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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

University of Michigan Associate Dean Named Dean of Rensselaer School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

June 13, 2011

University of Michigan Associate Dean Named Dean of Rensselaer School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Mary Simoni, Ph.D.

Mary Simoni, Ph.D.


Mary Simoni, associate dean for research and community engagement, and tenured full professor in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan, has been appointed dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, effective October 1, 2011. The announcement was made June 13 by Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson.

“Mary Simoni brings to the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences a wealth of experience at the intersection of technology and the humanities, and interdisciplinary collaboration,” Jackson said. “Her academic leadership at the University of Michigan, along with her experience as a researcher and a professor, will serve her well as she leads the school in its vital role as Rensselaer continues to build its strength in the full range of academic disciplines as a leader among research universities.”

Simoni has served as associate dean of the UM School of Music, Theatre and Dance for the past seven years, having joined the school as director of the Center for Performing Arts and Technology in 1994. As associate dean, Simoni developed research opportunities and strategic planning processes for the school, developed and directed electronic publications, and launched and directed the University of Michigan record label, Block M Records, whose goal is to promote the vitality, multiplicity, and excellence of the University of Michigan through web-based publication of media-rich scholarly and creative research.

The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance is consistently ranked among the top performing arts schools in the country when compared with performance-oriented conservatories or prestigious academic departments of music. In addition to her administrative role, Simoni has been a prolific researcher in computer music, and she serves as a professor of performing arts technology.

As chair of the Department of Performing Arts Technology, a post she held from 1996 through 2009, Simoni developed and directed four interdisciplinary undergraduate programs and one graduate program designed to advance the aesthetics and techniques of emerging technologies in the arts through composition, performance, and research. She was also responsible for recruiting, admissions, curriculum development, academic advising, fundraising, and corporate relations on behalf of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance as well as the university. Additionally, Simoni has served on the UM Non-Traditional Educational Programs Task Force, the University Accreditation Team, the University Libraries Scholarly Publications Advisory Group, University of Michigan Press Executive Board, the Executive Board of the Rackham Graduate School, and the Office of the President North Campus Planning Committee.

Prior to joining UM, Simoni was a teaching assistant at the Stanford University Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). She has also taught at the Berklee College of Music, Michigan State University, and Lansing Community College.

Simoni holds a Music Theory, an M.Mus. in Music Composition, a B. Mus. in Music Education, and a B.Mus. in Music Theory and Composition from Michigan State University. She holds a faculty appointment in the design science program in the University of Michigan College of Engineering.

Her music and multimedia works have been performed in Asia, Europe, and widely throughout the United States and have been recorded by Centaur Records, the Leonardo Music Journal published by the MIT Press, and the International Computer Music Association. She is a recipient of the Computer World Honors Award for her work in digital music information retrieval.

Simoni has appeared as a pianist, using live electronics at the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States and the International Computer Music Association, of which she is a past president. She is author of several books, Algorithmic Composition: A Gentle Introduction to Algorithmic Composition , published by the University of Michigan, and Analytical Methods of Electroacoustic Music , published by Routledge, and is coauthor of several others. The Knight Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs have funded her research.

Contact: Mary L. Martialay
Phone: (518) 276-2146