James Austin named interim dean of College of Music

June 27, 2013 •

James Austin has been named interim dean of CU-Boulder’s College of Music, Provost Russell Moore announced today. The appointment is effective on July 1.

Austin, a professor of music education, joined the College of Music in 1994. He has served as associate dean of undergraduate studies since 2006. He was the music education chair from 1997 to 2007. In 2004, the college awarded Austin the Richard Bern Trego faculty fellowship.

“Jim Austin has a long history of service to CU-Boulder and the College of Music as an associate dean, and he is ideally suited to provide steady leadership to the college,” said Moore. “I look forward to working with him and his senior leadership team, which includes Associate Deans John Davis and Steve Bruns. The College of Music is in good hands moving into the future.”

Austin has been named to the interim post for the 2013-14 academic year while a national search is reopened for a permanent dean of the college.

“I am honored to accept Provost Moore's invitation to serve the College of Music as Interim Dean,” said Austin. “This is a critically important transitional period between the long and distinguished tenure of Daniel Sher and that of a new permanent dean. During this time, we have a unique opportunity to recommit to our core missions, explore new possibilities for leadership, and enhance current operational procedures and programs.”

Daniel Sher, the former dean of the College of Music, stepped down this month after 20 years in the position. He returned to the faculty and also is involved in community and donor relations for the college.

“With the assistance and support of Associate Deans Steven Bruns and John Davis, as well as other key staff and faculty leaders, I will work diligently to maintain the College of Music's standing as one of the top comprehensive music schools in the country while positioning the unit for continued success in an evolving higher education landscape,” said Austin.

CU-Boulder has been cited for three years in a row by the Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of just 25 in the nation -- among a total of 1,200 music programs in higher education -- for its excellence in music and has been ranked in the top 20 among all college, university and conservatory music programs by U.S. News & World Report.

Austin’s research interests include student motivation and self-concept development, teacher education, classroom-level assessment, and school and arts policy implications. Before joining CU-Boulder, he taught instrumental music to fourth through twelfth-graders, and was an assistant professor of music education at Ball State University.

Austin earned a doctorate of philosophy degree in music education and a master’s of arts degree in music education at the University of Iowa. He earned a bachelor’s of music degree in music education from the University of North Dakota.

Photo: CU-Boulder students work with high school and middle school students as part of the Trying on Teaching program. James Austin, now interim dean of the College of Music, developed the program in 2008 with Peter Miksza, assistant professor of music education. The goal of the project is to create a mentoring and hands-on teaching experience for high school students in order to attract high-quality candidates to music education. (Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)