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NKU School of the Arts announces several promotions to leadership team

Northern Kentucky University has appointed several new directors and program heads for its School of the Arts.

Matthew Albritton has been appointed as the next director of the School of the Arts, a position previously held by Ken Jones. Albritton served as the Visual Arts Program head for the past two years and brings 17 years of experience at NKU to his new position. He began his teaching career at NKU in 2001 as a temporary lecturer, followed by a tenure track appointment and promotion to associate professor.

Albritton earned his B.A. in biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and his M.F.A. in photography from the University of Texas at Austin. He has won faculty awards at NKU for outstanding non-tenure track teaching and excellence in outreach and public engagement. His research and teaching interests include service learning, community engagement through documentary photography, and a long-term commitment to photographing the birthplaces of all the U.S. presidents.

Ron Shaw has been named the next associate director of the School of the Arts, a position previously held by Thomas McGovern. Shaw brings 29 years of teaching experience at NKU with a long track record of engagement in university service, including eight years as University Curriculum Committee chair, 16 years on faculty senate, and five years on the general education committee. In addition, he was involved in the last two general education realignments and program reviews for Theatre + Dance.

Shaw holds a B.A. in music, speech and theatre from Heidelberg College, an M.A. in theatre from Bowling Green State University, and an M.F.A. in design from Northwestern University. He has worked as a set, lighting, and costume designer for such theaters as Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, ArtReach Touring Theatre, Blowing Rock Playhouse, Charlotte Repertory Theatre, and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.

Shaw has designed a great number of world premieres and is currently the production manager and stage manager for the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus. Shaw has designed scenery for many shows at NKU in addition to teaching scene design, comparative arts, scene painting, properties construction, and rendering and model building.

Michael Hatton will serve as the program head for Theatre + Dance. Hatton received his M.F.A. in theatre pedagogy and Directing from Virginia Commonwealth University, and his B.F.A. in theatre management from NKU, and he has been a full-time faculty since 2005. He has served in various forms of university governance and service, including general education, university and college curriculum, e-learning, master advising, international education, and planning committees, and currently serves on the executive board of the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad.

Additionally, Hatton has won awards for teaching, including from the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities as well as the NKU Michael C.C. and Susan S. Adams Outstanding Non-Tenure Track Faculty award. He is a freelance director and stage manager having worked with numerous regional theatre companies.

Lisa Jameson will serve as the program head for Visual Arts. Jameson has been the area coordinator for art education at NKU since 1996. She received her M.F.A. in drawing and M.A. in art education with teacher certification from the University of Cincinnati. She works regularly with area P-12 teachers, museum educators and local schools on collaborative projects involving university students.

Jameson is a past president of the Kentucky Art Education Association, which provides professional development opportunities for art educators at all levels. In addition, Jameson is a visual artist who has been exhibiting for over 20 years. Her work is included in many collections, including the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Brad McCombs will serve as the program head for Music. McCombs received a B.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and a M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University. His interest in leadership of the arts rests in the power of the arts to transform individuals and communities that both inspires and provokes thought.

McCombs’ research focuses on creating powerful connections with an audience whether they are physical, virtual or somewhere in-between. His role as an artist is comprehensive and embraces activism, anthropology, ecology, and sociology. His regional public art project, the Driftwood Institute, engages students to help educate the community about our watershed. McCombs has shown his work both nationally and internationally including a recent project in collaboration with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, where he created visuals to accompany the live performance of Darius Milhaud’s “La Création du Monde.”

Created in 2015, the School of the Arts is the creative engine of NKU, showcasing dance, music, theatre, and visual arts while preparing students to be creative trailblazers in the arts and in their careers. With 33 degree options, SOTA students find creative intersections that reflect their passion and their career goals.

Additionally, minors within SOTA come from every college on campus from nursing to mathematics, political science to construction management, bringing varied viewpoints into each classroom and fueling creativity and collaboration campus-wide. SOTA’s Prep programs, including the nationally recognized String Project, engage students from children to adults annually, engaging the community and creating the musicians and performers of the future. To learn more, please visit nku.edu/sota.

NKU School of the Arts

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One Comment

  1. Roger Auge II says:

    The story does not say where Ken Jones is going. Is he retiring? Moving? Going to another position in the university? What? Where? How? Jones is responsible for bringing the NKU theatre program to national class in terms of talent, staff and productions. Let us know of his moves.

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