Robert Kehrberg, longtime head of Western Carolina University’s department of music, has been appointed to the dean’s position in the university’s new College of Fine and Performing Arts, effective next July 1.
Kehrberg has served as interim dean of WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences since June 2005. Under a reorganization plan now being implemented at WCU, academic programs in the arts that have been housed in the College of Arts and Sciences are being relocated to the new college that will be led by Kehrberg.
His appointment was announced by university Provost Kyle Carter.
“Robert Kehrberg has proven his value over the last two years as interim dean of Arts and Sciences,” Carter said. “He has helped the college resolve a myriad of issues and has earned the respect of the faculty. I am confident that Robert is the right choice to serve as founding dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts.
“Since he is known to the faculty and has a deep understanding of the programs and faculty initiatives, he will have a very short learning curve. Therefore, I expect, in short order, the college to become one of Western’s centers of excellence that is both a resource to and attraction for the region.”
Kehrberg joined WCU’s faculty in 1987 as music department head and professor. He served another stint as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for a short period in 2004, but otherwise led WCU’s highly acclaimed music program from the time of his arrival on campus until his appointment as interim dean in 2005.
Kehrberg earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Iowa and his doctor of arts degree from the University of North Colorado in 1983. Before coming to Western, he was director of the School of Music at Eastern New Mexico University.
As dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts, Kehrberg will be responsible for overseeing its day-to-day operations, bringing cultural enrichment to the university and surrounding communities, and supporting faculty and students in the teaching, production and appreciation of art. The college will include the departments of music, art and interior design, theatre, dance, motion picture production, and possibly broadcasting. Kehrberg said he hopes to gain approval to identify the departments as “schools,” which would be a “mark of cultural distinction.”
In addition to his classroom teaching experience, Kehrberg has extensive experience as a performer on trombone and euphonium with symphony orchestras and other ensembles. He also was a member of the U.S. Air Force Band from 1968 through 1972.
Kehrberg’s work includes many original music compositions, and articles that have appeared in music periodicals. He is currently developing an online course in basic music theory that is designed to assist prospective music majors who are entering college.