From Ashes by Elizabeth Fortunato

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Transitions 2021

Submitted on October 2, 2021 - 1:34pm

It is typical for the School to see changes in faculty and staff from one year to the next, but this year was unusual for the number of staff departures. Two moved into higher level positions in other units, and three retired. We wish them all well in their new adventures.


Julianna Jones (an Art History alum) joined the School in 2013 and quickly became critical to assisting the director of the School and managing faculty affairs. She also was the first chair of the School’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee. She took on the role of Executive Assistant to the Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences in July 2021.

Haley Lee became a staff member here in 2015. She was an important part of our fiscal team and played a major role in the School’s transition to Workday, the payroll system the UW implemented in 2017. As of August 2021, she is the Administrator in the UW Department of Anthropology.

Greg Ruffing arrived at the School in mid-August 2021 to be the new Assistant to the Director. He has degrees in photography and a background in academic administration, most recently working at University of Arizona.

Rhett Johnson also joined the School in mid-August, as the new Director of IT Services. He has extensive training and experience in supporting Apple systems and users.

Mark Rector, the School’s first Director of IT Services, retired at the end of August 2021 after more than 25 years on staff. He oversaw the School’ adoption of Apple systems, developed a computer center for student use, built essential databases, managed servers, and much more. He had originally meant to retire in June 2020 but put that plan on hold during the first part of the pandemic.

Michael Van Horn, who received his MFA here, has been the Instructional Technician for Photo/Media since August 1991 (yes, that is 30 years!). He has supported analog photography and the digital image world, including the now essential computers and software as well as large-scale printing. He is retiring in mid-October 2021.

Jeanette Mills (another Art History alum) is also retiring in mid-October. She joined the School in January 1991 as the assistant in the Slide Library. She became the Director of Visual Services in 1995 and oversaw the transition from 35mm slides to digital images. In addition, she took over writing / editing the School’s newsletter in 2001. She became the content manager for the School’s website in 2014 and is retiring as a Web Information Specialist.


Mark Zirpel, who held the Dale Chihuly Endowed Chair in Glass during his entire time at UW, retired in June 2021. He was our first professor in glass, and, after much effort, he was successful in bringing hot glass to our 3D4M facilities.

Sangram Majumdar is a new Assistant Professor in Painting + Drawing, which is part of our Division of Art. Learn more about Majumdar.

Miriam Chusid is joining us as an Assistant Professor in Art History. Her specialization is Japanese art. Read more about Chusid.

Meichun Liu has been hired as an Assistant Professor for Interaction Design. She will be joining us in autumn quarter 2022. Learn more about Liu.

Divya Mehra is a full-time Lecturer for Photo/Media in the Division of Art during the 2021–2022 academic year. Visit her website to see her work and read about her.