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New president wants DCAD to remain a cultural landmark

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By Joyce L. Carroll
Special to Delaware Business Times

On Aug. 1, Jean Dahlgren stepped into her new role at the Delaware College of Art and Design (DCAD). She is the third president of the 20-year-old institution, which serves as a community anchor in downtown Wilmington. She said DCAD will continue to serve as a cultural landmark under her leadership.

“That’s certainly how we see it. DCAD is intrinsically woven into the cultural fabric of Wilmington. We want to continue that,” she said.

Dahlgren is already working on partnerships to provide DCAD students with new skill sets.

“NextFab has opened a branch here in Wilmington,” she said. “Students in the fall will be able to take classes there in 3-D printing and scanning.”

She said the opportunity will provide a unique edge to students who choose engineering or other technical fields as their livelihoods.

Dahlgren hails from New York and most recently served as dean of undergraduate programs at Sage College in Albany, New York.

A graphic designer in her own right, Dahlgren began her career at Sage as a professor in 1988. Nearly a decade as an advanced placement reader for Studio Art for the College Board rounds out her student-centered experience.

A search committee selected Dahlgren following a nationwide search and selected her from a field of over 40 applicants.

Aside from getting to know DCAD staff and students, Dahlgren said she plans to launch a new branding strategy and strategic plan.

“We certainly want to grow enrollment,” she said.

Dahlgren has spent her initial weeks in Delaware getting to know key players and stakeholders within the city and beyond its borders.

To the community, she offered an invitation.

“It won’t take long to shout from the rooftop who we are,” she said. “Our school is open. We want people to walk through the doors.”

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