In Marie’s three plus decades here at MSU she has served under four presidents, two provosts and two deans!
Marie’s third decade at MSU brought many new challenges and achievements. As she continued to grow in her role as Director of Administration for the College of the Arts, she also continued her love for higher education by pursuing graduate courses and completing the Management Development Program of the Graduate School of Education at the Harvard Institutes of Higher Education, in 2009.
Marie remained involved with the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, presenting at conferences throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. Her interest in aligning the arts with health and wellness manifested into a 10-year relationship with The Autism Center at UMDNJ and Atlantic Health Systems, developing and offering arts and health programming serving health professionals, students, and NJ communities. These relationships also resulted in the formation of the Alliance for Arts and Health NJ and the creation of graduate degree courses in Arts & Health at MSU.
In the coming years, many changes would happen for the College of the Arts. We welcomed a new Dean, Daniel Gurskis, and also moved from Life Hall to a newly renovated Morehead Hall Dean’s Suite. Dean Gurskis came with new initiatives, and true to Marie's passion for community engagement she worked closely with Dean Gurskis to launch the MSU Film Institute that included a summer filmmaking residential exchange with the prestigious Shanghai Theatre Academy that would run each summer from 2014 – 2019. Another alliance that occurred involved a residency and relationship with the Ghetto Film School, bringing high school students from New York City, and Los Angeles to experience college life on our campus, while honing their filmmaking skills.
In 2014, the College of the Arts assumed leadership of the ReelAbilities New Jersey Film Festival, made possible by a generous grant from the Kessler Foundation. Marie was instrumental in expanding the festival beyond MSU to include arts partners and programming from across the State. The film festival has continued each year, and is currently in its 6th year (and virtual during the pandemic). Highlights include a NJ Audience Award from the Montclair Film Festival for a touching film covering the story of a family struck by the opioid epidemic, as told by a 7 year-old family member.
In 2018, Marie took on another project near and dear to her heart – the struggles of Puerto Rico after the ravage of Hurricane Maria. Thanks to her organization and funding, the Office of Education and Community Outreach was able to send a group of students, faculty and staff to the island to report on the recovery initiatives. The culminating video project gained praise, including a College TV Emmy Award, as well as the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award, among other notable prizes.
Marie continued to direct, oversee, and/or participate in many initiatives of the Office of Education and Outreach during her last decade with MSU, including programs in health humanities, disabilities and the arts, human trafficking, and equity and diversity.
All the while Marie also continued to provide administrative, managerial, strategic and most of all mentorship to many, in her role at the Dean’s Office.
Stay tuned for a personal message from Marie, and the announcement of the inaugural recipient of the Marie Sparks College of the Arts Scholarship!