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  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring John Houck, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Jesse Benson (b. 1978) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Benson's complex practice is driven by the perversion of roles and representation that characterize his generational moment. In obsessively "skillful" objects like the Bureau Paintings, Catalog Page Paintings, Future Sculptures, and Repaintings, Benson constantly questions the authenticity of the document, the function of style, and the value of both art and artist. Benson is equally committed to a curatorial/organizational practice that openly overlaps and inspires his object production.

  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at OTIS College of Art and Design is pleased to announce a lecture by Nick SeierupPrincipal | Design Director of Perkins+Will, Los Angeles, on Thursday, December 3, 2015.


  • Marisa Silver is the author most recently of the New York Times bestselling novel Mary Coin. Her other books include the novels No Direction Home and The God of War (a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize), as well as two story collections, Babe in Paradise and Alone with You. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and been included in many anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Silver lives in Los Angeles.

  • Jesse Lerner is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles.  His short films Natives (1991, with Scott Sterling), T.S.H. (2004) and Magnavoz (2006) and the feature-length experimental documentaries Frontierland/Fronterilandia (1995, with Rubén Ortiz-Torres), Ruins (1999) The American Egypt (2001), Atomic Sublime (2010) and The Absent Stone (2013, with Sandra Rozental) have won numerous prizes at film festivals in the United States, Latin America and Japan.

  • Otis faculty member Dana Berman Duff will present a program of short 16mm and digital films in her "Catalogue" series.

  • Performing the Grid is an exhibition that brings together an intergenerational group of artists and cultural producers that utilize the grid as a performative strategy to examine, challenge and position philosophical, political, social, domestic, corporeal, and mythical perspectives. Rosalind Kraus famously wrote that the grid “functions to declare the modernity of modern art” in her 1979 essay, Grids.




Provost Randall Lavender

The Provost is the Chief Academic Officer of the College and is responsible for the Division of Student Learning and Success, which encompasses all aspects of academic and student life at Otis. The mission of the division is to promote student learning and success through exceptional educational programs, opportunities, and support.

Specific Roles and Responsibilities are distributed among various leaders, including the Vice President for Student Success/Dean of Student Affairs, the Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation, the Associate Provost for Academic Administration, and the Academic Projects Manager. 

Areas of education delivery and student support include:

The Provost also serves as the academic liaison to the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, and chief administrative liaison to the Academic Assembly and Faculty Senate, the College’s faculty governance bodies.

The Provost’s Office facilitates academic administration at the College, coordinates the Academic Meeting Schedule, organizes the Annual Faculty Convocation, conducts the annual Teaching Excellence Awards process, and, in collaboration with Human Resources & Development, leads the New Faculty Orientation. See also: Faculty Events and Activities



Randall Lavender

Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6988


Primary Responsibilities

  • Chief Academic Officer
  • Strategic Planning
  • Academic Planning
  • Continuing Eduction and Pre-College Programs
  • Divisional Budgets and Space
  • Academic Advising and Mentoring
  • Operations and Services

Randall Lavender earned his M.F.A. in Sculpture at Claremont Graduate University and a B.A. in Ceramics at California State University, Fullerton. He joined the Otis faculty in 1983 following faculty appointments at Vanderbilt University, Claremont Graduate University, and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. A nationally and internationally exhibited artist, his paintings in oil on panel and sculptural tableaux are included in dozens of public and private collections and have been featured or reviewed in numerous books, catalogues, and articles. He served as Associate Chair and Professor in Otis’ Foundation (first-year) program for more than a decade before joining the College's Senior Team and serving as Interim co-Provost, Vice Provost, and in his current position. He has published original research, essays, and articles on art in higher education, educational psychology, contemporary culture, and best college art/design teaching practices in leading art education journals, including Studies in Art Education, Journal of Aesthetic Education, and Foundations in Art Theory (F.A.T.E.) in Review.

Learn more about Provost Lavender at: http://ospace.otis.edu/randalllavender



Debra Ballard

Debra Ballard

Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6988


Primary Responsibilities

  • Accreditation Liaison Officer
  • Leadership in WASC and NASAD accreditation processes, reporting, and site visits
  • External Program Reviews
  • Assessment of Educational Effectiveness
  • Institutional, Program, & Course Learning Outcomes

Debra Ballard is an educator with extensive curriculum design and leadership experience, published articles, and a record of consultation on education, portfolio use, and assessment in addition to numerous conference presentations at the Western Association of Senior Colleges and Universities, the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, the Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning, Art Libraries Society of North America, and Educause. She is the author of “Assessment on Their Own Terms” and a graduate of the WASC Assessment Leadership Academy. After teaching for several institutions of higher learning, Ballard joined the Otis faculty in 1993 and became the Chair of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1996; she also served as Interim Co-Provost in 2010-11. Ballard earned her M.A. with distinction in English from California State University, Northridge and a B.A. summa cum laude in English from the University of Maryland.





Associate Provost for Academic Administration
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-****


Primary Responsibilities

  • Oversight of Administrative Systems 
  • Human Resources Liaison and Point Person for Faculty Affairs:
      Convocation Planning
      Contracts / Collective Bargaining
      Contact Hour Loads
      Faculty Development
      Sabbatical Planning
      Faculty & Staff Searches
  • Academic Research
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Student Appeals Support
  • Operations and Business Office Liaison





matthew penkala

Matthew Penkala

Academic Projects Manager
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6815


Primary Responsibilities

  • Academic Project Management
  • Academic Research Support
  • Divisional Calendar
  • Assessment, Budgets, & Administrative Systems Support
  • Web and Publications
  • HEOA Compliance

Matthew Penkala is a nationally exhibited artist whose paintings are included in numerous public and private collections, and have been reviewed or featured in various articles, publications, and catalogues. Penkala joined the Otis staff in 2012, following an interim faculty position within the Painting Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Detroit, Michigan. He served as Academic Coordinator in Otis’ Foundation Program for two years before joining the Provost’s Office. He has also been the Faculty Leader for the Foundation Program’s Paris Travel Elective since 2013. Penkala earned his M.F.A. in Painting at Cranbrook Academy of Art and a B.F.A. in Photography from Arizona State University. He has worked for various Los Angeles-based design firms providing Art Direction and production for web and print based projects.




April Kullis

Executive Assistant to the Provost
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6988


Primary Responsibilities

  • Provost Scheduling
  • Academic Meeting Schedule
  • Faculty Contracts
  • Administrative Routing
  • Budget Planning Support

April Kullis joined Otis in 2002, working in both the Foundation and Liberal Arts and Sciences Program offices. She moved to the Provost’s Office as Executive Assistant in its founding year and has supported the Provost since that time. Prior to her employment at Otis she served for 15 years as clerical support at the Sheriff’s Department in Oakland County, Michigan. She recently completed a Certificate in Graphic Design at Otis College of Art and Design (2012) and is a promising Graphic Designer.