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Meet DAAP's New Dean: Judith Smith Koroscik

Date: June 19, 2001
By: Mary Bridget Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photo courtesy of OSU
Archive: General News

"My first and forever love is learning." That's how Judith Smith Koroscik sums up her enthusiasm for her new role as incoming dean of UC's nationally ranked College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP). Of the new leadership position she'll assume Aug. 1, 2001, Koroscik rejoices, "I get to be a student all over again in a way that could not be found at any other place or in any other position."

Judith Smith Koroscik

As current dean of Ohio State University's College of the Arts, she points to UC as the one campus in the country that is doing more than any other to foster understanding of the richness and vital role of art and design in everyday life. UC is, literally, a renaissance campus representing how much the design fields - architecture, urban planning, fine art and design - affect the whole fabric of life. "Cities and citizens are understanding this more and more. That's why it's a personal joy and excitement to come to the country's premier design school at this time. We have great potential to create the world because, today, you simply cannot live and not experience the impact of these fields on everyday life."

She knows firsthand that DAAP's role and reputation is recognized internationally. Koroscik laughed that when meeting with colleagues in New York City, they would always remind her of the quality of faculty and students at DAAP. As a dean at OSU, she confessed, "I've been envious." But, she was also quick to take advantage of the resource available so close to home: hiring many DAAP alums to teach or work at OSU.

Now, Koroscik has the chance to shape the future of the prestigious programs in design that she has long admired. But she doesn't see her job as ending there. "It's not a dean's job just to lead a college but to help lead the university and the region," she explained. Cooperation will be key to her leadership role. "'Partnership' and 'collaboration' are my middle names," Koroscik quipped, adding that she wants to foster ties between DAAP and other UC colleges. This, she asserts, will mean more opportunities for students and support opportunities for faculty research and teaching. "Synergy across disciplines can pique curiosity in unexpected ways, and that's what an educational institution should strive hard to encourage," she said.

Koroscik also wants to build on DAAP's history of research alliances with business and industry, to expand international opportunities for students and faculty and to work with the community to strengthen cultural opportunities and the quality of art and design education in K-12 schools. These links would provide UC's design programs with a wider range of diverse voices, would benefit students by providing even stronger "real world" education, and would benefit Ohio in the long run in terms of professional innovation and economic prosperity.

Ohio suffers a brain drain at present, Koroscik explained. While there's no better feeling as dean than to present diplomas at commencement and to know that education is changing lives, it's disheartening to know, she said, that Ohio's alumni often go elsewhere to use their talents.

According to Koroscik, "We have to get grads to see that Ohio is the place to be. We have to invest in young people. What young people need today is an educational experience that truly integrates technology and the arts. You want them to experience truly active learning that bridges classroom experiences with those in their chosen field. Then, you do want them to stay and contribute to the state. DAAP has a key role to play in building Ohio's future. It's one of the few design colleges in the country with a continuing tradition of theory matched with the hard-edged practicality through...cooperative education..."

She also calls DAAP an "absolute match" for her love of art and design. In fact, Koroscik confesses she might have been an architect in another life; however, as a middle child in a working class family, she simply didn't know what it meant to be an architect.

However, she did know that she loved to learn. So, a career in visual arts education was the path she took. She joined the OSU faculty in 1981 and eventually moved into administration as a means of learning even more. She joined the faculty senate at OSU, because she wanted to learn about the processes and procedures of a large university. She learned well enough that she eventually chaired the faculty senate and was named associate dean of her college 11 years ago.

UC Senior Vice President and Provost Tony Perzigian agrees that Koroscik is the perfect match to serve as the new dean of DAAP. He commented that she brings a wealth of experience and talent to the university. "She has always excelled as a scholar and an administrator, winning numerous awards. She possesses vision for technology, curriculum development, fundraising, corporate partnerships and community outreach. Dean Koroscik's record and her energy signal a bright future for DAAP and for the university."

Current DAAP Dean Jay Chatterjee agreed. He called Koroscik "exactly the right person to lead the college at this point in its development." He added, "Her stature as an art educator and as a leader of the arts community and her experience of having served as the dean of one of the largest and most comprehensive arts colleges in the world will stand the (UC) college in good stead."

During her years at OSU, Koroscik's research has focused on art cognition, examining how intellectual development is fostered by the visual arts. She has authored research and policy papers on arts and learning, memory and comprehension, curriculum development and arts policy. She has consulted with schools, museums and universities internationally, including the Getty Education Institute and the Nordic Research Council (Sweden). She has served as a Senior Research Fellow in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education.

Koroscik is an advocate for technology and research in the arts and design, having served as co-chair of the Ohio Board of Regent's Information Technology Task Force.

Koroscik admits that she'll miss OSU after 20 years there. "I have great affection for OSU. It's difficult to leave. But UC's pull is overwhelming. I'm excited to be a Bearcat."

Meet Judith Smith Koroscik

Academic background:

B.A., University of Wisconsin-Parkside, 1973
Major: visual arts
Minor: educational research and practice

M.A., Arizona State University, 1979
Major: art education
Minor: educational psychology, art history

Ph.D., Arizona State University, 1981
Major: art education
Minor: cognitive psychology, quantitative research methods

Graduate of Harvard University's Management Development Program, 1997
Professional background:
Dean of OSU's College of the Arts since 1997
Associate Dean of the college, 1990-1997
Professor of Art Education, 1993-present
Associate Professor of Art Education, 1987-1993
Assistant Professor of Art Education, 1981-1987

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