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 following a six-year tenure as dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Kentucky (UK).

Previously, from 1999 to 2010, Tick served as the chair of the Department of Theatre at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he concurrently held the position of artistic director of Swine Palace, Louisiana’s premier professional theater company.

As the dean of VPA, Tick has achieved eight consecutive years of a balanced budget and successfully eliminated the college's accumulated deficit. Under his leadership, the college established the Office of Academic and Career Advising, providing enhanced services for students through additional professional academic advisors and career coaches. Tick played a crucial role in the development of the Department of Creative Arts Therapy, offering a master of science degree in art therapy.

In 2021, Tick expanded VPA’s presence in Los Angeles by hiring the founding program director and initiated the creation of the college's first facilities master plan. Collaborating with the Office of Advancement and External Affairs, he contributed to closing one of the University’s largest gifts in history. Notably, in 2023, a major capital renovation of the Nancy Cantor Warehouse, home of the School of Design, commenced. The year 2024 saw the establishment of a new art gallery to support the Schools of Art and Design, as well as the Department of Film and Media Arts.

During his tenure at UK, Tick oversaw various departments, including 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. His leadership resulted in realizing over $30 million in capital projects, 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 as artistic director of 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.

Prior to LSU, Tick played a pivotal role in establishing the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) in 1985, where he served as founding chair of the GSA Department of Theatre. He has taught and directed at Old Dominion University, 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 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. 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