J. (Joseph) Kline, PhD
President, Watkins College of Art

BA Performing Arts (theatre), Colorado State University
MFA Drama (acting), Catholic University of America
PhD Fine Arts (playwriting/arts management), Texas Tech University

Artful leadership

When Dr. J. (Joseph) Kline joined Watkins as its 16th president in 2015, he came with a prodigious list of accomplishments in academic administration. As dean of the College of Fine Arts and professor of theatre at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) from 2009 to 2015, Dr. Kline:

  • oversaw a $7.5 million renovation of the art building (fine art, film, and graphic design) and a $9 million renovation of the music building
  • guided the degree programs in art, theatre, music, music education, digital filmmaking, and communication and was responsible for curriculum, assessment, budgets, artist activities, recruiting, galleries, and capital projects
  • served on ENMU technology, strategic planning, and reaccreditation committees
  • hosted a weekly show on the university’s NPR-affiliated radio station

Dr. Kline’s administrative expertise includes student recruitment, interdisciplinary programming, fundraising, and strategic partnerships. At the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) from 2005 to 2009, he served as professor and chair, Performing Arts department, and producing artistic director, School of Performing Arts. His responsibilities included overseeing curriculum, faculty and staff, budgets, and artistic performances of the school of performing arts. As chair of the departments of production design and of dramatic writing, Dr. Kline developed and launched a new undergraduate major, a graduate studies curriculum, and a partnership with the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre.

Prior to his time at SCAD, Dr. Kline was an associate professor and chair of the Performing and Fine Arts department at DeSales University with executive supervision of majors in TV/film, theatre, and dance. He also oversaw the school’s fine art and music offerings. During his tenure, student enrollment in the department increased by more than 100 percent and the Performing and Fine Arts department grew to be the university’s largest.

The artist in the administrator

As impressive as his administrative achievements are, Dr. Kline brings something equally important to his leadership of Watkins—the heart, soul, and vision of a creative professional and teacher. His artistic resume includes:

  • membership in the Dramatists Guild, Actors’ Equity Association, and SAG – AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists)
  • roles as associate/line producer, actor, and director at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (the official Shakespeare festival of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
  • director or performer at Barter Theatre (the State Theatre of Virginia), the Maryland Shakespeare Festival, Folger Theatre, and the Denver Center Theatre Company
  • actor in feature films, network television series, and national commercials
  • author of more than 10 premier productions, including original plays, adaptations, dance, and multimedia works
  • playwright-in-residence at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon (the State Theatre of Virginia)

A visionary classroom and studio educator, Dr. Kline’s teaching experience includes acting, directing, arts management, production, theatre history, dramatic literature, criticism, dramaturgy, playwriting, and aesthetics.