Shanda takes office as USITT’s new president

Special to the Perry Chief
Shanda takes office as USITT’s new president

Mark Shanda, professor of theatre design and technology and former Dean of Arts and Humanities at The Ohio State University, has begun a three-year term as president of USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology.

Shanda actually will serve a five-year commitment to USITT. Elected in January 2014, he spent the past year as President-Elect learning from Immediate-Past President Lea Asbell-Swanger. After completing his three-year term as President in 2018, he’ll also spend a year as Immediate-Past President assisting his successor.

Shanda is known for his expertise in theatre technology and is co-author of two books with his mentor and friend, Dennis Dorn of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. . Drafting for the Theatre is a textbook in use by theatre programs throughout the country for over twenty years. Shanda and Dorn’s new book, Technical Management for the Performing Arts: Utilizing Time, Talent and Money, will be released by Routledge (formerly Focal Press) in December.

Shanda also is a leader in evaluating college tenure and promotion cases, and helped devise the USITT Tenure & Promotion Guidelines for technical theatre faculty.

A native of Perry, Iowa, Shanda received his BA in political science and speech/theatre from Iowa State University and his MFA in theatre technology from UW-Madison. He joined the OSU faculty 30 years ago as an assistant professor and has since become a tenured full professor. He also served as chair of the OSU Department of Theatre, and as Dean of Arts and Humanities for the College of Arts and Sciences, a post he recently left to return to the classroom and lead USITT.

USITT is the national non-profit association serving performing arts and live entertainment design and technology professionals. The 54-year-old, 4,000-member organization aims to advance the skills and knowledge of theatre technology practitioners and provide opportunities for them to connect, create, share, and promote their craft.

Shanda has been active in USITT since 1986, as a member, board member, Vice President for Publications, and was named a Fellow of the Institute in 2012.

“USITT is an industry leader in education, safety training, preserving theatrical heritage, and advancing diversity and inclusion in the industry,” Shanda said. “What an honor to serve this great organization at this time!”

Besides teaching production management and theatre technology at Ohio State, Shanda continues to oversee the university’s ongoing $200 million Arts District Project, which will expand its music school and the Wexner Center for the Arts, and provide a new home for the theatre department and a growing program in Moving Image Production.

Shanda and his wife, Ginny, live in Columbus. They have two daughters, Ann and Kay.