Therese Dolan steps down as Tyler dean

Therese Dolan, Tyler School of Art’s interim dean, announced she will resign June 30.

At a time of change and excitement for the Tyler School of Art, its interim dean announced her resignation.

Therese Dolan, the interim dean of Tyler, made the announcement Thursday. Her resignation will be effective June 30. Dolan assumed the position in January 2008.

“We are extremely grateful to Terry Dolan and wish her well as she returns to the faculty,” said Lisa Staiano-Coico, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, in an e-mail interview. “She is a respected art historian and a beloved teacher.”

Perhaps one of the biggest accomplishments during Dolan’s brief tenure as interim dean was overseeing the move of the art school from its Elkins Park campus to its new $75 million home at 12th and Norris streets.

The building, which had been in the works for years, is one of the Temple’s biggest selling points.

“Terry Dolan did a superb job guiding Tyler through the challenging transition into its fabulous, new, state-of-the-art facility on Main Campus,” Staiano-Coico said. “And, as President [Ann Weaver] Hart said, she did so with grace.”

Dolan, who was unavailable for comment by press time, has been a faculty member with Temple’s art history department since 1980. Her specialties are 19th-century French art and contemporary art.

In January, under Dolan’s reign, Tyler snagged the Jack Wolgin International Prize in the Fine Arts, the world’s largest monetary award for a fine arts institution. The prize represented a monumental highlight of both her one-and-a-half years as interim dean and of Tyler’s history.

“We have such a high-ranked art program, and we have such a high reputation,” Dolan told The Temple News in January. “People only give to success.”

According to U.S. News and World Report, Tyler’s fine arts program ranks 14th in the nation.
Her tenure as dean also saw a small controversy.

In August 2008, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on alumni donations to Tyler. Dolan was quoted as saying while alumni from the medical and business schools “have deep pockets, ours are still waitressing” and aren’t able to give as much back.

In a response on the Tyler listserv, Dolan said she was “dismayed” that her words were “taken out of context.”

The article struck the wrong chord for some Tyler students, but others are upset to see her step down.
“It’s a shame,” said Liz Schneffer, an undeclared freshman at Tyler. “I liked the way the school was run.”

Robert T. Stroker, dean of the Boyer College of Music and Dance, will perform double duty and serve as interim dean of Tyler. Staiano-Coico said Stroker brings “tremendous expertise and knowledge of the arts to the position.”

Before arriving at Temple, Stroker served as the associate dean at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University from 1996 to 2002.

“Terry Dolan has provided exemplary leadership as interim dean,” Stroker said, “and I look forward to working with Tyler’s outstanding students, faculty, administration and staff.”

Because of the university’s hiring freeze initiated in January by Hart, all searches for deans are on hold, Staiano-Coico said.

Hillel Hoffman, assistant director of news communications, said having other schools’ deans fill in as temporary replacements is not uncommon.

“It is not unprecedented for the dean of a Temple school or college to stand in as interim dean,” he said.
Prior to serving as interim dean, Dolan served as the art history department chair for two terms. She will eventually return to teaching in an art school quickly gaining international acclaim.

“With their wonderful, new building, Tyler is on the rise,” Staiano-Coico said. “We look forward to working with Dean Stroker to ensure Tyler continues to move forward on its current exciting trajectory.”

Chris Stover can be reached at


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