Southern Utah University (SUU) is pleased to announce that Dean Shauna Mendini will serve as the Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs starting July 1, 2024. Mendini, who was preparing for retirement after a notable academic career, steps into this vital role as Jon Anderson, the current Provost, transitions to his new position as President of PennWest. The University will conduct a national search to find a permanent Provost.

Mendini has been an integral part of the SUU community for three decades, spending the last 14 years as the Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA). Under her leadership, CPVA has seen substantial growth, nearly doubling its student enrollment and adding 16 new programs, including three master's degrees. Impressively, about 80% of CPVA alumni work professionally in their fields post-graduation. Mendini has also driven significant expansion projects for the arts, such as the Southern Utah Museum of Art, Bristlecone Hall, and the new Music Center.

“Dean Mendini is an outstanding leader and invaluable member of our University,” said SUU President Mindy Benson in a press release. “We are fortunate to have someone with her experience and dedication to step into the role of Interim Provost. She is SUU’s longest-serving Dean and has a deep understanding of SUU’s academic programming and institutional priorities. I’m appreciative that she’s postponed her retirement to help the institution during this transitional time.”

SUU Media Relations
SUU Media Relations

Mendini expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to serve in this interim capacity. "I am honored to assist the University during this pivotal time," said Mendini. "While I was looking forward to retirement, the opportunity to support our campus community and ensure a smooth transition is a responsibility I am delighted to undertake."

Recently, Mendini was honored with the Board of Trustees Award of Excellence, recognizing her outstanding achievements in teaching, scholarship, administration, innovation, and public service. Her mission as Dean has been to help students realize their creative potential through a personalized and rigorous learning environment, fostering experiential education, and contributing to global cultural enrichment. Under her tenure, CPVA achieved national recognition and accreditation in multiple disciplines, making SUU the first public university in Utah to receive such broad accreditation. Additionally, CPVA offers more online arts programs than any other state institution.

Mendini’s journey with SUU began in 1986 when she joined as a featured dancer in Burch Mann’s American Folk Ballet. She became a full-time faculty member in 1993, eventually leading the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, and in 2010, she was appointed CPVA Dean, steering the college through its most significant growth period.

The national search for SUU’s next Provost will aim to find a candidate who can build on Mendini’s strong foundation and explore new academic opportunities and innovations.

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Gallery Credit: Dr. T

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