Retiring dean leaves legacy of innovation, applied learning in fine arts

Dr. Rodney MillerFile photo
Dean Rodney Miller will retire in June after 19 years leading the College of Fine Arts at Wichita State University.

Dean Rodney Miller will retire in June following 19 years leading the College of Fine Arts at Wichita State University.

During his tenure, the School of Digital Arts was created and enrollment in the college has grown to over 1,000 students. Working with WSU Foundation and Alumni Engagement, the college scholarship/fellowship funds have reached $1 million in annual awards to College of Fine Arts students.

“Rodney’s forward-thinking vision for the School of Digital Arts embraced digital transformation and innovation as a means to amplify the talents and creativity of students and faculty in the College of Fine Arts,” said Dr. Shirley Lefever, provost and executive vice president of Wichita State. “WSU has benefited greatly from his leadership and vision. His legacy will impact many generations to come.”


When Miller came to Wichita State in 2004, the College of Fine Arts consisted of the School of Music, the School of Performing Arts and the School of Art, Design and Creative Industries.

As Wichita State tied its mission to innovation and applied learning, Miller showed that the College of Fine Arts could take an important and interdisciplinary role in that future. Wichita State launched the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Arts in 2017 and the School of Digital Arts two years later. The School of Digital Arts includes concentrations in acting for the digital arts, animation, audio production, filmmaking, game design and collaborative design.

The School of Digital Arts is housed at Shocker Studios, a facility that includes an animation studio, motion-capture studio, classrooms, recording studios and 2D and 3D design studios.

“It’s the ultimate definition of collaboration and cooperation – and applied learning,” Miller said. “The thing that I am proudest of is that the school generates close to half of our credit hours, yet close to half of the credit hours it generates are from other schools.”

Miller came to Wichita State in June 2004 after serving as the Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities at the University of Nebraska at Kearney for six years.

“There’s so many things that I will miss,” Miller said. “What I will miss is seeing, on a daily basis, and working with people, on a daily basis, that I watch changing our students lives.”

Interviews for the new dean of the College of Fine Arts are complete. An announcement of the new CFA dean is expected soon.

About Wichita State University

Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling almost 22,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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