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Michelle Burnham and Amy Randall

Michelle Burnham and Amy Randall

New Leadership for the Center for Arts and Humanities

SCU’s Michelle Burnham and Amy Randall will take over leadership of the Center for the Arts and Humanities.

SCU’s Michelle Burnham and Amy Randall will take over leadership of the Center for the Arts and Humanities.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Mar. 24, 2020—Michelle Burnham, professor of English at Santa Clara University, has been named the next director of the Center for the Arts and Humanities. Amy Randall, current chair of the Department of History, will join her as associate director. Serving a two-year term, the torch will be passed to Burnham and Randall starting Summer 2020.

The Center for the Arts and Humanities is an interdisciplinary center, housed in Santa Clara University’s College of Arts and Sciences, which celebrates the role of the arts and humanities in liberal education and the Jesuit tradition, as well as their crucial contribution to fostering democracy, civic life, justice, and social engagement.

Building upon current initiatives, Burnham envisions expanding the Center to focus on initiatives that increase its impact in areas of importance to the Santa Clara community. 

"We envision the Center for the Arts and Humanities growing into a highly visible, robust, and sustainable site,” she says. “It will be a place for dynamic and collaborative arts and humanities programming that brings together faculty, students, staff, and community and academic partners in projects and initiatives that not only celebrate the arts and humanities, but make a meaningful difference for our world, both large and small."

Born out of a desire to build an academic foundation rich in creative explorations and experiential learning, the Center for the Arts and Humanities merges the Jesuit passion for scholarly excellence and service with the explosion of creativity which is Silicon Valley. Under the direction of Dennis Gordon, the Center conducted Salon gatherings and programs like Understanding and Resisting Violence and the tUrn project that created a sense of intellectual community among faculty and students. It facilitated community partnerships with local organizations, such as Filoli Gardens, where SCU students exhibited their art in the Nests exhibit, faculty gave talks to community audiences, and theatre students performed Shakespeare at Bard in the Garden. Additionally, it helped to host four seasons of the Frank Sinatra Chair in the Performing Arts, which brought national luminaries like Rhiannon Giddens, Taye Diggs, W. Kamau Bell, the Silk Road Ensemble, and Anna Deavere Smith onto campus and into classrooms.

“Both Michelle and Amy are extraordinary teacher-scholars,” says Terri Peretti, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I am excited for the Center’s future and immensely grateful to founding director Dennis Gordon and his current co-director Christina Zanfagna. They have worked tirelessly to help put the Center and the College on the map in an unprecedented way. I can’t wait to see that trend continue under the direction of Michelle and Amy.”


CAS News, Faculty Story