New leadership named for TCU’s Department of Theatre and School of Music

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The TCU College of Fine Arts is pleased to announce new leadership in the Department of Theatre and the School of Music.

Effective June 1, 2021, Associate Professor Jennifer Engler took over as the department chair of Theatre from Dr. Harry Parker who stepped away to focus more on teaching and directing both at TCU and professionally.

Effective July 1, 2021, Associate Professor of Music Theory Dr. Sean Atkinson will become the director of the TCU School of Music. Atkinson replaces Dr. Kristen Queen who served as interim director from 2018 and will remain at TCU in a position serving the School and the College.

“I am grateful to Harry and Kristen for their years of service, and I proudly welcome Jennifer and Sean to the College of Fine Arts leadership team,” said College of Fine Arts Dean Richard C. Gipson. “These new leaders have a passion for the arts and a dedication to TCU and our students. I know their contributions will enrich these important units and the college in the years to come.”

Jennifer Engler

Engler, who has served as the head of TCU’s acting program, has taught in the Department of Theatre since 2003. Her areas of focus include acting, movement for the actor and directing. She is the College of Fine Arts Advisory Committee chair and serves as a member of the Faculty Senate, where she is a part of the student relations committee.

In her role as department chair, Engler says she is looking forward to continuing the Department of Theatre’s legacy of recruiting and developing talented students.

“The search for skilled and diverse young artists has always been one of the highlights of my work,” said Engler. “I have seen the quality of our program nourished by strong recruitment efforts. People are the heart of theatre, and I want to be certain that we continue to attract students with the highest level of talent paired with a desire to create positive change with their artistry.”

Engler earned an MFA in acting from Michigan State University and a BFA from Emporia State University.

Sean Atkinson, PhD portrait

Dr. Sean Atkinson

Atkinson has taught a wide range of music courses at TCU, including first- and second-year music theory and aural skills, form and analysis, and graduate seminars on music analysis, musical meaning and popular music. He is the author of a course for The Great Courses called Music Theory: The Foundation of Great Music, which teaches viewers the basics of Western music theory. His research has been published in journals including Music Theory OnlineIndiana Theory ReviewThe Dutch Journal of Music TheoryMusic Theory and Analysis, and Popular Music.

Atkinson is also active in the growing field of video game music, known as ludomusicology. In 2018, he joined with a group of TCU faculty to create No Quarters, an on-campus video game lab committed to the interdisciplinary research and teaching of video games. Housed in TCU’s Mary Couts Burnett Library, the lab allows students and teachers to explore a growing number of games and consoles, including virtual reality.

“As director, I’m looking forward to working with and leading an amazing group of talented faculty, staff, and students,” said Atkinson. “We are a fantastic school of music, and I’m excited for what the future has in store.”

Atkinson is the former chair of TCU’s Faculty Senate. He earned a Ph.D. and MM in music theory from Florida State University and a BM in music theory and trombone performance from Furman University.