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Department of Dance chair honored for service, leadership

Department of Dance Chair Susan Hadley was presented with the President and Provost’s Award for Distinguished Faculty Service in Sullivant Hall for her years of service and dedication to the university. Credit: Courtesy of Chris Summers

When Department of Dance Chair Susan Hadley worked with University President Michael Drake to surprise her co-worker with an award for high-achieving faculty, she had no idea a surprise was in store for her as well.

“My husband and daughter were outside waiting to surprise me,” Hadley said. “I spent two weeks planning this surprise, while two staff members, my husband and daughter were planning this surprise for me.”

Just as she thought the celebration was over, Hadley was presented the President and Provost’s Award for Distinguished Faculty Service in Sullivant Hall by Drake for her years of service and her dedication to several campus committees, including the Council of Academic Affairs and the Presidential Fellowship.

The Council of Academic Affairs reviews changes in the curriculum at Ohio State, and the Presidential Fellowship gives funding to graduate students for their final year.

Before coming to Ohio State, Hadley was a principal dancer and eventually rehearsal director for the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn New York. Her work has been performed by companies such as BalletMet Columbus, and has received recognition from many, including the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wexner Center for the Arts, among others.

Susan Petry, a professor in dance, said Hadley accomplishes all of this because she is organized, great with coming up with ideas and has a skill for planning.

“Last year she was in charge of a major collaboration with BalletMet and the Wexner Center,” Petry said. “It was a really complex program and she really made it successful.”

Hadley said receiving this award is not just important to her, but it brings attention to how important dance and the arts are to discussions and services on campus.

“Any time that students, staff and faculty are at the table with people across the university, we become advocates for dance,” Hadley said. “It is one more opportunity for us to make the excellence of this department more known to the university.”                   

Hadley said the Department of Dance has been a nationally ranked program for a long time and that she is following in the footsteps of the people who have come before her.

Petry said Hadley also has done great work to promote diversity and inclusion within the dance department and would like to continue that work.

“She’s really good about making sure that there isn’t just tokenism,” Petry said. “We are actively growing in conversation with each other and students.”

As well as working toward a more diverse department, Hadley said she wants to continue to to inform the university about the Department of Dance and continue to advocate for the arts.

“Everyone in the arts must be constantly focused on advocating on the importance of arts in college education, K-12 education and in society at large,” she said.  

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