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Music professor Mark Katz to serve as director for Institute for the Arts and Humanities

Mark Katz, 2011 Hettleman Award winner at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mark Katz, 2011 Hettleman Award winner at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

With Mark Katz now tapped as the next director for the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, directors from the past joined him to discuss the future of the Institute on Monday.

Music professor and department chairman Katz will begin his five-year tenure on July 1. He will be the third IAH director since its founding in 1987 by Director Emeritus Ruel Tyson.

The IAH provides resources to and coordinates with arts and humanities faculty to strengthen their disciplines on campus.

The director is also responsible for fundraising, as 85 percent of the IAH’s budget is privately funded.

Tyson, Katz and outgoing IAH director John McGowan were featured in the panel discussion in Hyde Hall, where the IAH is housed, and a congratulatory reception for Katz followed the panel.

Katz said he is thrilled by the exciting prospect of being able to lead and serve the faculty in this way.

“It’s a wonderful institution, and I’m honored to have been selected,” he said.

American studies professor Joy Kasson headed the selection committee for McGowan’s replacement last fall, but ultimately the decision was made by Terry Rhodes, senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities, and Karen Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Katz was announced as the future director on Jan. 28.

Kasson said as one of the faculty members who recommended the establishment of the IAH in the 1980s, she is delighted that it continues with such strong leadership.

“Since the IAH is so important to UNC’s intellectual life, the choice of its third director was a wonderful opportunity to think about its contributions and possibilities for innovation,” Kasson said. “We are fortunate that Mark Katz has accepted the appointment as director.”

At the panel, Gil said nothing at the IAH would be possible without Tyson’s initial vision in the 80s.

“He imagined what this Institute would be like before there even was a Hyde Hall,” Gil said.

Gil said she also wanted to thank McGowan for his expansion of the faculty fellowship program, which has given leadership opportunities and encouraged the digital arts and humanities, among other things.

McGowan said after he steps down from his position, which he has held for eight years, he will miss the people he works with the most.

“Carolina is all about the people,” McGowan said. “I love working with the faculty, donors and all the alums.”

McGowan also said he was thrilled that Katz was tapped to begin as IAH director after his position ends on June 31.

“He is one of the most creative faculty on campus,” he said. “He’s going to be a great, dynamic leader.”

As IAH director, Katz said one thing he wants to do is take the University’s message public.

“The IAH building itself is a full-service faculty center and to do that, we need to take our cause to the streets,” Katz said.

Katz noted the importance of the two different doors from which someone can enter Hyde Hall: there is one that faces campus, and one that opens onto Franklin Street and the city.

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“The IAH looks inward, but it also faces outward, like the two entrances to this building,” he said. “The two doors symbolize what this Institute is about.”

Kasson said she thinks Katz fits the position of IAH director because of his interdisciplinary connections across campus.

“It’s my vision that the places like the IAH get the faculty more excited and help them do their research, which is good for students, too, because it makes us better teachers and helps us direct students in their own research projects,” she said.

“The IAH is not just about faculty wanting to get away from teaching to do their research, but it’s about them doing what they want in order to make them better teachers.”