College of Fine Arts, School of Music

Arizona Arts announces the appointment of John Milbauer as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at the College of Fine Arts, beginning Aug. 2. 

For 25 years, Milbauer, an acclaimed Steinway pianist, has performed all over the world. He has taught Fred Fox School of Music students for the last 14 years and will continue to do so as a professor of piano. Milbauer sits on a number of University committees, including the Committee of Eleven and the Committee of Conciliation (chair), and is a CFA Faculty Senator. He earned the Superior Teaching Award in 2020 from the College of Humanities for his seminar, Listening to Modern Music: Beyond Brahms at the Piano.

“I am delighted that John Milbauer has agreed to take on this critical role in the dean’s office,” said Andrew Schulz, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “We often say — and I truly believe — that faculty are our most important asset in the college. Ensuring faculty success across research, teaching, and service is absolutely critical to our continued excellence and national reputation across our disciplines. John’s deep engagement with faculty governance and his recent experiences at Harvard’s Kennedy School position him well to work with, and advocate for, faculty at all career stages.  

“I also am grateful to all those who applied to this internal search. We had a deep pool of well-qualified candidates, which bodes well for our future.”

In this new role, Milbauer will work closely with the College and University leadership, and with faculty to formulate, implement and assess strategies for the continuous growth and success of CFA faculty. He will work closely with Amy Kraehe, recently appointed Associate Vice President for Equity in the Arts, to integrate faculty affairs initiatives into broader strategies regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion.

“We have amazing faculty throughout CFA, and the best part of the position will be getting to know everyone better,” Milbauer said. “There are many questions that can stimulate or empower colleagues: Are you in a period of engagement or of reflection in your work? What are the unnecessary pressure points that we can try to alleviate? Is there fertile ground for you to explore in a nearby—or not so nearby—field, and what is the relationship of your individual purpose to the mission of CFA and UA?”

In 2019-2020, Milbauer took a leave of absence and entered the one-year Master in Public Administration program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as a John F. Kennedy Fellow. While at the Harvard Kennedy School, Milbauer was co-chair of the Arts and Culture Caucus and associate editor of the LGBTQ Policy Journal

“I spent a year at the Kennedy School examining such diverse fields as global development, multilateral governance, behavioral science and, especially, adaptive leadership—the study of how to identify and solve novel problems for which there is not an existing solution. Much of what I learned has direct applications to the arts, and this position in faculty affairs presents an opportunity to apply those skills to supporting CFA faculty, both individually and as a whole.

“I’m particularly interested in the professional development aspect: how do we assist and encourage faculty throughout a life of engagement, reflection, imagination, and change? One of my advisors said, ‘A well-designed life is generative and endlessly creative.’ I loved that and thought, ‘Is my life endlessly creative? If not, what adjustment do I need to make?’ And expanding from one’s own life to a college comprised of individuals is exciting: how do we support one another to ensure that our work in the arts is, indeed, generative and endlessly creative? This is an essential question.”

Milbauer holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM), The Juilliard School (MM), Manhattan School of Music (DMA), and Harvard Kennedy School (MPA). He is co-chair of the Chautauqua Institution’s piano program in New York.