Don Tuski, president of Pacific Northwest College of Art, has quit to become president of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. His announcement Thursday morning took PNCA faculty, staff, and students by surprise. Tuski had come to Portland in 2016from the Maine College of Art.
Watch for more news and analysis as the story develops.
Text of the PNCA press release:
PNCA President Donald Tuski Headed Home to Michigan July 1, Accepts Position as President of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies
The Board of Governors has begun the transition planning effort to identify an interim president, and ultimately a new president
PORTLAND, Ore. — Don Tuski, PhD, president of Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), announced today that he has accepted a new position as president of the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit. Tuski’s decision will take him home to Michigan, where he was born and raised, and where his two brothers and his sister live. It will also bring him closer to his children, who live in New York and Texas.
“This was a really difficult decision for me to make given the love I have for PNCA’s students, staff, faculty, donors and supporters of the college, and Portland’s art community,” says Tuski. “Over the past three years, I have been fortunate to call Portland and the college my home, and I will miss it greatly. When I was approached by CCS through their recruitment agency, it was clear to me and my family that this was an opportunity I had to explore, given the chance to return home and help support art and design education in Detroit.”
Tuski has led PNCA since 2016 and previously served as president of Maine College of Art. Prior to that, he spent 25 years in various roles at Olivet College, a private liberal arts college in Olivet, Michigan (and Tuski’s alma mater), where he served for nine years as president (2001–2010).
“Don has been integral to PNCA’s success over the past few years, helping grow the college’s enrollment, increase its program offerings, support arts education in the area, and solidify PNCA as a cornerstone of Portland’s higher education art and design community,” said PNCA Board Chair Scott Musch. “Our board is thankful for Don’s work and dedication that has helped PNCA thrive. We wish Don all the success and a bright future as he starts this next chapter.”
Musch, who was formerly serving in the Board’s vice chair role and has a long-established professional business career, was appointed to the board chair position earlier this spring.
PNCA’s Board of Governors Executive Committee has launched the planning process to find an interim president to lead the school through this transition. The overall transition planning process for the new president will follow the school’s shared governance model to include input from students, staff and faculty, in addition to the Board of Governors.
“This is the nature of higher education,” says Musch. “We are not alone in experiencing a change in presidents. When I look around Oregon, I appreciate that we are in good company with Reed College, Lewis & Clark, Linfield, Concordia, PSU, and Oregon State University. They all have either recently or are in the midst of going through a similar process.”
During Tuski’s time at PNCA, his work with the Board of Governors under its shared governance model has been fruitful: enrollment has grown by nearly 100 students; faculty, staff and students collaborated to develop an ambitious strategic plan; the school welcomed the largest first-year class in its 110-year history last fall at nearly an 18 percent increase over two years; and recruitment efforts were expanded to reach 600 high schools, both in Oregon and nationally.
“While this news is hard, we understand this is what’s best for Don as he looks forward to the next chapter of his career,” said Kate Copeland, Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs. “Don’s impact is long-lasting with a positive growth trajectory and a deeply committed group of faculty and staff. While we will miss Don deeply, PNCA is poised for an exciting new chapter thanks to his leadership and legacy.”
PNCA continues its commitment to higher education in art and design in Portland, and under new board leadership has taken an active approach to ensuring the city’s higher education art and design community continues to thrive. The college recently welcomed the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program from Marylhurst, developed a teach-out program for former students of the Oregon College of Art and Craft, and has added new programs emphasizing design and technology. Tuski, along with his PNCA Management Team, also made operational improvements to achieve significant cost savings.
Tuski will succeed Richard L. Rogers, who is retiring from CCS after 25 years. Tuski’s appointment at CCS becomes effective on July 1, 2019.