June 16, 2020


SUBJECT:    Department of Theatre and Dance Chair

After two years of dedicated service as Chair of the UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance, Professor Allan Havis has announced he will conclude his tenure as Chair effective June 30, 2020 and return to full-time teaching duties.

Since July 2018, Professor Havis has had a profound impact as chair on the Department of Theatre and Dance. When he was voted by department faculty to be presented to the Chancellor as the selected leader, Professor Havis outlined a renewed sense of arts commitment and pedagogical sustainability that was felt department-wide.

In addition to his duties teaching MFA and undergraduate playwriting, Professor Havis successfully led the department on key curricular decisions to raise the profile of undergraduate education for theatre and dance students plus our non-arts students. Under his leadership, the department doubled its offering of large, campus-wide film classes, and the undergraduate majors increased by 25%. He has made significant steps to provide increased opportunity for our undergraduate artists, including engaged meetings between undergraduate students and faculty, who exchanged information as artists and valuable resources.

Chair Havis also optimized departmental budgets and key administrative organizational operations. He consistently participated in strategic divisional meetings with all other leaders in the Division of Arts and Humanities, and his extensive experience at UC San Diego, combined with his generous spirit, allowed chairs and administrators to benefit from his institutional knowledge and wisdom.

In addition to providing students access to industry leaders — Chair Havis successfully sponsored a visit by actor Anna Deavere Smith for a student salon and public evening keynote for 2019’s Black History Month — he supported and supervised entries for the department’s Dr. Floyd Gaffney Playwriting National Competition for more than a decade, presenting public readings of undergraduate students’ scripts that highlight the African-American experience.

Last fall, Chair Havis went to Japan as our faculty host for Kyoto Laureate Ariane Mnouchkine’s ceremonies, which led to a Mnouchkine film festival in early March at UC San Diego. Moreover, he forged with La Jolla Playhouse a new-play commissioning program for MFA graduating students.

In the course of his 32 years commitment to UC San Diego, Professor Havis also served as Provost of Thurgood Marshall College for 10 years and a proud advocate for Preuss and Gompers charter schools. His impact on the campus has been deeply felt. In this role, his advocacy for the Department of Theatre and Dance, and efforts at celebrating and promoting art and our esteemed alumni, never ceased.

As provost, Havis launched the college’s artist in residence program, bringing more than a dozen artists of color to campus that included many Theatre and Dance alumni: the late James Avery, the late John Wesley, Hilary Ward and Monique Gaffney. For Avery, Havis wrote a one-person show on Marshall’s life that was performed in 2010 to celebrate Marshall College’s 40th anniversary.

Of note, Provost Havis sponsored campus visits for two Nobel Laureates, Derek Walcott and Wole Soyinka, to provide a master class for MFA playwrights, as well as a full day with Luis Valdez, regarded as the father of Chicano theater. Havis also serves as faculty director of the Film Studies minor, anchored at Marshall College since 2013.

It is because of these outstanding contributions and many more, that I ask you to join me in expressing sincere gratitude to Chair Havis for his leadership and dedication to the university, the Division of Arts and Humanities and, in particular, the Department of Theatre and Dance. We look forward to his continued commitment to advocating for the arts and community outreach.

Cristina Della Coletta
Dean, Division of Arts and Humanities