Andrew (Andy) Belser is the new dean of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. He will also hold a faculty position in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film as a tenured full professor.
Belser will officially assume the position July 11, pending approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Executive Vice Chancellor Katherine Ankerson made the announcement March 28.
“I am thrilled to welcome Andy to Nebraska,” Ankerson said. “He is a passionate advocate for the arts with an impressive history of creating interdisciplinary connections and dynamic partnerships with communities and external partners. His commitment to collaborative work, creative activity and his dedication to inclusivity will fuel the college’s continued trajectory toward excellence and innovation in contemporary arts education. I am excited for his leadership and the successes of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.”
Belser comes to Nebraska from the University of Arizona, also a land-grant university, where he is director of and professor in the School of Theatre, Film and Television and leads arts and medicine initiatives. Prior to Arizona, Belser was a professor of movement, voice and acting in the Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts acting program at Pennsylvania State University, where he taught and researched at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and performance. He was also founding director of the Arts and Design Research Incubator, where he mentored artists, designers and scientists in the research and creation of art and science projects targeted for further funding and presentation at national and international venues.
Belser’s creative endeavors are many and varied and he has directed theater works spanning from reimagined classics to devised works. He recently launched the Stories Travel project, engaging youth from regional Latinx and Indigenous communities in film, sound and performance projects to help them imagine their stories as important elements of potential university study and beyond. As a principal investigator on the National Institutes of Health-funded iLookout for Child Abuse, he wrote and directed films to educate child care workers. He created film and theater projects for a National Science Foundation-funded project educating citizens about environmental and social concerns around gas drilling in Pennsylvania. Belser was named Penn State Laureate for his creation and national tour of a multimedia installation exploring cross-generational interactions. He was founding artistic director of The Gravity Project, a professional theater company, international performance research center and new work incubator.
“I am excited and honored to lead the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at Nebraska, which is already on an innovative path headed for a bright and exciting future,” Belser said. “I look forward to working closely with the college’s faculty and staff to expand on its foundation of excellence, its strategic vision and the opportunities for academics, research and creative activity needed for ongoing student success.”
Guided by the university’s N2025 strategic plan, Belser will work with the executive vice chancellor to support the mission and vision of the School of Art, Art History and Design; Glenn Korff School of Music; Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film; Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts; and Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center.
Belser holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts and theater from Grove City College, a Master of Arts in theater from Villanova and a Master of Fine Arts in directing from Virginia Tech.