Wayland’s School of Creative Arts announces administrative and faculty changes

PLAINVIEW – The School of Creative Arts at Wayland Baptist University is experiencing an exciting time of transition with the announcement of new administration and additional facility for this fall.

Dr. Richard Fountain, Professor of Piano since 2008, has been named Dean of the School of Creative Arts, and Dr. Yahui Zhang, Professor of Communication and Media Studies since 2008, has been named Associate Dean. Ray Rush, an adjunct professor from 2015 to 2020, returns to the university faculty as an Assistant Professor of Media Production, and Tennille Reneau, an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Black Hills State University in South Dakota, joins Wayland as an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design.

Fountain, who has served as Associate Dean, replaces Dr. Ann Stutes, Shaw Professor of Music, as the top administrator for the School of Creative Arts. Stutes has accepted the position of Assistant Director of Accreditation and Programs for the National Association of Schools of Music at the National Office for Arts Accreditation in Reston, Va.

“Even though I am sad to leave Wayland, I look forward to sharing my expertise in arts education with collegiate music, art and design, theater, and dance programs in universities across the country,” Stutes said. “I will continue to advocate for excellence in arts education while assisting others with the accreditation process.”

Fountain said he is honored follow Stutes in leading the School of Creative Arts.

“Dr. Stutes has been an expert mentor and a close personal friend since I arrived at WBU, and she certainly leaves big shoes to fill,” he said. “I am truly excited about our future. We have a fantastic faculty, a diverse array of talented and dedicated students, and a schoolwide commitment to creating and delivering excellent programs that will prepare our Creative Arts graduates for 21st-century employment.”

“I’m particularly proud to work with Dr. Yahui Zhang, our new Associate Dean,” Fountain said. “Dr. Zhang is a person of great wisdom and deep passion for teaching, and I know we’ll be a great team. She and I joined Wayland at the same time, 15 years ago, so there is a certain poetic symmetry in our coming together on a leadership team after our many years of service as faculty.”

The transitions come as Steve Long, Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies, moves into retirement. He has been a part of the faculty for 33 years, coming to Wayland from the Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission.

Stutes has high praise for Rush and Reneau, who will be a part of the faculty this fall. “What they bring in terms of both teaching experience and professional expertise aligns well with our school’s mission of developing artistic excellence, entrepreneurial vision, and a heart for service-learning,” she said.

 A fully qualified professional in broadcast and educational television with more than 40 years of experience, Rush brings commercial production, training, and educational video production and storytelling experience to the university. He has years of experience mentoring, coaching, and instructing students as well as developing staff and students in media literacy.

A Wayland Alum, Rush earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications and Psychology in 1986 and a Master of Education in Instructional Technology in 2015. He comes to Wayland from Lubbock Independent School District, where he was a content producer.

Reneau earned an Associate of Art degree at York College in 2000, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from Harding University in 2003, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Communication Design from Louisiana State University in 2012. She served as teaching assistant and adjunct professor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe before serving as a graduate instructor and instructor at Louisiana Tech University. She served as an Assistant Professor of Visual Communication at Louisiana Christian University before spending a year teaching English in Daejeon, South Korea. She joined Black Hills State University in 2018.

The mission of Wayland’s School of Creative Arts is to unite future professionals and dedicated faculty and staff within a mentor-apprenticeship culture devoted to the promotion of artistic excellence, entrepreneurial vision, and Christ-centered servant leadership. The school includes the Department of Art & Design, Department of Media & Communications, and Department of Music.

Degree options include Two-Dimensional Art, Graphic Design, and Media Arts–Graphic Design, Media Arts–Multimedia Production & Broadcasting, Media Arts–Communication Studies, Choral Music Education, Worship Studies, Media Arts–Music Production, Vocal Studies, Piano Pedagogy, Theory & Composition, and American Music Studies.