Chuck O’Connor
Dean, Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Chuck O’Connor is the dean of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He helps colleges grow, mobilizes people for change and aligns philanthropic, corporate and community interests with bold academic programming.

Through his leadership, the Hixson-Lied College envisioned, proposed and raised the money to create the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts. This academic program and new facility, scheduled to open in fall 2019 with a total investment of $57 million, is being built from the ground up to rethink higher education. It employs active, adaptive and project-based learning methods and technologies, and gets advice from a robust advisory board from leading IT, social media and emerging media companies. The program incentivizes interdisciplinary approaches to story making at the intersection of design, media, computational methods, entrepreneurship and artificial intelligence. It explores a continuum from live performance to film, mixed reality, experience design, sensory media, sonic art and data.

Overall enrollments, underrepresented student enrollments and faculty size and staffing have grown dramatically under his leadership. The College has raised $44 million in five years to support programs, scholarships, fellowships and faculty research and creative activity. All five of the academic schools and centers he oversees have seen significant endowment growth, and two are recently named.

He has a BA in Theatre from California State University, Northridge and an MFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. His field is design and computer visualization for theatre, film and emerging media.