Winthrop University has hired Jeff Bellantoni, former vice president for academic affairs at Ringling College of Art and Design, as the new dean for the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Winthrop officials said Bellantoni possesses a successful record of leadership, development and administration of design, art, and liberal arts programs at multiple institutions. He will join the Winthrop University community on July 1.
Debra Boyd, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, noted that Bellantoni’s strategic leadership and administrative experience, his focus on creating supportive environments for students and faculty, and his successful entrepreneurial endeavors made him the right candidate for the deanship. “He impressed the campus and community members with his passion for and dedication to the arts as critical to the human experience, and I am certain that he will apply that passion, dedication, and skill to the arts at Winthrop,” she said.
With a career spanning more than 25 years as an arts educator, designer, and author, Bellantoni most recently served as vice president for academic affairs at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. As the chief academic officer of the college, he held responsibility for all the academic affairs of the institution including academic departments and programs, as well as collaborative enterprises, communications and marketing, and continuing studies and lifelong learning. He led several key initiatives, including developing degree programs in creative writing and visual studies, helping secure a $3 million donation for a new Visual Arts Center, overseeing successful accreditation visits and creating a student innovation fund.
Bellantoni said it is an honor to be the next dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “I look forward to working closely with its accomplished and dedicated faculty, shaping the next generation of creative leaders and promoting the arts as critical to our cultural and economic prosperity,” he said. “Winthrop’s reputation for providing an educational experience that blends liberal arts, professional programs, and civic engagement attracted me to this opportunity. I look forward to collaborating both across the university and regionally to establish new and exciting cross-disciplinary initiatives.”
From 2008-14, Bellantoni was chair of the nationally ranked Graduate Communications Design Department at Pratt Institute in New York, where he established the MFA program, Pratt Press, and the Graduate Design Guild. He has held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Connecticut, New York-based Mercy College, VCU School of the Arts, and the Wanganui School of Design in New Zealand. He earned an MFA in visual communications from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BFA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Bellantoni is co-author and designer of several internationally published titles on Typography and Media – including the best-selling titles Type in Motion and Moving Type, Designing for Time and Space – and he has written on graphic design for How magazine and various other design publications. His design work has been recognized by Print magazine, the AIGA (50 Books/50 Covers), and Connecticut Art Director’s Club; and he presented at conferences, events and educational institutions around the world.
He will be moving to the area with his wife, the ceramist Kim Westad.
The College of Visual and Performing Arts is the academic home to more than 650 undergraduate students majoring in 12 areas and more than 50 graduate students in its six master’s programs and one post-baccalaureate certificate program. The college has a total of 105 faculty members, of whom 52 are full time and 53 are part-time lecturers who are practicing professionals from the surrounding metropolitan area.
Winthrop’s programs of dance, fine arts, interior design, music and theatre are nationally accredited. In addition, Winthrop’s arts education programs (art, music, theatre and dance) are accredited through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.