Valerie Morris

Valerie MorrisValerie B. Morris served as the Dean of the College of Charleston School of the Arts for 22 years, from 1998 to 2020. As the Dean, she was chief administrative officer of one of the College’s six undergraduate school, overseeing the Departments of Art and Architectural History, Music, Studio Art, and Theatre and Dance, plus programs in Arts Management and Historic Preservation and Community Planning. Also under her umbrella were the graduate program of Historic Preservation in conjunction with Clemson University; the Master of Arts in Teaching in Choral Music and the Master of Arts in Teaching in Theatre, both in conjunction with the School of Education, Health and Human Performance; and the Arts Management concentration in the Master of Public Administration program. She was responsible for the production of approximately 200 events per year, and she provided leadership in cultural education, programming and scholarship for the School and the community.

Prior to joining the College of Charleston, Morris was the Chair of the Department of Performing Arts at American University in Washington, D.C., where she was the founding director of that institution’s Arts Management Program. Morris received her M.A. in Speech (Theatre Administration emphasis) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her B.A. in Speech Arts from American University. Her publications include The Future of the Arts: Public Policy and Arts Research, edited with David B. Pankratz and The Arts in a New Millennium: Research and the Arts Sector, also edited with Pankratz, as well as numerous articles in professional journals. Dean Morris was the Executive Editor of the Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society from 1982-1988 and 1990-2009.

As an organizer, session chair, panelist, or presenter, Morris has participated in national and international conferences related to the arts and arts management. She also has served as an American Cultural Specialist for the USIA Arts America Program in Santiago, Chile; Kiev, Ukraine; and Montevideo, Uruguay. 

Morris was involved in several national, state-wide and local organizations. She is a former board member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans and the Rotary Club of Charleston, and she was a mentor for the Association of Theatre in Higher Education’s Leadership Institute. Morris was a member of the Steering Committee for South Carolina’s Arts in Basic Curriculum program, served on the boards of the South Carolina Arts Alliance and the Arts Schools Network (board secretary), and is a past president of the South Carolina Alliance for Arts Education. She was a board member of the Charleston Concert Association and the Charleston Jazz Initiative. She served as an ex-officio member of the board of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and as a member of the Honorary Board of Charleston Stage.

In 2006 the YWCA of Greater Charleston honored Morris during its 26th annual Tribute to Women of Influence (TWIN) award ceremony. In 2010 she received a "Women of Distinction'' award (in arts education) from the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina. In 2013 Morris was a finalist for the Charleston Regional Business Journal's "Influential Women in Business'' award, and in 2015 she was honored with The President Harry Lightsey Humanitarian Award from the College of Charleston. In 2017, Morris received the Art Schools Network Higher Education Award for her continuous support of the sustainability of quality arts education in K-12 schools. Most recently in 2019, she was honored by the Footlight Players theater company at its Red Carpet Gala for her enduring support of theater and arts in the local community.

Upon Morris’ retirement on December 31, 2020, she was formally recognized with Dean Emerita and Professor Emerita honors.