USC announced Monday the appointment of scholar and artist Emily Roxworthy as the dean of the USC School of Dramatic Arts, which produces more than 20 shows annually across four stages.
Roxworthy, described by USC as “a champion of diversity and interactive theater,” is currently associate dean of the UC San Diego’s Graduate Division, where she is responsible for the recruitment, retention and professional development of UCSD’s 7,000 graduate students.
“This opportunity is unparalleled,” Roxworthy said in a statement released by USC. “Both the theater and Hollywood are in the midst of a social justice movement, and the USC School of Dramatic Arts is perfectly situated to empower its students through creativity and the performing arts.”
USC President Carol Folt said Roxworthy “is the right person to lead the USC School of Dramatic Arts at this time of growth and opportunity. She has a track record of engaging her students and the community through the performing arts in ways that prompt deep dialogue and greater awareness.”
Roxworthy, whose appointment is effective July 1, has led UCSD’s joint doctoral program with UC Irvine in theater and drama and was vice chair of the UCSD Department of Theatre and Dance, where she developed programming across disciplines, including a collaboration with the UCSD School of Medicine, to assist with training on diversity and ethics issues.
Prior to her current role, Roxworthy spent four years as provost of UCSD’s Earl Warren College, an interdisciplinary undergraduate school, during which she was recognized with an award for her work on improving diversity and inclusivity. She also served as interim associate vice chancellor for the UCSD Center for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion.
Roxworthy combines research on race, diversity, social justice and history with the performing arts.
“Theater has been a model of both resistance and revival,” she said. “It is a powerful tool, and we are training gifted storytellers who have an impact.”
The Detroit native, who earned undergraduate and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University, is the founder and artistic director of Workplace Interactive Theatre, a company that performs diversity training workshops for organizations.
She also directed a 3D role-playing video game, which earned two National Endowment for the Humanities grants. “Drama in the Delta,” created in collaboration with the San Diego Supercomputer Center, reconstructed interracial and intercultural performances staged during World War II at the Rohwer and Jerome internment camps that incarcerated Japanese Americans in the Arkansas Delta.
As a professor, Roxworthy has taught such subjects as “Documentary Theatre,” a graduate course that gives students the opportunity to develop their own docudramas, and “Asian American Theatre,” a diversity, equity and inclusion undergraduate course.
The School of Dramatic Arts, one of USC’s six schools focused on the arts, offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and visual & performing arts; Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in acting for stage, screen and new media, musical theater, design, sound design, stage management and technical direction; and Master of Fine Arts degrees in acting and dramatic writing.