PULLMAN, Wash. — Erich J. Lear has accepted the post of interim dean of the Washington State University College of Liberal Arts, effective August 1. The appointment will fill a vacancy created by the departure of Dean Barbara Couture, who has served as the dean of the college since 1998 and was recently named senior vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“I am so pleased that Dr. Lear has agreed to accept the position of interim dean,” said Robert Bates, WSU provost and academic vice president. “He brings great depth of administrative experience at the department and college level, gained at several institutions. His particular knowledge of liberal arts is enhanced by his long-time leadership of the School of Music and Theatre Arts and his current position as director of general studies. We look forward to a smooth transition while we proceed with a national search.”
Lear is currently director of general studies for the College of Liberal Arts, an associate dean level position, and served as director of the School of Music and Theatre Arts from 1989-2000. Lear’s leadership in the school was considered crucial to major projects, including the renovation of Kimbrough Hall and the funding and completion of the digital recording studio.
“Erich Lear provided the vision for the digital recording studio project,” said Jeff Puckett, vice president for corporate and foundation relations, WSU Foundation. “He was instrumental in helping us communicate with potential donors to secure funding,” said Puckett, who was previously director of development in the College of Liberal Arts.
As violinist/violist Lear has been a member of the Washington-Idaho Symphony and performs solo and chamber music at the university. He teaches upper-division music history and music theory courses on a schedule limited by his primary duties in general studies.
Lear’s experience at WSU transcends the college of liberal arts. He has served as a member of the University Scholarship Coordinating Committee, co-chair of the College of Education Professional Education Advisory Board, was chair and vice chair of the Research and Arts Committee and has participated in groups working to resolve issues involving academic affairs and academic deficiency.
Lear received a bachelor’s degree in music, master’s degree in the arts, and doctorate in musical arts, all from the University of Iowa. His academic career included faculty and administrative positions at Virginia Tech, Morningside College, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and at the University of Massachusetts prior to joining WSU in the fall of 1989. Lear has been the Region 2 chair and team chair for Music Accreditation Reviews for the National Association of Schools of Music. He also served as administrative curriculum officer on the board of the Washington Music Educators Association. He has published in the American String Teacher and served as president of the Washington state ASTA chapter.
Lear’s wife, Jane, is a law librarian at the University of Idaho School of Law. The couple has two daughters. Sarah is a graduate of Evergreen State College. Rachel is a second year college student and will begin studies at the University of Utah this fall.
A national search for a permanent dean of the College of Liberal Arts will begin this fall.