In the Loop
General News : Jul 1, 2024

UF School of Theatre and Dance appoints Dr. Tiza Garland as director

From the Desk of College of the Arts Interim Dean Jennifer Setlow

On behalf of Interim Dean Jennifer Setlow: 

Dear colleagues,  
I write to announce the appointment of Tiza Garland, PhD as the next director of the School of Theatre and Dance. Her appointment in this role will begin on July 1, 2024.  
As director, Tiza will articulate SOTD’s vision, goals, and accomplishments to its constituencies and promote the school’s visibility at the University of Florida and in the broader public, championing the future of theatre and dance. Related to these efforts, Director Garland will also spearhead the recruitment of high-achieving students, faculty, and staff.  
Dr. Garland’s administrative responsibilities will include managing the school’s budget and fiscal priorities; overseeing facilities, academic, and research operations; and ensuring that degree programs are in alignment with the strategic plans of the school, the college, and the University of Florida. She will also lead the ongoing examination of the SOTD’s artistic, scholarly, and academic programs to support continued reaccreditation, and lead efforts to secure external funding and engagement from the private and public spheres as components of program building. 
Tiza comes to this role with deep knowledge and understanding of the School of Theatre and Dance. She will celebrate 20 years at the College of the Arts this summer, having first joined SOTD as an assistant professor in August 2004 and was promoted to associate professor in 2011. She was appointed as the school’s Associate Director in August 2016 and stepped into the role of Acting Director on July 1, 2023.  
Dr. Garland is also an Associate Professor of Theatre in the school’s BA, BFA, and MFA programs. Her primary teaching areas are Movement for the Actor, Stage Combat, and Period Styles Movement. 
Tiza holds her Ph.D. in Fine Arts from Texas Tech University. She received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Theatre Pedagogy with a focus in Movement and Fight Direction, and earned her BA in Theatre, Spanish and Asian Studies from Western Michigan University.    

Tiza’s robust theatre background is anchored by exceptional proficiencies in movement practice and pedagogy. She has trained with the Dah Theatre (Belgrade, Serbia) in the methods of Jerzy Grotowski, studied Meyerhold's Biomechanics with Gennadi Bogdanov, and undergone training with the United Stuntmen's Association in Seattle, Washington. Her certifications in movement and fight direction include: Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) of Laban Movement Analysis (LMA); Certified Teacher with the National Michael Chekhov Association; Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD); Certified Teacher with the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat (BASSC), and a Senior Teacher with Dueling Arts International. 

Off the stage and beyond the classroom, Tiza also brings an action-oriented and values-based leadership mindset to multiple roles of service in the theatre community. She served as President of the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) from 2015-2018, distinguishing herself as only the second person in the SETC’s 60+ year history to hold three consecutive terms. 
Prior to her presidency, Tiza served as the SETC’s Vice President of Programming for three years and as Secretary for two years, contributing in varied capacities to strategic planning efforts. She also served on multiple SETC committees; notably, Stage Movement and Physical Theatre, where she served for seven years (five of which were consecutive and Nominations. Tiza has also engaged as both participant and mentor with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Leadership Institute, and she spearheaded the Leadership Institute at SETC. 
Tiza was the 2022 recipient of the SETC’s prestigious Suzanne M. Davis Memorial Award. This award was established to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the organization, and to theatre in the Southeastern U.S., over several years. It is the highest award the SETC bestows on its own members. 
Tiza’s rich lived experience with the school and her nuanced understanding of the needs of faculty, students, and staff give me tremendous confidence that she is the right person to lead the School of Theatre and Dance in this moment and into the future. I look forward to seeing her continue on the work begun during her time as Acting Director. 
I would like to extend my appreciation to the search committee: Elizabeth Ross (chair), Tiffany Lu (provocateur), Heidi Boisvert, Jenny Goelz, Jeni Lomnick Higgins, Charlie Mitchell, Augusto Soledade and Susan Schuld. Thank you, also, to Piper Call and the UF Strategic Talent Group for providing administrative support through the search process.  
Please join me in congratulating Tiza and welcoming her to her new role as Director of the School of Theatre and Dance.  
Jennifer Setlow 
Interim Dean, UF College of the Arts 
Pronouns: she/her/hers