I am writing to share the news that UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture Dean Brett Steele will be stepping down from his role to become dean of the USC School of Architecture. His last day at UCLA will be Jan. 31, 2024. Plans for interim leadership of the school will be shared in the coming weeks.
Since joining UCLA in 2017, Dean Steele has overseen the recruitment of an extremely diverse and accomplished faculty, with more than half of the school’s current tenured faculty having joined during his deanship. Additionally, he oversaw the hiring of a new generation of senior leaders for UCLA Arts, bringing in directors Silvia Forni for the Fowler Museum and Edgar Miramontes for UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA), as well as key school leaders including the current associate dean for administration and inaugural associate dean and executive director for anti-racism, equity, diversity and inclusion (AEDI). Dean Steele also led a redefining of the school’s mission and vision around principles of AEDI, laying the foundation for the development of a five-year UCLA Arts AEDI Strategic Plan, a guiding framework that is informing a more comprehensive strategic plan now in the works at the school.
Dean Steele also oversaw the successful completion of two transformational capital projects: the award-winning UCLA Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios in Culver City, a world-class facility completed in 2019 dedicated to supporting emerging artists and strengthening L.A.’s position as an arts capital; and the UCLA Nimoy Theater, CAP UCLA’s new home for groundbreaking performing arts in Westwood. Both projects reinforce UCLA as one of the leading academic art institutions in the world and support our campuswide goal of deepening engagement with Los Angeles and its diverse communities.
At the request of Chancellor Block, Dean Steele served as the inaugural convener of UCLA’s senior arts leaders, now formally known as the Chancellor’s Council on the Arts, from 2017–20. This group is charged with amplifying and strengthening UCLA’s artistic and cultural offerings, ensuring their accessibility to and engagement with the campus and regional communities, and expanding their impact in alignment with the university’s strategic aims. Among his accomplishments at the helm of this group, Dean Steele oversaw the design and launch of GO ARTS UCLA, a first-ever, dedicated website bringing together arts-related activities across campus; and led extensive discussion and vision planning for a potential longer-term, large-scale Arts Gateway project at UCLA’s Lot 36.
While difficult to encapsulate all that Brett has done for UCLA and our broader community at the helm of the School of the Arts and Architecture, these are just a few of his many contributions. Chancellor Block and I are grateful for his steadfast leadership, and we hope you will join us in congratulating him on this next chapter.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost