Mr. Dan Cavanagh

Interim Dean

CoLA - Mr. Dan Cavanagh

Bio: Dan Cavanagh is Professor of Music and Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Arlington. A composer and pianist who has garnered numerous awards in both areas, he received a 2009 gold medal prize from the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition. In 2017 he was awarded a Special Judges’ Citation in the American Prize for Chamber Music Composition for his work for trumpet ensemble and drum set, Waves. As a composer Cavanagh has written or arranged for Latin Grammy-winning AfroBop Alliance, the legendary Patti LaBelle, and a wide range of classical and jazz performers across North America and Europe. He has released four critically acclaimed jazz CDs as a leader. His new recording with James Miley featuring John Hollenbeck will be released in 2022. His music can be heard on many other recordings both classical and jazz and continues to be commissioned and programmed around the world. Cavanagh has also performed extensively in North America and internationally. He has been a finalist in the EuropaFest Jazz Contest in Bucharest, and in the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Piano Competition. Prior to serving as interim dean, Cavanagh held various academic leadership roles, including program director, music department chair, and associate dean. From 2015-2020, he served as the Co-Chair of Region VI for the Society of Composers. Cavanagh chairs Downtown Arlington’s Cultural Arts District Partners group and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Dallas Wind Symphony.

Dr. Rebecca Deen

Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts

Associate Professor (Ph.D., The Ohio State University)

Picture of Dr. Rebecca Deen

Bio: Dr. Rebecca Deen is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Arlington. An expert in women in politics and civic engagement, the US presidency, and effective pedagogy, her current research investigates the relationship among civic engagement, political recruitment and volunteerism. She had held leadership positions with the American Political Science Association, chairing the Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, the Committee on the Status of Asian American/Pacific Islanders in the Profession, and the Search Committee for the editors of PS, one of the Associations lead journals. Raised in southern Ohio, she is a graduate of Denison University (BA Political Science, minor in French) and The Ohio State University (MA, PhD). An active volunteer, she has served on the executive board of the PTA of each of her son’s schools and the Lamar Band Booster Club, and on the AISD’s Citizens Bond Oversight Committee. She is also on the Arlington Junior League’s Community Advisory Board. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, her cats, and her knitting – usually all at once.

Dr. Eric Bolsterli

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs

CoLA - Dr. Eric Bolsterli

Bio: Dr. Bolsterli joined the History department as an adjunct in 1994, and became the History advisor in 1998, before moving to the Dean's Office in 2005. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1982 with a double major in History and Anthropology. After a short stint outside academia he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas, finishing in 1998. His focus was on Modern U.S. diplomatic History, but he has since branched out to include Economic History as well. He has had a strong interest in student success, both in the classroom and in the University environment, evidenced by the Outstanding Adjunct Instructor Award, the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Academic Advisor Award.

Dr. Les Riding-In

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs

CoLA - Dr. Les Riding-In

Bio: Dr. Les Riding-In was appointed Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Studies on August 1, 2012. He has been a member of the UT-Arlington community since 2005, holding professional academic advising and recruitment positions with the college of Business and, most recently, the Honors College. Dr. Riding-In began his higher education career in Residential Life as a Center Coordinator at the University of Oklahoma. He presently serves as the primary advisor for the Native American Student Association (NASA), which sponsors DFW’s 3rd largest powwow. In 2012, NASA was honored to win the Outstanding Contribution to the Greater Community Award. Additionally, Dr. Riding-In is the chair for the Native American and Tribal Colleges Interest Group for the National Association of Academic Advisors (NACADA. He also serves on the executive board for the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program. Dr. Riding-In is a member of the Pawnee and Osage tribe and a native Oklahoman.


Lee Banda


Academic Resource Planning

CoLA - Lee Banda

Bio: Lee comes to UT Arlington from the University of California, Riverside in Southern California. He is originally from San Antonio and is a military veteran. Lee served in the US Navy from 1985-1993. He has Bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and in Business Management. He also has a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. Lee has been in higher education for over 23 years. He began his higher education career with the San Diego Community College District in early 1995. He was in accounting and finance for 10 years while at the SDCCD before moving onto the University of California, San Diego in 2005. He spent the first 5 years at UCSD in budget and finance for the School of Medicine and then moved onto the Department of Physics as the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Chief Operating Officer for the next 5 ½ years until late 2015. He has been at the University of California, Riverside for the past 2 ½ years as the Director of Planning and Budget for the University Library. Lee enjoys playing baseball and softball, golfing with his wife as much as time and the weather will allow, and reading.

Ami Keller Garnett

Executive Assistant to the Dean

CoLA - Ami Keller Garnett

Bio: Ami Keller Garnett graduated with honors with bachelor degrees in History and International Studies from Stephen F. Austin State University. She received her Master's Degree in Public History from UTA. Besides Public History, her areas of interest are Diplomatic History, English History and Irish History. In addition to her scholarly interests, she enjoys photography, reading, traveling, playing with her dogs and spending time with family and friends. She joined the Dean’s Office staff in August 2012, after working in the UTA History Department for three years. Ami supports Dean Cavanagh, Associate Dean Rebecca Deen, Assistant Dean Riding-In and the CoLA Academic Recruiter. Additionally, she teaches online history courses at UTA.

Paula McCord

Assistant to the Dean

Paula McCord dressed in a blazer with a patterned shirt, smiling

Bio: Paula McCord began serving the UTA community as a Database Coordinator for the School of Social Work in 2005, where she managed the field placement database for undergraduate and graduate programs. In 2006, she began work with the Department of Communication, serving as the Assistant to the Graduate Advisor. Over the next 15 years, she served in progressively increasing levels of responsibility managing department operations, finances, purchasing, and other vital administrative functions. In 2013, she received a Governor’s Commendation for her work on the Barbara Jordan Media Awards. She joined the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Office in September 2021 as the Finance Assistant to the Dean. Paula obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Abilene Christian University in 2005 and her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Dallas Baptist University in 2009. In her time away from UTA, she enjoys spending time with family, gardening, and running a homecoming mum business.

Phebe Erwin

Administrative Assistant I

CoLA - Phebe Erwin

Bio: Phebe received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas Woman’s University in 1994. She received her Master of Arts degree from Dallas Baptist University in 2001. She has served in higher education administration for more than 30 years as an instructor, proctor, registrar and administrative assistant. Currently Phebe serves as Administrative Assistant to the College of Liberal Arts’ Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family. She is a soccer mom and proud “Memaw” to her four grandchildren. Phebe, along with her wonderful husband of more than 30 years, have partnered in raising three beautiful children.

Christine Brady

Assistant Director of Marketing & Comm​unication

Christy Brady smiling, wearing a long sleeve button up

Bio: Christy Brady is happy to be back at UTA - she graduated with a BA degree in English from UTA. She went on to spend many years in marketing roles for local realtors, Chick-fil-A and most recently, a leadership role at an advertising agency. She has spearheaded entire company re-brands and managed several high performing marketing & advertising campaigns. In her spare time, she does freelance writing, volunteers and teaches baking classes online. Christy and her husband have two amazing kids and three hilarious pets.

Deidre Cleveland

Administrative Services Officer I

Deidre Cleveland smiling at the camera with a patterned blouse

Bio: Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Deidre has over 15 years experience working in municipal government with 12 years working for the City of Chicago Department of Finance as an Administrative Assistant to the Managing Deputy Comptroller. While working for the City of Chicago, Deidre handled various duties including budgets in excess of $5 million for the elected Aldermanic Officials as well as several Committee offices. She attended Northwestern Business College where she received an AAS in Accounting and then enrolled at Loyola University to study Business Management. In her spare time, she enjoys spending quality time with her two daughters, reading and traveling.

Lily Tanner

Graphic Designer I

Lily Tanner smiling at the camera with glasses and a patterned blouse

Bio: While Lily is a designer, she is also a cat enthusiast, crafter, pasta lover, and "dance-like-no-one-is-watching" type of person. She has earned both her Master of Arts in Communication and Bachelor of Arts in Communication Technology from the University of Texas at Arlington. During her time at UTA, she was the Chair of the MAFE Student Ambassadors and a member of the Communication Ambassador program. She is delighted to return back to UTA.

Jessica Hartsfield

Administrative Assistant II

Jessica Hartsfield smiling at the camera wearing a blazer, a blouse, and a long necklace

Bio: Born and raised in Arlington, Jessica is a UT Arlington Alumni who received her Bachelors in Criminal Justice. Jessica has over 15 years of administrative experience in the nonprofit, small business and municipal sectors. She has recently joined the College of Liberal Arts, serving as an Administrative Assistant II on the Shared Services Team. In her spare time she likes to watch scary movies with her kids, complete Sudoku puzzles and traveling whether it’s on a cruise or going to Disney World. She also enjoys anytime she can get with her husband with whom she first met in junior high school.

Sandy Storm

Administrative Assistant II

headashot of Sandy Storm, dressed in a blouse and cardigan, with a long necklace as she smiles at the camera

Bio: Sandy has been with the University of Texas since 2018 and joined the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Office in November 2022. Sandy’s life revolves around her pets and her daughter, Natalie. She is a musician, artist, and a writer. She is a classical pianist who taught piano for 30 years, sells paintings, and hopes to one day have a novel published. Sandy is a dreamer who sees the world in bright colors, filled with otters, giraffes, hippos, hamsters, and elephants. She is a vegetarian and animal rights supporter who rescues dogs and feral cats. She studies history and math for fun and reads mostly biographies. Her hero is Michael J. Fox.


Dr. Joshua Knight

Academic Recruiter

joshua knight dressed in a suit in front of a neutral background

Bio: Josh Knight is the Academic Recruiter for the College of Liberal Arts. He most recently served as Director of Percussion & Athletic Bands at Missouri Western State University, and has over 10 years of experience in Higher Education as an instructor and recruiter. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma, and earned his Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees from the University of Central Arkansas. Knight has presented and performed at regional and international events such as the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, Texas Music Educators Association conference, College Music Society regional conference, and numerous state percussion festivals including the Arkansas Day of Percussion, Oklahoma Day of Percussion, and University of Central Arkansas Percussion Festival. As an active performer and clinician Knight has appeared at numerous high schools and universities throughout the United Sates, and has performed with the Abilene Philharmonic, Fort Smith Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Lawton Philharmonic, Pine Bluff Symphony, and Conway Symphony orchestras. Knight is also active in commissioning new works for percussion that include Inside The Shining Stone by Blake Tyson, published by blaketysonmusic : Shattered by Cody Criswell, published by C-Alan Publications, Halcyon Days by Nathan Daughtrey, published by C- Alan Publications and most recently, The Wind That Turns The World by Blake Tyson, published by blaketysonmusic. Knight’s article, Trends and Developments Through Thirty Prominent Snare Drum Method Books is a featured cover story in Percussive Notes, the official research journal of the Percussive Arts Society. Additionally, he serves on the Education Committee and Ed Companion SubCommittee for PAS. Among the numerous awards and honors received throughout his career, the most current include the Ronald Dyer award for excellence in the area of percussion awarded by the University of Oklahoma in 2008 and participation in the semi-final round of the Southern California International Marimba Competition in 2009. Knight is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, College Music Society, TMEA, MMEA, and is an artist endorser for Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Yamaha percussion instruments, and Grover Pro percussion instruments.


Jacob Singletary

Director of Development

CoLA - Jacob Singletary

Bio: Jacob and his wife, Shanna, have 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl). He enjoys being outdoors as much as possible, particularly doing activities that center around bodies of water. Jacob is an avid sports fan; and while he enjoys all sports, he is most fond of hockey, basketball, football, baseball, and soccer. Jacob and his family regularly volunteer to support the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the March of Dimes, MDA, the American Heart Association, and the Heart of Texas Autism Network. Jacob relishes discussions of history, politics, and physics. As a former foster child who aged out of the system, Jacob has a deep personal interest in issues surrounding at risk youth and foster children.

Kirstin Bradfield

Development Coordinator

CoLA - Kirstin Bradfield

Bio: Kirstin grew up in the Arlington-Mansfield area and now lives in the heart of Arlington. She received her Bachelor’s in Communication from UT Arlington’s College of Liberal Arts. After graduation, Kirstin worked in the UTA School of Social Work for five years before joining the College of Liberal Arts team in 2019 as the Development Coordinator. Her mother and sister also work for UTA. It is a family affair! Outside of the office, Kirstin’s passions include spending time with her dog, reading or watching anything in the horror genre, and weightlifting. She trains competitively and hopes to qualify for Nationals someday.