William J. Doan, Penn State professor of theatre and former associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Arts and Architecture, has been appointed director of the School of Theatre for a three-year term, effective July 1, 2017.
Doan joined the College of Arts and Architecture as an associate dean in 2008. In 2013, he returned to teaching full-time. A playwright, author, and solo performer, his most recent play, Drifting, received a production at Dixon Place Theatre in New York City in March 2014 and has since been performed under a sponsorship from The Doctors Kienle Center for the Study of Humanistic Medicine, with new productions scheduled for 2017. His newest solo performance work, A Brief Anatomy of My Anxiety, was presented as part of the Dixon Place Theatre’s Lounge series in October 2016. His co-authored book, The Story of Naomi – the Book of Ruth: From Gender to Politics was published in 2016, and his third graphic narrative is scheduled for publication in The Annals of Graphic Medicine/Internal Medicine in December 2016. Since coming to Penn State, Doan has served as a co-principal investigator on National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health grants, integrating arts-based research methods into education on Marcellus Shale development and the education of child care workers for detecting early signs of potential child abuse. Doan served as president of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education in 2011–13.
In addition to articles published on the plays and theatre of George Bernard Shaw, Doan co-authored Prophets, Performance and Power, published in 2005, and Twice Used Songs: Performance Criticism of the Songs of Ancient Israel in 2008, with Terry Giles. He has also had two original theatre pieces premiere at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival (Southwest Ohio Society of Badasses, 2008, and Villainy, 2009). His solo performances have been featured at a number of national venues, including the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, DePauw Undergraduate Ethics Symposium, and the Southeastern Theatre Conference Theatre Symposium. Doan holds a B.A. from Gannon University, an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.
“I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve as the next director of the School of Theatre,” said Doan. “The students, staff, and faculty of the school are smart, talented, and deeply committed to the art of theatre and to the many ways studying and making theatre can help us transform the world. Our legacy is rich with alumni across the theatre, film, and television industries, as well as professional lives in countless other fields. I look forward to honoring that legacy while helping to shape our future.”
Barbara O. Korner, dean of the College of Arts and Architecture, said Doan has the administrative and leadership experience to guide the School of Theatre during a time of transition. “I’m thrilled that Bill has agreed to serve in this three-year-term capacity as director of the School of Theatre. He is not only an excellent administrator, but also a visionary leader with a diverse background whose experience and commitment will be a tremendous asset to the school.”