Assistant Professor of Scenic Design

ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre
Tempe, AZ 85287

Job Details


Assistant Professor of Scenic Design – School of Music, Dance and Theatre
Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University

The School of Music, Dance and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University invites applicants for a full-time tenure-track assistant professor of Scenic Design. We seek an exceptional artist-teacher to shape and teach undergraduate curriculum in Scenic Design and other related areas beginning fall 2021. The ideal candidate will seek to be a part of the ASU community that is identified “not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed” as framed in our charter. Additionally, the ideal candidate will have experience and model current modes of educating design and production via culturally responsive approaches and inclusive practices. The candidate will maintain a strong level of professional engagement as a scenic designer for live entertainment at a national level. 

About ASU
Arizona State University is a new model for American higher education, an unprecedented combination of academic excellence, entrepreneurial energy and broad access. This New American University is a single, unified institution comprising four differentiated campuses positively impacting the economic, social, cultural and environmental health of the communities it serves. Its research is inspired by real world application blurring the boundaries that traditionally separate academic disciplines. ASU serves more than 80,000 students in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, the nation’s fifth largest city. ASU champions intellectual and cultural diversity, and welcomes students from all fifty states and more than one hundred nations across the globe. 

About the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is the largest comprehensive design and arts school in the country, built on a combination of disciplines unlike any other program nationally and located within a dynamic research university focused on transformative change. The Herberger Institute comprises the schools of Art; Arts, Media and Engineering; Music, Dance and Theatre; The Design School; The New American Film School, and the ASU Art Museum. The Herberger Institute is committed to redefining the 21st-century design and arts school through developing and scaling ideas to strengthen the role of designers and artists across all areas of society and culture and to increase the capacity of artists to make a difference in their communities. For more information on the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, visit

About the School of Music, Dance and Theatre
The School of Music, Dance and Theatre is widely recognized for preparing artists, scholars, visionaries and entrepreneurs to become creative leaders who transform society through their creative work. Our internationally recognized faculty artists, scholars and guest artists are motivating and compassionate mentors who work with students to cultivate excellence and personal growth. Our nationally recognized programs feature a comprehensive range of degrees plus minors and certificates and more than 600 concerts, events, performances, productions and recitals each year. Located in the culturally rich Southwest in one of the most vibrant, expanding urban centers, our programs afford students access to a diverse environment and engagement in Phoenix’s flourishing arts community. Above all, we value the creativity, personal experience and voice each student brings to the school. For more information on the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, visit 

The theatre program with its emphasis on new work and socially engaged practice, is a collaborative community of artists, scholars, students, faculty and staff who are shaping the future of theatre through inventive curricula and innovative programming. We foster creativity, community, collaboration, and collegiality in our classrooms and studios while supporting faculty research endeavors, public programming and community engagement. With over 250 undergraduate theatre majors and over 35 MA, MFA and PhD students, the theatre program is a dynamic teaching, learning and discovery environment in which production and curriculum are mutually supportive. Each year we present an extensive season of productions that push the boundaries of contemporary theatre. Our programming features hundreds of live events and presentations of student work, engaging over 10,000 community members in the metro Phoenix area. The Design & Production concentration is an expansive program with nine faculty members and a staff of seven exploring all areas of technology and design in live entertainment. The concentration seeks to embrace cutting-edge technologies and digital fabrication methods to prepare our students for the future of the industry. Central to our approach as educators is the emphasis on process as we facilitate learning outcomes through the execution of our selected season productions. 

The Assistant Professor of Scenic Design will work to prepare graduates of the School of Music, Dance and Theatre to transform their fields and society. The candidate will be expected to facilitate the vision and voice of our students and their success through active mentorship and innovative new learning experiences that prioritize access and excellence in alignment with ASU and its charter. The ideal candidate is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion professionally and in the classroom with a track record of working to achieve these.

 We seek a professionally engaged, forward thinking, skilled, innovative Scenic Designer to engage with students across the disciplines of theatre, opera and dance on topics of design, composition, communication and storytelling; developing a broad understanding of the educational and cultural needs of ASU’s student demographic. The ideal candidate must demonstrate a pedagogical and professional profile that is compatible with distinguished undergraduate training at a major research university, and a willingness to teach in person, online and hybrid courses. Responsibilities include teaching two to three courses per semester; mentoring and supervising design and artisan students through all phases of the production process, as well as internships and individualized projects; and when necessary serving as scenic designer for school productions. The successful candidate will work collaboratively with colleagues across the School of Music, Dance and Theatre and the greater ASU community to impact the breadth and depth of new course offerings for major and non-major students in both in-person and online learning environments.

Required Qualifications:  

·         MFA or MA in Scenic Design or related field, or commensurate professional experience.

·         Demonstrated ability to advance equity, diversity and inclusion in the field and address the educational and cultural needs of all ASU students.

·         Minimum of five years of sustained professional experience in scenic design or related field, utilizing current production practices and technologies at a national level.

·         Demonstrated teaching excellence and innovation at the university level and/or record of professional mentorship in the field of scenic design.

Desired Qualifications:

·         Record of collaborative, professional and relevant industry experience working across a variety of mediums (e.g., theatre, dance, opera, corporate, themed entertainment etc.) in a variety of venues (e.g., proscenium work, non-proscenium based work, devised work, socially engaged performances).

·         Record of collegial approach to working across disciplines and solving complex production problems as part of a team.

·         Experience in installation design, production design and/or art direction.

·         Ability to teach introductory and advanced design topics, computer-aided drafting, artist and digital rendering techniques, model making, scenic painting, and/or properties design.

·         Demonstrated understanding of higher education production processes.

·         Ability to design and implement curriculum and programs in theatre, dance, and music, for both online and in-person courses.

·         Interest in expansive approaches to design and production processes and practices and their impact outside traditional arts media (e.g., architecture, engineering, research sciences, etc.)

·         Membership in United Scenic Artists.


Instructions to Apply: 

Please submit the following materials:

·         Letter of interest addressing how the candidate uniquely meets the qualifications for the position, in particular: work experience, creative activity (i.e. performance) and/or research, collaboration and innovative teaching.

·         Curriculum vitae.

·         A one-page statement addressing the candidate’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion highlighting specific instances of their work, advocacy and support for BIPOC, Latinx and marginalized groups and artists.

·         A one-page statement addressing the candidate’s teaching philosophy and how it will serve the ASU student population.

·         A digital portfolio of no more than 10 produced designs or a Website (Link submitted in PDF format). For detailed instructions on how to create a document with live hyperlinks, please click here.

·         Names and contact information for three references.

·         Candidates who advance in the screening process should be prepared to provide additional materials later (e.g. a complete drafting package for a recently designed production, images of a scenic model or rendering, paint elevations, and/or prop design and research packets).

All applications must be submitted electronically via

Application Deadline:
The application deadline is February 1, 2021. Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis for a reserve pool.  Applications in the reserve pool may then be reviewed in the order in which they were received until the position is filled. 

ASU conducts pre-employment screening for all positions, which includes a criminal background check, verification of work history, academic credentials, licenses and certifications.

Arizona State University is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. See ASU’s complete non-discrimination statement at See ASU’s Title IX policy at

In compliance with federal law, ASU prepares an annual report on campus security and fire safety programs and resources. ASU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available online at You may request a hard copy of the report by contacting the ASU Police Department at 480-965-3456.


August 16, 2021 –