Dear MCAD Community,
I am pleased to announce the hiring of Robert Ransick as the next Vice President of Academic Affairs. As of July 1, Ransick will replace retiring Vice President Karen Wirth, who began her career at MCAD in the early 1990s and also served as interim president for the 2018-2019 academic year. When we can be together in person, I look forward to honoring Karen for her invaluable contributions to the college.
I want to express my deep appreciation to the members of the VPAA Search Committee: Erik Brandt Chair/Professor of Design, Joy Brathwaite VP of Finance/CFO, Mary Kazura Director of Admissions, Gerald Ronning Chair/Professor of Liberal Arts, Katherine Turczan Professor of Media Arts, Jen Zuccola VP of Student Affairs. Each one of them worked on this search with diligence and focus despite our present circumstances.
Robert Ransick is an artist, designer and educator who is the founding director of the MFA in Public Action and director of the art and entrepreneurship programs at Bennington College’s Center for the Advancement of Public Action. He has been a dedicated educator for nearly 25 years having served on the faculty of Bennington College, The New School, Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts. He holds a BFA in Photography, from the School of Visual Arts, an MA in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research, and an MBA in Sustainability from Bard College.
During his tenure at Bennington College, Robert served on the team that conceived of the pathbreaking Center for the Advancement of Public Action, launched the MFA in Public Action, built the Art and Entrepreneurship program, and led the creation of the Museum Fellows study away term in New York City. He developed innovative courses at Bennington including in social and civic engaged practices, technology and the arts, social entrepreneurship and new forms of democratic leadership and organizational structures. He also curated exhibits, hosted convenings related to the future of arts and culture, and hosted the podcast CreateNow.
As an active member of the faculty Robert served as Chair of Academic Policy Committee four times, led the Art and Technology program, collaborated on the creation of the First-Year Forum for all incoming students, and served as a Mellon Foundation funded faculty Fellow working with peers to explore the integrated education of the whole student in a progressive educational context.
Prior to Bennington College, Robert was at The New School in New York where he served as Director of the Photography department, Acting Director of the Computer Instruction department, and as Coordinator of Distance Learning at. At the New School he built relationships and partnerships with many external organizations including Creative Time, Aperture Foundation, Blind Spot Magazine and the Toscana Photographic Workshop.
His creative work has been exhibited in both national and international venues including Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, Exit Art, Storefront for Art and Architecture, The New Museum, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, Italy, and in far-flung places such as the border of the United States and Mexico, old school classrooms and public plazas. He has received funding from Franklin Furnace, the Mellon Foundation, the Boomerang Fund for Artists and the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network. He has been an artist in residence at Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology and LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions).
Robert currently serves as the Chair of the Advisory Committee for the non-profit arts organization Eyebeam in New York City.
Outside of his creative pursuits, Robert loves biking, hiking and the outdoors—especially in the Southwestern United States. Two years ago he took sewing lessons and continues to hone his abilities making an assortment of handicraft. He and his husband, architect Blake Goble, will be moving to Minneapolis this June.
From a recent communication with Robert: “I am honored to be joining the extraordinary MCAD community with its long history of excellence in art and design education. In these complex times, it has never been more relevant for artists and designers to lead the world in creatively imagining and realizing a future that is more equitable, just and resilient. I am eager to begin collaborating with students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees on this vital work.”
With Robert’s commitment to collaboration and equity, he brings a unique vision to art and design education. His focus on innovative programming, entrepreneurship, and public action make him an ideal choice as the next chief academic officer for MCAD. Please join me in giving him a warm welcome to the MCAD community.
All my best,