Dr. DeAnna Toten Beard Appointed Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at Baylor University

April 3, 2023

Dear Faculty and Staff:

view of a woman with dark hair smiling in front of a brick wall

I am pleased to share with you that DeAnna Toten Beard, M.F.A., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and professor of theatre history and dramaturgy, has been selected as Baylor University’s Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, effective July 1, 2023.

I express my sincerest appreciation to the eight-member search committee for their valuable time and service during the successful internal candidate search process: Wes Null (chair), Julie deGraffenried, Cheryl Gochis, Coretta Pittman, Eric Robinson, Todd Still, Lisa Turner and Chuck Weaver. I’m also deeply grateful to James Bennighof, Ph.D., who will conclude 20 years of selfless and principled service as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs in May. After a well-deserved sabbatical, he will return to the School of Music to conduct research and teach.

As Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Dr. Toten Beard will provide vision and leadership for all aspects of the faculty experience at Baylor to build a culture of excellence, shared governance, inclusion and holistic support commensurate with a Christian research university. Held in high esteem by her department faculty, Dr. Toten Beard understands the power of good listening and thoughtful communication in managing people and helping them develop professionally. These successes, as well as her passion for good policies and systems, will serve her well as she works across the entire University to elevate the work of our faculty in support of Baylor’s strategic priorities.

She will work alongside the Provost, Vice Provosts, Deans, Department Chairs and other academic leaders to lead the University’s effort to recruit, retain and develop Baylor’s world-class faculty, collaborate with all Schools and Colleges to direct the faculty interviewing process, oversee the University’s process for promotion and tenure (including faculty of all ranks and designations), develop and implement the University’s policies and procedures related to faculty and partner with the Faculty Senate and the Provost to ensure shared governance.

Since 2002, Dr. Toten Beard has served many roles in the Department of Theatre Arts. She served as Associate Chair of Theatre Arts for five years (2013-2018) and was appointed Chair in 2018. Previously, she served seven years as Graduate Program Director of Theatre Arts (2008-2015). In 2012, she was named a Baylor Teaching Fellow. Dr. Toten Beard has also taught in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and served as co-director of the Baylor in Oxford study abroad program from 2014-2019.

Dr. Toten Beard earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre History, Literature and Criticism from Indiana University, a Master of Fine Arts in Dramaturgy from Stony Brook University and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and English Literature from the University of Mary Washington.

She is an active historian with research interests in early 20th-century U.S. theatre and popular entertainment. Her specializations include depictions of World War I on the American stage, American modernist theatre literature and the history of modernist theatre design in the United States, which were the focus of her scholarly publications in such journals as Blackwell’s Companion to American Literature, Theatre Annual, Public Theatre and Theatre Publics, New England Theatre Journal and Theatre History Studies. She also has contributed numerous scholarly book reviews and reference articles for theatre history reference sources. For several years, Dr. Toten Beard served as the editor of The Texas Theatre Journal, published annually by the Texas Educational Theatre Association.

Dr. Toten Beard devotes professional service to the work of the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST). She serves as NAST President and a member of the Board of Directors. From 2012-2017, she served as Commissioner for NAST, Chair of the Commission on Accreditation from 2017-2020 and Vice President from 2020-2023. She has served as a visiting evaluator of theatre programs around the country for NAST accreditation. Dr. Toten Beard also sits on the Board of the Council of Arts Accrediting Associations.

Dr. Toten Beard’s artistic work includes directing, including Sister Suffragettes (Baylor Theatre 2020), Who Am I This Time (Baylor Theatre 2017), The Underpants (Baylor Theatre 2015), Quartet with Grand Piano (Baylor Theatre 2012) and God and Mammon (Out of the Loop Festival 2005), which she also authored. Her original play Mount Abundance was given a staged reading at Baylor in 2021. Thanks to close collaborators in the Baylor Department of Film and Digital Media, Toten Beard also has appeared in several independent films, including Age of Bryce directed by Brian Elliott and David Feagan for which she won Best Comic Actress at the Garden State Film Festival (2020) and Best Actor (Female) at the On the Beach International Film Festival in Bulgaria (2020).

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Toten Beard on her appointment as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.


Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D.