Lauren Onkey Named Inaugural Dean for Humanities at Tri-C
August 13, 2015
New position will lead the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center
Lauren Onkey has been named the inaugural Dean for Humanities at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®).
Onkey will provide the leadership and guidance to shape the center into a national model for engagement in the humanities. She currently serves as vice president of education and public programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
She called her new position an extraordinary opportunity to create a powerful learning environment capable of transforming the community. She’ll join Tri-C on Sept. 28.
“The best humanities education must inspire students to work across disciplines to explore the key challenges of our time,” Onkey said. “I see Tri-C’s commitment to the humanities and public service as a way to truly effect change. I’m very excited to be afforded this opportunity.”
The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center was created to offer a unique liberal arts learning environment to cultivate civically responsible citizens who will lead Northeast Ohio toward a stronger future.
The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation and the Mandel Supporting Foundations awarded $10 million to the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation earlier this year to establish the center and endow the Chair for Humanities/Dean position.
Onkey spent the past seven years developing and managing the Rock Hall’s award-winning educational programs that highlight the cultural significance of the music. The programs reach more than 50,000 people annually.
In addition, she served as executive producer of the museum’s Annual Music Masters series. She also oversaw the museum’s Library and Archives in the Gill and Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts at Tri-C’s Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland, as well as community outreach programs.
The opportunity at Tri-C represents a return to academia for Onkey. Prior to joining the Rock Hall in 2008, she spent 14 years as an English professor at Ball State University in Indiana. Her research and teaching explored the intersection of popular music with culture, literature and women’s studies.
She authored Blackness and Transatlantic Identity: Celtic Soul Brothers, which was published by Routledge Press in 2009, as well as articles and essays for numerous publications. Onkey also has presented papers at national and international conferences on literature, cultural studies and teaching.
Onkey holds doctoral and master’s degrees in English from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in English and government from the College of William & Mary.
“Dr. Onkey has a unique background that combines strong experience as a humanities faculty member with the practical application of a humanities education,” said Alex Johnson, president of Tri-C. “We are very excited to welcome her to Tri-C to lead the crucial work of the Jack Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center in developing the next generation of leaders for our communities.”
The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center will be located on Tri-C’s Eastern Campus in Highland Hills in the former Liberal Arts and Performing Arts building.
A dedication of the center, which is currently undergoing renovations, is scheduled for Sept. 29.