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Loyola announces new class deans for class of 2019 and 2020

| By Stephanie Weaver
Natka Bianchini, Ph.D., associate professor of fine arts—theatre, and Arthur Sutherland, Ph.D., associate professor of theology
Natka Bianchini, Ph.D., associate professor of fine arts—theatre, and Arthur Sutherland, Ph.D., associate professor of theology

Loyola University Maryland has selected Natka Bianchini, Ph.D., associate professor of fine arts—theatre, and Arthur Sutherland, Ph.D., associate professor of theology, as class deans for the classes of 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The classes of 2019 and 2020 will be the first to have class deans, who will strengthen the University’s efforts to support students in their academic and career goals, as well as personal development. This is in addition to support from a student’s academic advisor.

“My colleagues and I are grateful that two such fine teacher-scholars have agreed to serve as the inaugural class deans in Loyola’s office of undergraduate studies,” said Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs. “We are excited at the promise that their selection holds for undergraduate student success and the future of Loyola University Maryland.”

Bianchini joined the Loyola faculty as an assistant professor of fine arts—theatre after teaching at Boston College and the University of Maryland, College Park. She was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2015. Bianchini has directed seven productions for the Evergreen Players, including Lysistrata (2012), Rhinoceros (2015), and Clybourne Park (2015) – which was the Messina common text for first-year students in the Class of 2019, the class for which she will now serve as class dean.

A leading proponent of diversity and inclusion across campus, Bianchini taught Loyola’s first ever explicitly LGBT-themed course, Queer Theatre and Film. She also served as the faculty moderator for Spectrum, and is a member of OUTLoyola, in which she frequently leads SafeZone trainings for groups across campus.

Bianchini’s monograph, Samuel Beckett’s Theatre in America: The Legacy of Alan Schneider as Beckett’s American Director, was published in 2015 by Palgrave Macmillan. She is currently vice president of the Edward Albee Society and will guest edit a volume of the annual series New Perspectives in Edward Albee Studies in 2019.

Bianchini, received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Wellesley College and a master’s and Ph.D. in drama from Tufts University.

Sutherland, an associate professor of theology, has served as director of Loyola’s national fellowships office since 2007. In this role, he has helped students win nearly 40 prestigious academic awards, including scholarships from Fulbright, Goldwater, Gilman, Critical Languages, Lilly, and the German Academic Exchange Service. As the director, he helped secure $100,000 in donor funding for the new Jennings Family International Summer Research Scholarship for Undergraduates.

He founded the Ignatian Pedagogy Seminar for Loyola’s faculty in 2007, which has enabled almost 25 percent of the faculty to explore approaches to Jesuit education. He is a member of the Messina faculty, taught in the Alpha program for 12 years, and has taught in the Honors program since 2003.

Sutherland conducted research in Germany and Switzerland for his dissertation on Karl Barth and has received fellowships from the Fund for Theological Education, the Association for Religion and Intellectual Life, the Christian Scholars Fund, and the Wabash Center for the Teaching of Theology and Religion. His research interests are in the history of Christian doctrine, African-American theology, and the spirituality of generosity.

His book, I Was a Stranger: A Theology of Christian Hospitality, addresses immigration, exile, and violence, and was nominated for the Grawemeyer Award for Religion. He holds advanced degrees from Yale University Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Bianchini and Sutherland will begin their new roles the week of March 14, 2016.

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