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SMU Names New Dean Of Meadows School Of The Arts

by Jerome Weeks 12 Nov 2014 12:26 PM

So SMU replaces a pianist-dean with a pianist-dean. Interesting.



Sam Holland, new dean of SMU’s Meadows College of the Arts. Photo: Kim Leeson

What is it with keyboard-pounders at SMU? The university has just replaced a pianist-dean with a pianist-dean.

Sam Holland, the current head of SMU’s music division in the Meadows School of the Arts, has been appointed dean of the Meadows. Holland replaces Jose Bowen, who left this summer to become president of Goucher College in Baltimore.(We spoke with Holland in June about fabled cellist Lev Aronson, who taught at SMU.)

Holland had been serving as interim dean, since Bowen’s departure, and will also hold the school’s Algur H. Meadows Chair. His teaching area — in his 20 years at SMU — has been piano and piano pedagogy and he’d run the music division since 2010.

It’ll be interesting to see what paths Holland will follow: He looks like a choice for continuity, while Bowen was definitely a bet on change — simply hiring a jazz-playing dean was unprecedented. Needless to say, not everyone on the faculty loved or respected Bowen’s choices. He tried to drag the Meadows into more fully engaging with the city that surrounds it. But Bowen came here when the Arts District took off, and he saw working with the Dallas art scene as an opportunity, while helping students navigate careers in a digital future was a necessity.

The full release:


DALLAS (SMU) — Samuel S. Holland, an internationally renowned music educator and outstanding arts administrator, has been named dean of Meadows School of the Arts at SMU. He also will hold the school’s Algur H. Meadows Chair. Holland has provided strong leadership to the Meadows School in both teaching and administrative roles for more than 20 years.

“We are delighted to have a distinguished leader who is already a highly respected member of the SMU family and the Dallas arts community to assume this important position,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Sam Holland brings experience and success not only in teaching and performing, but also in fundraising, external outreach and impact on his profession.”

The Music Division Holland has led in the Meadows School was named the number one music program in the United States in the 2014 College Factual rankings, as reported in USA Today.

Holland has been director of the Meadows School’s Division of Music since 2010. He has served as Meadows dean ad interim since July 2014, following the departure of former dean José Antonio Bowen.

Holland joined the Meadows music faculty in 1991, initially serving as head of piano pedagogy and director of the Piano Preparatory Department. In subsequent years, his administrative positions in the Meadows School have included serving as head of the Department of Keyboard Studies and Pedagogy, associate chair and chair ad interim of the Division of Music and associate director for academic affairs of the Meadows School. His teaching at SMU has included piano pedagogy, studio piano, computers and keyboards, jazz piano and piano master classes.

“Sam Holland brings a great understanding of the Meadows School and its culture and great personal charm and accomplishment to the position of dean,” said Paul W. Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It is rare for a candidate to receive such enthusiastic support from every sector of the University and the community. SMU is fortunate to have Sam leading the Meadows School as the University advances in national prominence.”

Holland has provided leadership in fundraising for Meadows School programs. He worked with the Meadows development team to obtain more than $10 million in new giving for piano inventory and programs; renovation of practice facilities; and support for endowed scholarships, new endowed professorships and the ensemble-in-residence program.

Holland has extended the Meadows School’s reach beyond the campus. He developed closer associations with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and organized SMU student performances for civic events, such as the grand opening of the Winspear Opera House and groundbreaking for the George W. Bush Presidential Center. He developed and shepherded partnerships with community groups including Dallas Chamber Music, Voices of Change, Dallas Bach Society and the Allegro Guitar Society.

“I am deeply honored and tremendously excited by the opportunity to lead the Meadows School at this time in its history,” Holland said. “After years of growth in the quality and reputation of its programs, Meadows is emerging as a national model for arts education in the 21st century. Considering the people at SMU and Meadows, an extraordinary executive board and the dynamism of Dallas, I can’t help but be irrepressibly optimistic about the future. Great cultural centers have great schools nearby. Lincoln Center has Juilliard. Chicago has Northwestern. The Dallas Arts District has Meadows. In my view, the powerhouse schools of the next 25 years will be those in which fine and performing arts are working alongside cutting-edge communication arts – precisely the ingredients we celebrate at Meadows. At Meadows, we will create, communicate, curate, innovate and engage with this great city we call home. I’m looking forward to the journey.”

Aside from his responsibilities in the Meadows School, Holland is co-founder and executive director of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, Inc., a nonprofit educational institution in New Jersey. He is executive director of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and Clavier Companion magazine. He chairs the Committee on Ethics of the Texas Association of Music Schools.

Holland earned his Bachelor of Music in applied music cum laude from The University of Texas at Austin, followed by a Master of Music in applied music with highest honors at the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in piano pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma.

Before joining the SMU music faculty, Holland taught at the University of Kentucky School of Music and Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

“The dean’s search in the Meadows School attracted an enormously well-qualified and broad pool of applicants from around the world,” said David J. Chard, dean of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, who headed the search committee. “We are very fortunate that Sam Holland was among them. His years of commitment to SMU and the Meadows School and his tremendous vision for the school make him the ideal leader to serve as dean.”

Holland is the author or co-author of more than 70 critically acclaimed method and repertoire collections with major publishers. He is internationally active as a performer and lecturer at music conferences and festivals and has served as founder and executive of national professional conferences and journals.

At the international level, Holland has provided leadership for music workshops and lecture/demonstrations in countries including England, Spain, Australia, Hungary, Norway and Canada. He has represented the Meadows Division of Music on visits to the U.K., Japan, Australia, Shanghai, Spain and the Peoples’ Republic of China.

Holland has been honored with the Texas Music Teacher Association Outstanding Collegiate Teaching Award and the Dean’s Prize of Meadows School of the Arts.

Holland’s wife, Bethany Conway Holland, is a widely recognized cellist and active member of the community.