The Division of Academic Affairs provides a broad range of services to faculty and staff to promote their professional development and enhance their education.

A Message from the Provost

Dear Colleagues, 

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) embraces diverse, imaginative expression and scholarly activity as the creative and artistic hub of the university. In the search for a new dean, we sought a “dynamic, strategic, and collaborative individual to lead the college with integrity and humility,” and our efforts were rewarded. 

Rubén Graciani will assume the role of Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts on April 5, 2021. After a highly competitive, national search, I am delighted that he has accepted our offer to serve in this role. Mr. Graciani will work with colleagues throughout campus and surrounding communities to facilitate innovation, creativity, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and engagement in teaching and learning, scholarship, and service in the arts. His role will champion the arts at JMU through recruitment, development, inclusion, mentorship, and retention of diverse and highly qualified faculty, students and staff.  

Mr. Graciani joined JMU in 2017 as professor and school director for the School of Theatre and Dance (STAD). In that role, he oversaw the administration of three majors and managed multiple complex budgets. In collaboration with STAD faculty and the CVPA dean’s office, he participated in the creation and implantation of the Madison New Works Lab, a nationally recognized incubator for the development of new plays and musicals. Most recently, Mr. Graciani served as acting/interim dean of CVPA, managing a college of 196 faculty and staff and 1100+ students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  

After earning his B.F.A. in Dance from the State University of New York, Purchase College, Mr. Graciani went on to receive an M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from the University of Maryland, College Park. He moved into academic leadership after a successful professional dance career with the Mark Morris Dance Group and Joe Goode Performance Group, among others.  At the Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts, he served as chair of the Dance Department and Associate Artistic Director of the Conservatory.  

Mr. Graciani’s recent creative scholarship as a choreographer includes Purigado, with 6 dancers and music by Ezio Bosso and Triptych, with 10 dancers and 100 musicians from the JMU School of Music, featuring composer Tarik O’Regan. His 2020 master class was with DanceWorks in Chicago, Il. He is an active member of the National Association of Schools of Dance Commission on Accreditation and acts as a visiting evaluator. 

Please join me in extending warm congratulations to Rubén! 

I would like to express my gratitude to Dean Bob Kolvoord and all members of the search committee for their outstanding work on behalf of the college. The faculty and the university were well represented through their high standards and commitment to the hiring process. 

Heather Coltman 


Heather Coltman 2020
Dr. Heather Coltman
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

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