Lesley University names Richard Zauft as new dean of College of Art and Design

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — After a competitive nationwide search, Lesley University has named Richard Zauft dean of the College of Art and Design, one of Lesley’s four schools, which grants bachelor’s and master’s of fine arts degrees, as well as professional certificates in disciplines, including animation, illustration, photography and digital filmmaking.

Zauft is currently associate vice president of academic affairs for Emerson College in Boston, where he also served as executive director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, interim dean of liberal arts, and dean of graduate studies. Previously, Zauft served as associate dean of the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for six years, and chair of the art department at the University of South Dakota. He was a professor of visual arts for twenty-four years and is a two-time project grant recipient from the National Endowment for the Arts. He earned his bachelor’s degree and master of fine arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and earned a certificate in the management development program at Harvard University.

Zauft’s commitment to diversity led to the creation of the annual New England Higher Education Recruitment Consortium’s Diversity Recruitment Conference. Outside academia, Zauft has served for three years as president of the College Book Art Association and two years as president of the Society of Printers.

“Richard Zauft brings to Lesley University’s College of Art and Design the skills, experiences, and abilities to advance the college to the next level of excellence,” said Selase Williams, university provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“He is a talented artist, gifted art educator, outstanding university administrator, and a proven trail blazer. Richard takes the helm of the university’s professional art school at a particularly propitious time in its history, with the development of exciting new programs, new faculty opportunities, and the move into the $48 million Lunder Arts Center, which will open its doors in January in Cambridge’s Porter Square.”

Aiding Zauft’s transition, and witnessing the fruits of many years of labor, will be outgoing Dean Stan Trecker, who will remain with the university in the capacity of dean emeritus.

“Lesley University is an innovator in integrating the arts across the full range of university disciplines, whether in education or counseling and expressive therapies, demonstrating the extent to which it values the arts as central to academic rigor,” said Zauft. “I’m privileged to be joining a vital community of emerging artists, faculty, staff, and engaged neighbors at this exciting time. I look forward to helping lead the College of Art and Design in its new Cambridge location to become one of the top art and design schools in the country. That begins in the community through learning partnerships with students and neighbors, and extends to the world through an engaged faculty and alumni.”

As an art maker and designer, Zauft’s work includes large photographs of “constructed unrealities,” letterpress printed broadsides and artists’ books, and identity and branding designs.

Zauft has lectured extensively and exhibited across the country. He has been recognized as a visiting artist at Columbia College of Art and Design in Chicago, at Indiana University, Washington University in St. Louis, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, San Francisco Center for the Book, Dartmouth College, Wellesley College and Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Zauft begins at Lesley in mid-July.