Dennison W. Griffith
PresidentDennison “Denny” W. Griffith, the third president of Columbus College of Art & Design, was appointed to the position in 1998. During his presidency, he has overseen the construction or renovation of more than 275,000 square feet of new academic, residential, and student life facilities, the installation of the college’s iconic 10-story “ART” sculpture, as well as growth in CCAD’s academic, community outreach, and exhibition programs.
He currently serves on the boards of the Columbus Partnership, Experience Columbus, and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the leading accreditation agency for the art and design field in this country. He has served as a curator, juror, and grants adjudicator for numerous arts agencies, service organizations, and visual arts presenters.
Alongside his administrative career, Denny has maintained a vigorous commitment to his work as an artist. His work has been included in more than 100 group and solo exhibitions domestically and abroad and is in the collections of such institutions as the Butler Institute of American Art, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Columbus Metropolitan Library, and Huntington Bank. He is represented by Hammond Harkins Galleries in Bexley, Ohio. He is the past recipient of artists’ fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, Arts Midwest, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.
He earned a master of fine arts degree from Ohio State University in 1994 and a bachelor of fine arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1974. He also earned a certificate of completion from The Getty Leadership for Museum Management in 1996.
Visit President Griffith's website at www.dennisonwgriffith.com.
Kevin J. Conlon
Kevin J. Conlon joined CCAD as vice president for Academic Affairs in June 2011 to lead the continuous improvement of academic programs and was appointed Provost in June 2013. He shapes the academic and cultural tone of the institution by orchestrating faculty and academic leadership’s creation of a coherent and forward-looking platform for a design-based, cross-disciplinary education. Conlon also assists the president in formulating policy and in strengthening and developing partnerships with other academic institutions.
In addition to his administrative positions, Conlon works as a writer and consultant in the fields of interaction design, architectural restoration, foundry work, curriculum design, and institutional effectiveness. He has also maintained his fine arts studio practice for more than 25 years. His distinctive sculptural works in bronze, cast resin, clay and fiberglass, as well as oil paintings and works on paper, have won many awards and honors and have been exhibited widely.
Prior to joining CCAD, Conlon served as associate vice president for academic affairs at Ringling College of Art and Design and as dean of undergraduate studies at Savannah College of Art and Design. He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of South Alabama and his master of fine arts degree from Ohio State University.
Jeffrey A. Fisher
Senior Vice President, Chief Fiscal OfficerJeffrey A. Fisher has been senior vice president and chief fiscal officer of Columbus College of Art & Design since 1998. He oversees the business, facilities, human relations, information technology and purchasing departments as well as all construction projects. He has been with the college for more than 27 years, originally hired in 1983. In 1994, he was named vice president for finance. In 1996 and 1997, Fisher served as interim co-president for 15 months while the college searched for a new president.
Prior to joining the college, Fisher worked at Reynolds Metals Company as a financial and cost analyst. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in administrative science and a major of accounting. In 1999, he attended and completed Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management.
Laurie Beth Sweeney
Vice President for AdvancementLaurie Beth Sweeney has been with Columbus College of Art & Design in a variety of development and alumni outreach roles since 2008. Appointed as vice president for Advancement in December 2011, she leads the college’s donor-centered fundraising model providing alumni, parents, and friends of the college with opportunities to engage and invest in CCAD’s work educating tomorrow’s leaders of the creative economy.
Prior to joining CCAD, Sweeney worked as interim executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus after several years in fund development and program leadership for the organization. During her time with the Boys & Girls Clubs she consulted with clubs nationwide to create fund development and resource development strategies.
Sweeney’s career has been focused in nonprofit management following her graduation from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in community development and nonprofit management. She earned a certificate in fundraising management from the Fundraising School of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is a Certified Fundraising Executive through the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Active in the community, Sweeney is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Columbus, a board member of the Ronald C. Cooper Memorial Fund, a volunteer at the Center for Healthy Families, and secretary and president-elect of the Central Ohio Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Originally from Dayton, Todd received a bachelor’s degree in music from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He is currently completing his doctorate in higher education administration at Ohio State University and serves as an adjunct faculty member at Ohio Dominican University, teaching courses in leadership, organizational change management, and graduate learning strategies.
Todd recently served as the director of professional development on the governing board of College Student Educators International, a comprehensive student affairs professional association with more than 8,000 members worldwide. He also is a member of the Association of Student Conduct Administrators, the Association of College and University Housing Officials–International, and the Ohio College Personnel Association.
Associate Vice President for Marketing & Communications
Robin Hepler joined Columbus College of Art & Design in 2011 as director of Marketing & Communications and became the college’s associate vice president for Marketing & Communications in 2013. Hepler leads the college’s marketing and public relations efforts, including projects ranging from campaigns to support recruitment, media campaigns to grow national name recognition for CCAD, and expanding and improving the college’s digital presence and marketing capabilities. She oversees marketing research and strategies for the college, as well as print design and production, digital communications, external and internal public relations, crisis communications, and media outreach.
Hepler comes to CCAD with senior-level experience in both marketing and media relations. She served as vice president of national media relations for Paul Werth Associates, assistant managing editor for Business First, marketing director for Center of Vocational Alternatives, and publication editor for Thomson Target Media. Hepler earned her BSJ at the EW Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University, and her MBA, from Capital University.
In addition to her work with CCAD, Hepler sits on the advisory council for the public relations program at Ohio Dominican University; and the board of trustees for ARC Industries. She is a former board member and past president of the Society of Professional Journalists, Central Ohio chapter and the Junior League of Columbus.
Chief Information Officer
Jeffrey Brotherton was appointed chief information officer at CCAD in October 2012. As CIO, he provides vision and leadership for the development and implementation of information technology in support of CCAD’s academic and business operations. He works to improve service quality and cost effectiveness while developing new capabilities in academic and business development for the school. He is responsible for all aspects of CCAD’s information technology and systems.
Before joining CCAD, Brotherton served as director of enterprise systems management at Ohio State University. He also held two positions over six years at Franklin University, first as director of technical infrastructure and then as chief information officer. Before entering the higher education arena, he held several positions in the private business world.
Brotherton has a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Augustana College in Illinois and a master’s degree in business administration from Franklin University.
Dean, School of Design Arts
Tom Gattis joined CCAD in 2012 to facilitate the creation the college’s new industrial design program. During that time, he worked with other design program chairs as well as the directors of liberal arts and foundation studies to ensure phase in of the Industrial Design program by fall 2013. Gattis, whose prior academic leadership experience includes an associate vice president post and management of curricular overhauls of industrial and furniture design programs, continues to chair the industrial design program in addition to his dean role. In private industry, Gattis has worked as a designer and project manager in the nuclear industry, as an account executive in the trade show and exhibition industry and as a professional model maker.
Gattis earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Auburn University and holds a master’s degree in industrial technology education from Bemidji State University.
A former professor at Savannah College of Art and Design, Gattis spends his spare time as a wooden boat builder and master wood turner. He is a member of the Industrial Designers Society of America, the American Craft Council, and the American Association of Woodturners.
Visit Tom Gattis' website: www.tomgattis.net
Dean, Enrollment Management
Eric Kaster joined CCAD in September 2012 as dean of Enrollment Management. Kaster directs CCAD’s strategic approach to recruitment and retention to meet the college’s enrollment goals.
Kaster supervises a staff that reaches out to prospective students, educators and referral networks to extend and strengthen the CCAD brand identity by focusing on the majors and degrees, and career paths CCAD offers students.
Prior to joining CCAD, Kaster was assistant dean of Admissions at Ringling College of Art & Design. Kaster is an alumnus of CCAD. He earned his BFA in Illustration in 1988 and worked as an admissions counselor at CCAD for several years after graduation.
Dean of Students
Chris Mundell joined Columbus College of Art & Design in 2007 and has worked in a variety of student affairs positions with a focus on student success initiatives and academic support programs. He has been instrumental in expanding student support services including the development of an early warning system to identify and assist academically at-risk students, a student behavioral intervention, and care team and an innovative peer tutor/mentor program.
As dean of students, Mundell is responsible for guiding collaborative efforts to enrich the quality of student life. His key responsibilities include direct oversight of counseling and wellness services, disability services, residence life, student involvement, new student orientation, crisis intervention, and student conduct processes.
An active professional and community steward, Mundell is a member of ACPA (College Student Educators International) and has served since 2008 on the executive board for the Ohio College Personnel Association, most recently as its president. Mundell completed the ACPA Mid-Level Management Institute and is a 2012 graduate of the Leadership Columbus program. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Heidelberg College and a master of science degree in student affairs and higher education from Miami University.
Dean, School of Studio Arts
Julie Taggart was appointed dean of the studio arts school in June 2012. She began her career at CCAD in 1994 when she was hired to teach drawing, painting and color theory. She shifted her focus to administration after being appointed chairwoman of painting in 2002. Most recently, as dean of fine art and foundation studies, Taggart transformed the freshman program into a digitally integrated and conceptually engaging curriculum focused on innovation. Traditional skills and expectations of technical excellence have merged with technology-driven, inquiry-based approaches that better prepare students for the rigor of their chosen majors and the expectations of careers in the creative economy.
Taggart is an alumna of CCAD and earned a master’s of fine arts in painting from Syracuse University.
In addition to her work at CCAD, Taggart maintains an active studio practice and a commitment to volunteerism. She was represented by Rebecca Ibel Gallery in Columbus until the gallery closed in 2011, and her paintings have been included in numerous national and international exhibitions. Taggart volunteers weekly at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and is a path watch volunteer for the city of Westerville.
Visit Julie Taggart's website: julietaggartstudio.com