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Exciting Leadership Update from the Department of Art Education

Published February 5, 2024

We have some exciting news to share about recent changes to leadership in the Department of Art Education. We are pleased to announce Dr. Sara Scott Shield’s well-deserved promotion to Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of the College of Fine Arts at Florida State. Over the past 9 years Sara has been with us (more than 3 of those as Department Chair), she has consistently demonstrated unwavering support for those who have been fortunate enough to have worked alongside and learned from her. Her communication, organization, and time management skills have significantly bolstered departmental operations. More than that, however, Sara has a special combination of integrity and empathy, making her a unique part of our “art ed family,” as she would say. We are confident that she will bring the same level of excellence to her new role.

Messages from faculty & staff:

Sara carried the Department—with grace, humor, and warmth—through the disruption of COVID, and helped us emerge from that experience as a more caring, collaborative, and supportive team of faculty and students. Under her leadership, she fostered a sense of collective purpose that inspired our Department to find sustainable methods for a continual evolution and improvement. Her gift to the Department of Art Education was her belief that a department can be a forward-thinking space for rigor, excellence, and solidarity; she provided the tools we needed to meet this aspiration.


I am delighted for Sara, who, as a representative of the Art Education faculty, has taken on the role of Associate Dean for the College. Even though I’ve worked with Sara for a short time, I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to know her as a wonderful person and colleague. From the moment I was a job candidate for my current position, she consistently provided care, support, and transparency. I am eagerly anticipating the positive impact her leadership will have on the future of the College.


Sara is not only an extraordinary leader, but also led during extraordinary circumstances. She took on the role of Departmental Chair amidst the throes of a global pandemic, during social and political upheaval, and immediately after being tenured herself – leading the Department to new heights in that process through vision, wisdom, and a caring attitude for both students and faculty.


Sara has led our Department as Chair with gracious intelligence, clear vision, a collaborative spirit, and empathic compassion over the past several years. Her presence and leadership have helped us become a productive and loving family. I am not surprised that her stellar work and humanity has resulted in a promotion. We will miss her, but she leaves a strong legacy. I am so glad others will benefit from her wisdom and skill.


Sara’s warm welcome and encouraging mentorship made my entry into the Department as a newer faculty truly enriching. Her invaluable constructive feedback and confidence boosts were instrumental in my professional growth, and I deeply admire her organizational skills and dedication to fostering departmental growth. I am confident that she will excel in her new role.


Working with Sara was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my professional career. Sara stepped into her role as Chair at the height of the COVID pandemic, and to say she handled it with grace would be an understatement. She was and remains an incredible source of information, strength, and support to faculty, students, and staff alike.


Now, we are delighted to say that Dr. Rachel Fendler has stepped into the role of Department Chair. Her responsibilities as Associate Chair have prepared her for this new management position, and we know we are in very capable hands under her leadership.