Dean Valerie B. Morris

Valerie B. Morris

Valerie B. Morris has been the Dean of the College of Charleston School of the Arts since the fall of 1998. As the Dean, she is the chief administrative officer of one of the College’s six undergraduate schools. Dean Morris oversees the Departments of Art and Architectural History, Music, Studio Art, and Theatre and Dance, plus programs in Arts Management, Historic Preservation and Community Planning, and Computing in the Arts (in partnership with the School of Science and Math). Also under her umbrella are the graduate program of Historic Preservation in conjunction with Clemson University; the Master of Arts in Teaching in Choral Music and the Master of Arts in Teaching in Theatre, both in conjunction with the School of Education, Health and Human Performance; and the Arts Management concentration in the Master of Public Administration program. She is responsible for the production of approximately 200 events per year, and she provides leadership in cultural education, programming and scholarship for the School and the community.

Prior to joining the College of Charleston, Dean Morris was the Chair of the Department of Performing Arts at American University in Washington, D.C., where she was the founding director of that institution’s Arts Management Program.  Dean Morris received her M.A. in Speech (Theatre Administration emphasis) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her B.A. in Speech Arts from American University. Her publications include The Future of the Arts: Public Policy and Arts Research, edited with David B. Pankratz and The Arts in a New Millennium: Research and the Arts Sector, also edited with Pankratz, as well as numerous articles in professional journals. Dean Morris was the Executive Editor of the Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society from 1982-1988 and 1990-2009.

As an organizer, session chair, panelist, or presenter, Dean Morris has participated in national and international conferences related to the arts and arts management. She also has served as an American Cultural Specialist for the USIA Arts America Program in Santiago, Chile; Kiev, Ukraine; and Montevideo, Uruguay. 

Dean Morris is involved in several national, state-wide and local organizations. She is a former board member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans and the Rotary Club of Charleston, and she is a mentor for the Association of Theatre in Higher Education’s Leadership Institute. Dean Morris is a member of the Steering Committee for South Carolina’s Arts in Basic Curriculum program, serves on the boards of the South Carolina Arts Alliance and the Arts Schools Network (board secretary), and is a past president of the South Carolina Alliance for Arts Education. She is a board member of the Charleston Concert Association and the Charleston Jazz Initiative. She serves as an ex-officio member of the board of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and as a member of the Honorary Board of Charleston Stage.

In 2006 the YWCA of Greater Charleston honored Dean Morris during its 26th annual Tribute to Women of Influence (TWIN) award ceremony. In 2010 she received a "Women of Distinction" award (in arts education) from the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina. In 2013 Dean Morris was a finalist for the Charleston Regional Business Journal's "Influential Women in Business" award, and in 2015 she was honored with The President Harry Lightsey Humanitarian Award from the College of Charleston. In 2017, Dean Morris received the Art Schools Network Higher Education Award for her coninuous support of the sustainability of quality arts education in K-12 schools. Most recently in 2019, she was honored by the Footlight Players theater company at its Red Carpet Gala for her enduring support of theater and arts in the local community.