UCLA Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
To: Administrative Officers, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Faculty in the School of Theater, Film and Television, Vice Chancellors and Vice Provosts, and School of Theater, Film and Television Staff
Professor Teri Schwartz has informed me of her intent to step down as dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT) on December 31, 2019, after tirelessly serving 10 years as dean. We are grateful that Dean Schwartz has offered to continue serving as dean until the end of the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, after which she intends to devote her time to social impact entertainment, creative work and teaching. In order to allow Dean Schwartz to focus her efforts on bringing TFT’s fundraising for the Centennial Campaign to a successful conclusion, Professor Brian Kite has agreed to serve as special academic senior associate dean commencing July 1 to oversee daily administration of TFT, including academic decisions such as admissions, budget and staff management.
As the first woman dean of TFT, Dean Schwartz has been a dynamic leader, enhancing the excellence of the school by re-imagining what entertainment and performing arts education can be for the 21st century. She has strategically re-framed TFT as the “storytelling school” grounded in humanistic storytelling, diversity, social impact, new global and industry partnerships and cutting-edge technology. She has supported faculty and students’ creative and research projects as well as conferences. She has also developed new online and professional certificate programs along with unique digital classes and projects with YouTube, Google and other tech partners. Dean Schwartz revitalized and expanded the TFT Executive Board by bringing in more than a dozen distinguished entertainment and performing arts industry leaders who have funded 110 scholarships to date for TFT students and have helped launch numerous workshops and programs.
Diversity has been central to her mission and leadership. She has led the successful recruitment of a new generation of outstanding faculty with 18 new hires since 2014 comprising 57 percent women and 52 percent faculty of color. Dean Schwartz launched and funds Elevate, the first organization for students of color at TFT. She created the Summer Creative Workshop, Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Story, an immersive storytelling workshop for underserved Los Angeles high school students of color. Dean Schwartz received the 2018 UCLA Community School Partnership Award for Service and Dedication for her work in this arena. In 2017, she was appointed by the UC Board of Regents to the Board of Trustees of the California State Summer School of the Arts for her focus on diversity in entertainment and performing arts education. As a member of the NAACP Entertainment Industry Advisory Board, she has collaborated to launch a new paid internship program for TFT women students of color with A+E Networks.
Dean Schwartz has also generously dedicated much of her efforts and resources to student success. She has built high-impact industry and academic partnerships that not only educate students, but also give them real-world experiences and professional contacts in creative industries through projects such as Francis Ford Coppola’s Distant Vision live cinema project; the Telluride Film Festival Film/Lab; the Waterschool feature documentary, the Storytelling Institute in Cannes, France in partnership with the Cannes Film Festival, Université Côte d’Azur, City of Cannes and Vivendi/Canal+, and the Hearst Foundation Playwriting Lab. Dean Schwartz has also secured new sources for student support, including unique full-ride endowed scholarships for Arab, Indian, African-American and Latino women. During the past two years, TFT students have been awarded more than $5 million in donor-funded scholarships in the past two years alone. These include the dean’s own Teri Schwartz Family and Friends Scholarship Fund, which she established in 2010 to support diverse students for merit and need. Altogether, under Dean Schwartz’ leadership, the TFT Centennial Campaign, “Creating What’s Next,” has successfully raised more than $100 million to support individuals and programs across the school including Dean Schwartz creating the Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment.
Chancellor Block and I wish to thank Dean Schwartz for her service as dean and we look forward to her ongoing contributions to UCLA and TFT through her outstanding creative work and teaching. We wish her every success in this next chapter of her distinguished career.
The announcement of a process for selecting an interim dean will come soon, and I will keep you informed as we initiate the search for a permanent dean.
Michael S. Levine
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost