Diane Helfers PetrellaDiane Helfers Petrella, Dean of the UMKC Conservatory, has accepted the position of Dean of the College of the Arts at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. In that role, she will oversee the Schools of Art, Fashion Design and Merchandising, Music, Theatre and Dance, as well as the Kent State University Museum, Porthouse Theatre and the Kent Blossom Music Festival.

Petrella served UMKC and the Conservatory for 16 years. During her tenure, she guided the merger of the Theatre program into the Conservatory in 2019, strengthening the university’s footprint in the performing arts and creating new opportunities and synergies for our faculty, staff and students. In addition, she led the effort by faculty and students to weather the COVID-19 pivot, as the Conservatory faculty devised creative ways for students to learn and perform – indoors and outdoors – during the pandemic.

Petrella will remain in the dean’s post here through the end of June. Jennifer Lundgren, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, will be appointing an interim dean and will begin the work of preparing for a national search this fall.