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Erich Lear named interim dean of Liberal Arts

Erich J. Lear has accepted the post of interim dean at the College of Liberal Arts effective Aug. 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 1988 and was recently named senior vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Lear is currently a music professor and director of general studies for the WSU College of Liberal Arts. As violinist/violist he 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.

“I am so pleased that Erich 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 received a bachelor’s degree in music, master’s degree in the arts, and doctorate in musical arts from the University of Iowa. He began his violin study with Edward Kurtz, a student of Eugene Ysaye, continued with Charles Treger and Allen Ohmes of the Stradivardi Quartet at Iowa, and studied further with David Cerone at the Meadowmount School of Music.

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. From 1989 through 2000 he served as director of the WSU School of Music and Theatre Arts.

Lear has appeared as soloist and chamber musician with the support of several state arts councils and was selected as a resident artist by the Ohio Arts Council, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has performed as concertmaster and principal violinist or violist with the New Hampshire Music Festival, Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and Roanoke Symphony.

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.

A national search for a permanent dean of the College of Liberal Arts will begin this fall.

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