Charles O'Connor

Charles O'Connor

Charles O'Connor

Dean
MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television (now the School of Cinema Arts)
BA in Theatre from California State University, Northridge

Chuck has been the dean of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts since 2012. He overseas three academic units: the Department of Art and Art History, the Glenn Korff School of Music, and the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. The College has one non-academic unit, the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center that presents independent and foreign films to the campus and community of Lincoln; as well as the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, the professional arm of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film.

In November of 2015, the College announced a $57 million investment that includes a $20 million gift from the Johnny Carson Foundation for the creation of the new Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, an exciting new program at the vanguard of film and emerging media that creatively fuses virtual production with performative experiences across film; theatre and live stage performance; gaming, interactive media, broadcast and Internet media; and augmented and virtual reality. The new Carson Center will be an internationally distinct program based on the premise that some of the most exciting developments in film and emerging media today reside at their boundaries, where cinematic narrative and storytelling intersects with science, the humanities, computer science, engineering, music, fine arts and other disciplines. For more information on the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts go to http://arts.unl.edu/carson-center.

Chuck began his career at UNL as an Assistant Professor of Theatre in 1993. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1996, and to Full Professor in 1998. His area of specialization is design for theatre, film and television. His worked evolved to incorporate computer visualization and high-speed real-time rendering for virtual production environments, most notably in the field of virtual set design.

In the 1990s, he envisioned and developed the initial film and new media program at UNL that implemented the early use of digital technology and interactive media. He served as the faculty liaison in the planning and design of the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center and the renovated Temple Building, which houses the College’s film and new media program.

His early career included designing the sets for television shows on nearly all the major studios, broadcast and cable networks such as Fox, CBS, ABC, Showtime, Universal, MGM, Disney and others, and for notable theatres such as the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. He has won several awards for his work in television production design and computer visualization.

In 2003, Chuck became the Chair and Executive Director of the Department of Theatre and the Nevada Conservatory Theatre at UNLV. There he doubled the audience size of the Conservatory while becoming the most subscribed performing arts organization in Las Vegas and winning the “Best of Las Vegas” award in 2006.

From 2008–2012, Chuck was the Dean of College of Visual and Performing Arts at Indiana University–Purdue University, Fort Wayne. There he was instrumental in securing an endowment from Sweetwater Sound, Inc. in support of a new music technology program.

He holds an MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television (now the School of Cinema Arts), and a BA in Theatre from California State University, Northridge.