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