Matthew Shaftel

Matthew R. Shaftel, Ph.D.

Featured Stories

Matthew Shaftel appointed dean of College of Fine Arts

Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts will welcome a new dean this summer. Matthew R. Shaftel, Ph.D., will take on the role July 15, after a comprehensive search that brought three candidates to the Athens Campus in March. 

Shaftel currently serves as the dean and director of Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts in Princeton, New Jersey. Prior to that, he spent 14 years in various roles at Florida State University, including distinguished professor of music theory, director of the Cawthon Hall Music Living Learning Center, director of general education, and most recently, associate vice president for academic affairs. 

“Dr. Shaftel’s creativity and extensive experience as an artist, professor and academic administrator will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the College of Fine Arts, and I am excited to welcome him to OHIO,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit. “The search committee was most impressed with his positive energy and enthusiasm for the Arts and community engagement.” 

Shaftel received his master of philosophy and doctorate degrees, both in music theory, from Yale University. He also earned a certificate in higher education leadership from Harvard University.  

As dean and director of Westminster College of the Arts at Rider University, Shaftel was in charge of all aspects of academic affairs for a college with three different divisions, two campuses, and programs in music, popular music, theater, music theater, dance, arts administration and art. He worked collaboratively to develop a strategic plan for the college while building the college’s endowment through fundraising efforts and establishing partnerships with many other organizations, including the Julliard School, Trenton Public Schools, the Kennedy Center, and the American Repertory Ballet. In addition, he established an award-winning Center for Community Engagement that connected students to the broader community with significant grant underwriting. Under Shaftel’s leadership, the college exceeded all enrollment targets, released five commercial recordings, and offered well over 200 publicly acclaimed performances and exhibits annually. 

“I am so enthusiastic about this opportunity to work collaboratively with the innovative students and faculty of the College of Fine Arts,” Shaftel said. “It is truly exciting to be part of a culture that seeks to extend the value of the arts beyond the classroom and into the community and I look forward to expanding upon COFA’s long history of creative excellence as we build a brighter future through the arts in Athens and beyond.”

Provost Benoit would also like to express her gratitude to Elizabeth Sayrs, who served as interim dean of the College of Fine Arts, and Peter Mather, who served as interim dean of University College, during this transition period. On July 15, Sayrs will return as dean of University College and Mather will return to his position on the faculty of the Patton College of Education.

The dean of Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts serves as the chief academic and administrative officer of the college, providing visionary leadership, planning, coordination and management for all academic, fiscal, and personnel matters. The dean will lead a dynamic college that is positioned to prepare a new generation of professional artists from diverse backgrounds to succeed and flourish in ways that have transformative power on society and on individual lives.