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Caisley Named Chair of Department of Theatre Arts

July 26, 2019

Robert Caisley will serve as chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, effective Monday, Aug. 19. Caisley came to U of I in August 2001. He was promoted to associate professor and head of the Dramatic Writing Program in 2006 and then to professor of theatre in 2013.

Caisley taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, dramatic literature, new play development and various special topics in modern drama. Since 2009, Caisley has worked to create course content that can be delivered in a variety of modalities — peer-to-peer learning, video-conferencing, blended classrooms, student-driven learning, etc.

Caisley is a renowned artist, director and playwright in his own right. He has written 21 original plays, which have been performed across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and translated into Italian, French, Estonian, Spanish and Czech.

His plays, "Lucky Me" and "Happy,” were selected for National New Play Network Rolling World Premieres in 2014-15 and 2012-13, respectively. He received a fellowship in the Performing Arts from the Idaho Commission on the Arts in 2015 and was a visiting playwright or guest artist at conferences, universities and theatrical companies repeatedly since 1992.

"After almost 18 years at this institution, I am honored to be considered for this important leadership role," Caisley said. "I look forward to tackling new challenges, engaging with colleagues and students at home and in other academic disciplines. I hope to inspire a fresh and lively dialogue across campus and the greater community about ways to advance the mission of the performing arts."

Caisley is currently under commission from San Antonio Playhouse where his new play will premiere in June 2020.

"Robert Caisley is an amazingly accomplished playwright and director," said Sean Quinlan, dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. "He is a major creative force in the theatrical and our local communities. It's wonderful that he's stepping into the chair position. The college looks forward to working with him as we move forward together."

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at