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Meet CAMD’s new dean, Elizabeth Hudson

07/28/15 - BOSTON, MA. - Elizabeth Hudson, Dean of the College of Arts, Media and Design. Photo by: Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

In her first weeks as the new dean, Elizabeth Hudson says she’s been impressed with the vibrancy, excitement, and academic and creative strengths within the College of Arts, Media and Design, both in terms of its curricula and community. And she’s eager to help propel these existing and new programs to even greater heights.

“It’s a rich environment full of possibilities,” Hudson says of the college, “and we have wonderful people already in place doing great things.”

Hudson arrived at Northeastern on July 20. She is an accomplished leader and scholar, having previously served as the inaugural director of the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, from 2006 to 2013. She brings a wealth of experience in both music and musicology scholarship, and leading successful initiatives that advanced the school’s academic and research programs and international profile.

Now at Northeastern, Hudson is keen on bringing even greater emphasis on and distinction to the College of Arts, Media and Design’s interdisciplinary initiatives, both in terms of collaborations within the college and with other colleges across the university.

Hudson notes one of the factors that attracted her to Northeastern was the “brilliant combination” of disciplines that comprise the college, which merges the studies of art and design, architecture, music, and theatre with journalism, communication studies, game design, media studies, and new media and technology. What’s more, she was also drawn to Northeastern’s focus on experiential learning opportunities for students and use-inspired research.

Hudson calls Northeastern’s signature co-op program an “immersive and foundational experience” for students, and she’s eager to help facilitate new co-op partnerships abroad. When asked what she believes are the critical skills students must attain before graduation, Hudson pointed to a combination of creativity, critical thinking, and new media and technology savvy. She added that students must be nimble enough to adjust to a shifting landscape.

“These attributes are important today no matter what discipline you’ve studied,” she said.

During her seven-year tenure as director of the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, Hudson’s accomplishments included overhauling the curriculum to enhance professional training, improving the research-teaching nexus, and increasing cross-disciplinary collaboration. She facilitated the creation of a joint doctorate program between music and engineering, and her leadership established the preeminence of the school’s research faculty in the 2012 national research quality evaluation. On the operational side, she successfully managed the merger of two very different music institutions—Massey’s Conservatorium of Music and Victoria’s School of Music—while also implementing sound financial management and creating a new leadership structure within the school.

Prior to her tenure at the New Zealand School of Music, Hudson held both faculty and administrative leadership positions at the University of Virginia, where she worked to forge relationships across a range of disciplines from media studies and women’s studies to engineering. As director of undergraduate programs in the McIntire Department of Music, she administered an innovative bachelor’s program that received national acclaim. As director of graduate programs, she led a doctorate in music that created a novel and inclusive approach to graduate training, reshaping disciplinary boundaries. As chair of the department, she recruited outstanding faculty, increased the department’s visibility and fundraising profile, and built upon the distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs at U.Va.

Throughout Hudson’s academic career, she has received numerous grants and fellowships, including from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lilly Teaching Fellowship, the University of Virginia Sesquicentennial Associate for the Centre for Advanced Studies, and the Thomas Jefferson Visiting Fellowship at Downing College, Cambridge University.

Hudson was founding assistant editor and later associate editor of the Cambridge Opera Journal, and is currently a member of the executive board of the American Institute of Verdi Studies and an editorial board member of Verdi Forum. Her critical edition of Verdi’s Il corsaro (published by The University of Chicago Press) has received performances around the world, including at Covent Garden, Trieste, Parma, and Barcelona, and is widely available in a DVD video recording. She has published in leading academic journals and presses on the operas of Verdi, Donizetti, and Puccini. Her current work blends approaches from the fields of musicology, Italian Risorgimento history, trauma studies, and recent work in the neuroscience of music and emotion to propose a new understanding of Verdi’s middle period operas.

Hudson studied piano at the Manhattan School of Music and in Vienna, and later received her bachelor’s degree from Smith College and her master’s degree and doctorate, both in musicology, from Cornell University. She was awarded an AMS 50 Fellowship for her dissertation on Verdi.

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