Ryan Fisher, an active choral conductor and music education researcher, will become dean of Miami University's College of Creative Arts (CCA) on July 1.
Fisher, a native of Sulphur Springs, Texas, currently serves as interim dean of the College of Communications and Fine Arts (CCFA) and director of the Institute for Arts and Health at the University of Memphis. Over the last 10 years, he has also served as associate dean, coordinator of music education, chamber choir director, and associate director of choral activities of CCFA.
“I am delighted to welcome Ryan to the Miami Community,” said Elizabeth Mullenix, Miami’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “His leadership experience and his passion for the arts and creative industries position him well for the role of dean. I believe that he will be a wonderful partner to his CCA colleagues and fellow deans in advancing the goals of the college and the university."
"Miami truly has incredible faculty and students," Fisher said. "I was so impressed with how talented and intelligent the students are and how many are pursuing multiple majors and co-majors and still graduating in four years. It's really quite remarkable to work with a student population like that."
A strong advocate for the arts, Fisher was amazed by the progressive nature of CCA’s faculty and how the university is already considering the changing landscape of higher education, especially as it relates to the arts.
"Some of the program initiatives already brewing here align with some of the things that I've done at my previous institution," Fisher said. "It's really exciting to jump in on the innovative technologies and some of the cross ties between arts and health that have been started through initiatives here at Miami."
Fisher's arts advocacy can be seen in his leadership. He led efforts to create new academic programs, including music therapy, fashion design, fashion merchandising, and graduate certificates in arts entrepreneurship and vocology. As a leader of the Institute for Arts and Health at Memphis, he provides training, research, curricular development, and community engagement for arts-related interventions on health and wellbeing.
A passionate music educator, Fisher actively engages with the Memphis community and partners with nonprofit arts organizations to establish internship opportunities for students and collaborate on cultural events like the "Artists' Retreat," which promotes health and wellbeing for artists through activities such as mindfulness, drumming circles, healthy cooking, and drama therapy. As the dean of CCA, he plans to get acquainted with the Miami community and build partnerships with creative industries and area school districts.
Fisher also looks forward to working with Provost Mullenix, the former dean of CCA. "I'm really excited to work for a provost who understands the creative arts," Fisher said. "It means a lot to know already that the person I work for gets the value of arts programs to a university."
John Weigand, who has served as interim dean of CCA since June 2022, will finish his interim appointment on June 30 and resume his previous role as an associate dean in CCA.
“John Weigand has done an exceptional job as the interim dean of the College of Creative Arts,” Mullenix said. “He is a seasoned and compassionate administrator, and I feel so thankful that he stepped in to lead the CCA during this transitional period. He has not only provided stability, but truly advanced the work of the division – securing and stewarding, for example, one of the largest donor gifts in the history of the arts at Miami. Bravo!”
Fisher received a bachelor's degree in music education from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, and both a master's degree in choral conducting and a doctorate in music education from the University of North Texas.
In his spare time, Fisher enjoys weight training, attending cultural and arts events, and spending time outdoors with his wife, Heather, and their two children, Austin and Ava.