College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

New leaders announced in three CAAH academic departments


Linda Dzuris stands in front of the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.
Linda Dzuris, Chair of the Department of Performing Arts, stands in front of the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

The College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities has appointed new leaders in three academic departments.

“I am thrilled to be welcoming these three new chairs to the College Leadership Team, and excited about where they will take their respective departments,” said Nicholas Vazsonyi, Dean of the College. “All three have already shown their caliber as acting and interim chairs, and come to the job with the support and confidence of their fellow faculty and staff.”

Linda Dzuris, Professor of music at Clemson since 1999, has been named Chair of the Department of Performing Arts. Dzuris has served as acting department chair since August.

“I am honored to lead a department that offers a nationally distinctive performing arts program,” Dzuris said. “It is truly a privilege to serve faculty that are not only highly accomplished in their respective fields of expertise, but also passionate educators. Of course, having the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts as the home for the performing arts on campus provides a living laboratory for brilliant creative collaboration. That’s exciting.”

She looks forwarding to the eventual return of live performances to the Brooks Center.

“A top priority is finding a way to bring performances back to Clemson in a safe manner as soon as possible. We are also hoping for the opportunity to present outdoor events with appropriate social distancing,” Dzuris said.

Diversity and inclusion will be a focus of Dzuris’ tenure.

“Planning for next season’s events will have the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community in mind and increased efforts to recruit BIPOC students will be made,” she said.

Dzuris is an internationally recognized performer on the carillon, the keyboard instrument mechanically linked to bells in a bell tower. She became Clemson’s first University Carillonneur in 1999, performing and teaching on the 48-bell Clemson University Memorial Carillon housed in Tillman Hall. Dzuris is a performance instructor of the North American Carillon School, which was established in 2013 as affiliate and American representative of the Royal Carillon School ‘Jef Denyn’ in Mechelen, Belgium. She received her B.M., M.M., and D.M.A. degrees in organ performance and church music from the University of Michigan. She has been a featured guest artist in carillon concert series throughout the United States, Spain, France, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

Amit Bein,  Professor of Middle Eastern studies, has been named Chair of the Department of History and Geography. Bein served as interim chair of the department for the past six months.

Amit Bein stands in front of columns at Clemson University.
Amit Bein has been appointed Chair of the Department of History and Geography. Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

“I am excited about the opportunity entrusted upon me to continue leading the Department of History and Geography,” Bein said. “My main task continues to be to help our diverse faculty in putting their creativity to work so they are able to continue producing exciting and innovative scholarship and offer our students the most inspiring and thought-provoking learning experiences in the classroom and beyond.”

Bein came to Clemson in 2006 as an assistant professor of history and served as Associate Professor from 2012 until his promotion to Professor in 2018. He earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern studies from Princeton University in 2006 after earning master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Tel Aviv University. Born in Israel, Bein conducts research in multiple languages, including Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew, French and German.

Bein is the author of two books, including Kemalist Turkey and the Middle East: International Relations in the Interwar Period (Cambridge University Press, 2017). He also has written many articles and conference papers on the Middle East, focusing particularly on the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey.

Kelly Smith, Professor of philosophy and biological sciences, has been appointed Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Smith has served as interim chair of the department since May 2019.

Kelly Smith sits in his office.
Kelly Smith has been named Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

“My department is known for truly excellent teaching as well as top notch research, which is of course something I want to maintain as chair,” Smith said. “There are lots of interesting opportunities for branching into new directions as well. Our Law, Liberty, and Justice program continues to thrive, complemented by our newly acquired sponsorship of the William T. Howell Pre-Law Society and our legal internships. The major initiative we want to accomplish this year, however, is to revamp the philosophy curriculum. That should reinvigorate the faculty and offer new opportunities for our students.”

Smith received his M.S. in Biology from Duke University in 1992, followed by his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1994. Smith’s research is wide ranging and includes work on philosophical issues surrounding the search for life on other planets, the concept of “genetic disease,” the relationship between religious faith and scientific reasoning, ethical implications of new technologies, complex systems in developmental and evolutionary biology, and the origins and nature of life.

Smith has worked with a number of organizations, including NASA, The Library of Congress and the European Space Agency. He has been interviewed on scientific topics over the years by several media organizations, including CNN, National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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