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September 28th, 2011 - Rich Taylor

Day in the Life


Rich Taylor
Dean, Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts
Executive Producer, University Theatre, University of Oklahoma

Aug. 24, 2011

5:45 a.m.: I’m awake. Haven’t set an alarm since I left Disney four and a half years ago.

5:46 a.m.: Enter the kitchen to greet the newest member of our family, Rowdy, a 10-week-old fluffy golden retriever. Going outside for our first “business” meeting.

5:50 a.m.: “Business” complete, and conference area clean. Get The Wall Street Journal from the driveway, turn on TV for local and national news and weather, and crack open my MacBook Pro to speed-read other papers and email.

6:15 a.m.: Rowdy and I bound out of the house for a brisk walk, try to eat mulch and fetch the neighbor’s Norman Transcript (him, not me).

6:45 a.m.: Back home, we greet my beautiful wife and best friend, Andy (not a morning person). Check my calendar for the day, pick out what costume I need to wear, grab a banana, head to toothbrush and shower.

8 a.m.: Recheck to-do list and place a couple of calls to faculty who have left messages. Make a salad to take to work for lunch (yes, I eat at my desk).

8:15 a.m.: Out the door, into my ’06 red Corvette and off to OU. I love being back at OU. I can’t believe I am dean of my alma mater — a dream job working with talented students and world-class faculty and staff.

8:25 a.m.: Greet the office team and have a 10-minute homeroom meeting with assistants to talk about the work for the day, as I am constantly re-prioritizing throughout the day.

8:45 a.m.: Go through inbox, review and sign paperwork, check voicemail, return calls, put out a “fire” or two.

9 a.m.: Head to Evans Hall for Dean’s Council meeting. This is not a Hogwarts Council. We are friends and colleagues trying to make things better here each and every day.

10:15 a.m.: Meet with Tom Orr, director of School of Drama, discussing audition week.

10:50 a.m.: Checking iPhone between each meeting, trying to stay ahead of the hundreds of daily emails.

11:00 a.m.: Chairing the weekly University Theatre budget meeting with production team, and all is looking good.

11:30 a.m.: Return to office, get salad, and check for weather, the market, ABC News, then return any student questions on email or Facebook. While eating, I type some email communications and write several congratulations or thank-you notes.

12:30 p.m.: Touch base with my wife on phone, send texts of encouragement to both my sons, and take a call from Susan McCalmont of Creative Oklahoma. She asks me to chair this year’s Oklahoma Creativity Forum in Norman, and to serve on the Creative Oklahoma Board. I’m honored, and I accept.

1 p.m.: Walk the Arts District, stopping at scene shop and costume shop. Drop in to classrooms and rehearsal halls and studio lessons, then head to dance studios to see classes,

greeting students on the way. We have 1,100 students majoring in the fine arts at OU, and I want to know as many as possible.

2 p.m.: Dash home to check on Rowdy and play time.

3 p.m.: Meet with marketing team to approve poster designs, press releases and ads for University Theatre and upcoming School of Music concerts. Our publicist has come up with a fantastic service idea: a student/ faculty blood drive to promote and dovetail with our University Theatre play, “Dracula.”

3:30 p.m.: As executive producer of OU University Theatre, I attend three design/ production meetings with student designers and faculty advisers for projects in work: “Dracula,” “Coronation of Poppea” and “Sunday in the Park with George.”

6 p.m.: Give leadership talk at the new OU Presidents Leadership Class. I tell them, “Leaders seek the truth. They listen, learn and then try to do the right thing.”

7 p.m.: Eat healthy dinner. I have lost 20 pounds in the last eight weeks; I want to see my grandkids some day.

8:15 p.m.: Drive back to campus to catch events and rehearsals in several of our nine performance halls and dozen rehearsal halls. Exhilarating!

9:45 p.m.: Drive home and get out of my dean’s costume. My wife and I relax with an adult beverage. We celebrated 31 years of marriage this week.

10:30 p.m.: Read a chapter in “Golden Retrievers for Dummies,” getting sleepy. “Nightline” is on .I’m a news junkie … always wanted to try to be a TV anchor. Maybe in the next chapter of my life.

10:45 p.m.: Reflect on today: Did we move the ball forward? Did we get better? Did we put the students first? Each day is full and totally different.

10:50 p.m.: Rowdy’s whining. One more meeting with him.

11 p.m.: Lights out for all.

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