Professor of Theatre Liz Carlin-Metz made a surprise announcement in Harbach Theatre on Wednesday, that Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Jeff Grace had been offered the permanent position of Assistant Professor of Theatre, and that he had accepted. The appointment comes following a three-year search to fill the temporary position.
Theatre students were told to gather in Harbach at 4:22 p.m. by an email with the subject line “THEATRE FLASH MOB ALERT.” At 4:22 many students had arrived, but none seemed to know the actual purpose. One student said, “It’s time guys — I have no idea what for, but it is.”
Eventually Carlin-Metz arrived and explained to the crowd that it was not actually a flash mob, but an announcement that a job offer had been made and had been accepted. Before the actual announcement, Carlin-Metz told all of the students to get on stage and dance around for a few moments, since they had been gathered for a flash mob, where the students remained.
“I would like to introduce a new, permanent member of faculty, Assistant Professor, Jeff Grace,” Carlin-Metz said. The waiting students erupted in cheers and applause, and there were shouts of “speech, speech,” which Grace answered, “Unnecessary, definitely unnecessary.”
The filling of the position of Assistant Professor of Theatre has not been officially announced yet, and Carlin-Metz explained that, “Normally there is not a public announcement until the president’s letter, but we wanted to tell you [the students], and the dean said yes.”
Sophomore Josh Gunter said that he was “very excited” about the appointment. “He [Jeff Grace] cares a lot about the students, more so than a lot of professors [….] he is very involved.”
Senior Noel Sherrard echoed Gunter’s feelings. “It’s an occasion, a gateway drug, if you will, a whole new year [….] Jeff is a fantastic professor and a fantastic director,” he said.
Carlin-Metz spoke highly of Grace and his new appointment, “Jeff has skills in performance, and he has tremendous depth and breadth in dramatic history, background in curriculum development, and [is] a terrific collaborator [….] It is always a delight when a theatre literature class is closed out.”