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Mary Hafeli

Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts

Mary Claire Hafeli

Mary Claire Hafeli
Dean, School of Fine and Performing Arts

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Mary Hafeli has served as Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at the State University of New York at New Paltz since July 2009. 

Hafeli is the academic leader of the School of Fine and Performing Arts, which includes the departments of Art, Art History, Music and Theatre Arts. She is also in charge of the three related units of the school – the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, PianoSummer Institute and Festival and the Premiere Performance Series.

The current enrollment of the School of Fine and Performing Arts is 800 students. Hafeli supervises a full- and part-time faculty of more than 100.  

Prior to joining the SUNY New Paltz administration, Hafeli was Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Maryland Institute College of Art and taught courses in art and human development, investigations of studio materials for teaching, and qualitative research for four years. From 2003 to 2005, Hafeli was associate dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at New Paltz. She served as director of the Art Education Program at the college from 1999 to 2003. She also taught in the program.

Other administrative work includes co-associate director of Learning in and Through the Arts at the Center for Arts Education Research at Columbia University Teachers College; director of the Saturday Art School at Pratt Institute; director of education programs at the Ann Arbor Art Association; interim executive director of the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts; and director of education program at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. In addition to her teaching at the Maryland Institute College of Art and New Paltz, Hafeli has taught art education at such institutions as Columbia University Teachers College, Buffalo State College, the Pratt Institute and Long Island University – C.W. Post Campus.

Her research examines the ideas, ways of thinking, decisions and judgments that characterize the thought processes and active practices of artists, both adults and children, as they make artwork. Her publications trace the sources of young artists’ studio ideas and their relation to both to what is taught in art class and to practices of contemporary artists. Her work also analyzes the pedagogical conditions that promote students’ development of independent artistic judgment, and compares professional artists’ descriptions of their studio processes to the ways in which students’ art works are evaluated by their teachers.

Research awards include the Manuel Barkan Memorial Award (2009) from the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Mary Rouse Award (2006) from the NAEA Women’s Caucus  and the Marilyn Zurmuehlen Award for Research in Art Education (2005), also from the NAEA. She has served on the editorial board for Art Education (2002-2006) and as chair of the NAEA Research Task Force on Student Learning (1999-2002). She is currently the NAEA Eastern Region Higher Education Division director.

Hafeli earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art from the University of Michigan. She also received teacher certification for K-12 art from the University of Michigan. Hafeli received a Master of Education and a Doctorate of Education in Art and Art Education from Columbia University Teachers College in New York City.

Hafeli resides in New Paltz, N.Y.