June 6, 2022
Dear USC Kaufman School Community,
On behalf of President Folt, I am pleased to announce that we will welcome Dr. Julia M. Ritter as dean of the USC Kaufman School of Dance, effective July 1, 2022.
Dr. Ritter will join us from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where she is a professor in the Dance Department and has served as Department Chair and Artistic Director for more than a decade.
An artist, scholar, and administrator with expertise in dance and immersive performance, dance and higher education, improvisation and choreography, Dr. Ritter has established excellence in all facets of artistic and academic leadership. She has wide knowledge of curriculum development, strategic planning, fundraising, a sustained commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a clear vision of the collaborative future of dance.
In recognition of her interdisciplinary excellence, Dr. Ritter received the inaugural Rutgers Presidential Outstanding Faculty Scholar Award in 2021. She has received numerous major awards for her research on dance and immersive performance, and her book, Tandem Dances: Choreographing Immersive Performance (Oxford University Press), is the first to explore the role of dance in the creation and reception of immersive theater and performance.
Other major recognitions Dr. Ritter has garnered include three Fulbright Scholar awards for her choreographic research; her work has been additionally funded by a host of state and national organizations committed to the role of arts in society. She has presented her scholarship and choreography at conferences and arts venues across the globe.
Select achievements include co-founding the Integrated Dance Collaboratory, which brings together artists and scientists to explore the full spectrum of dance’s unique rehabilitative, therapeutic, and expressive potential. She also recently led the establishment of the UniDance Hub, a consortium of Big Ten Dance Departments offering virtual master classes and networking opportunities with renowned faculty and alumni during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Ritter’s hire is a historic step for our USC Kaufman community and USC as a whole. As our first dean solely dedicated to our dancers, Dr. Ritter will amplify The New Movement and cultivate the vast potential of our Los Angeles-based, collaborative dance community. USC Kaufman faculty and students will have innovative curricula, interdisciplinary collaborations, the opportunity to advance social justice through their art, and a school-wide ethos that promotes inclusiveness, belonging, and growth.
We deeply appreciate the contributions of the Kaufman School of Dance Search Advisory Committee, co-chaired by Elizabeth Graddy, Executive Vice Provost, and Pedro Noguera, Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education. Our search also benefitted from the input from supporters of USC Kaufman and from the guidance and wisdom of visionary founder Glorya Kaufman, who is deeply dedicated to nurturing the evolution of our dance community. We are grateful to all of you as well for providing feedback.
We again thank Rob Cutietta for launching the USC Kaufman School and serving as its inaugural dean. We wish him well in his next chapter.
Please join President Folt and me in welcoming Julia and her partner, Jorge Barrientos, to the Trojan Family. What our USC Kaufman community has achieved together in just a few years is nothing short of phenomenal, and we look forward to working with Dr. Ritter to support a bright future of innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to the study and practice of dance.
Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs