Michael S. Tick

Department of Drama

Professor, Drama

Michael Tick portrait.

200 Crouse College
Syracuse, NY 13244-1010

Michael S. Tick joined Syracuse University in June 2016 after serving six years as dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Kentucky (UK). He was chair of the Department of Theatre at Louisiana State University (LSU) from 1999-2010, where he also served as artistic director of Swine Palace, Louisiana’s premiere professional theater company.

As dean of VPA, Tick has brought the college a balanced budget for seven consecutive years and eliminated its accumulated deficit. Under his leadership, the college established its Office of Academic and Career Advising to support expanded services for students, including additional professional academic advisors and career coaches, and he assisted in developing the Department of Creative Arts Therapy, which offers a master of science degree in art therapy. In 2021, he expanded VPA’s footprint in Los Angeles by hiring the college's founding visual and performing arts program director. He also oversaw the creation of VPA’s first facilities master plan and worked with the Office of Advancement and External Affairs to close one of the largest gifts in the University’s history.

At UK, Tick oversaw the Departments of Arts Administration and Theatre and Dance, the Schools of Art and Visual Studies and Music, the Singletary Center for the Arts, and the UK Art Museum. During his tenure more than $30 million in capital projects were realized, including a new home for the School of Art and Visual Studies and a Creative Arts Living Learning Community, the centerpiece of a 900-bed residential hall that opened in 2016.

During Tick’s tenure at Swine Palace, the company produced several regional and American premieres, including the world premiere of Cocktail by Ping Chong. Tick’s production of Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles, the first professional production of a Wasserstein play in Asia, was staged in Shanghai and Beijing. His production of Antigone was staged at the Young Theatre Festival 젊은연극제, Seoul, Korea.

Before joining LSU in 1999, Tick served on the planning committee that established the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) in 1985, a regional secondary arts school sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education and affiliated with the Virginia Stage Company, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and the Virginia Ballet Theatre. As founding chair of the GSA Department of Theatre, Tick also served on the faculty of Old Dominion University. He has taught and directed at the University of Rhode Island, Northwestern University, Harvard University Extension School, Rend Lake College (Illinois), the University of the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas), and Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds (England).

Tick received the M.A. in performance studies from Northwestern University and the Ph.D. in theatre education from New York University (NYU). He began his professional career working as an actor on the long-running sitcom M*A*S*H.

Raised in Newport, Rhode Island, Tick spent many years associated with Providence’s Trinity Repertory Company, the Newport Music Festival, and the Newport Jazz Festival. While an adjunct professor at NYU, Tick worked on Wall Street as a trading support specialist with Merrill Lynch’s High Yield Bond Group. He is a proud member of AEA (Actors’ Equity Association) and SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society). He is a member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans (ICFAD) and recently served two terms on the board of directors. He currently serves as a mentor for ICFAD's Leadership Development Team.


  • Ph.D., New York University
  • M.A., Northwestern University