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James E. Richards
James Richards serves as Interim Dean for UMSL Fine Arts and Communication. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Richards held the positions of Senior Associate Dean for Academics and Scholarship, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Chair of the Department of Music. He is a member of the 2005 class of the University of Missouri Leadership Development Program of the President's Academic Leadership Institute. Dr. Richards holds a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester and degrees in orchestral conducting and music theory, as well as a Performer's Certificate in Violin, from the University of Texas at Austin. He studied orchestral and opera conducting with Walter Ducloux, Paul Vermel, and Gustav Meier, and participated in the Conductor's Program of the Aspen Music Festival.
In addition to conducting the University Orchestra, Dr. Richards currently serves as conductor and music director of the Gateway Festival Orchestra of St. Louis. Prior to these appointments, he served as conductor and music director for the Saint Louis Chamber Orchestra, conductor of the Kirkwood Symphony Orchestra for nineteen seasons, and as associate conductor of the Kammergild Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared frequently as a guest conductor and clinician for band and orchestra festivals throughout the United States, including numerous guest appearances with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Discovery Series. In June, 2009, Dr. Richards conducted the New York premiere of the music theatre work, Booth!, by Harbach, Coker, and Yordy, at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
Previously, David worked as the Vice President of Workplace Giving at the United Way of Greater St. Louis, Inc. While there, David worked on 13 community campaigns, raising over $70 million annually
Associate Dean Beth Eckelkamp joined the administration of the College of Arts & Sciences and the UMSL Fine Arts and Communication in May of 2012. She served as the Director of Language Programs in the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Languages from August of 2009 through August of 2012. She continues to hold an appointment as Teaching Professor of Japanese and has been teaching Japanese at UMSL for nearly 20 years after earning an MA in East Asian Studies from Washington University in 1991.
Representing the Colleges in planning new student initiatives such as Orientation and the First Year Experience course is central to the Associate Dean of Students’ position and is a role that Beth is very passionate about. Working with advisors and students in the College Advising office is also very rewarding and Beth feels privileged to be part of a team that is dedicated to supporting students as they make academic progress toward graduation.
Deborah Baldini serves as the Associate Dean for the College of Arts & Sciences/School of Professional and Continuing Studies and the Associate Dean of the UMSL Fine Arts and Communication/School of Professional and Continuing Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is a Teaching Professor of Spanish in the Department of Anthropology Sociology and Languages.
Dr. Baldini provides leadership for the Advanced Credit Program, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Education, the SUCCEED Program, the Foreign Language Connection, and the Write Stuff Chancellor’s Certificate in Writing.
Alberta Breckinridge is the Manager of Business/Fiscal Operations Specialist for the UMSL Fine Arts & Communication. She received her MA in Accounting and Master of Business Administration from Fontbonne University and her Bachelor of Science, Business Administration from Southeast Missouri State University.
Sara Ross joined the College of Fine Arts and Communication dean’s office in July 2011. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UMSL and a Bachelor of Arts in Women's Studies from Mills College in Oakland, California.