By Lisa Donchak

Within the Arts Division, composers write music, painters mix watercolors, photographers develop film, and the dean organizes the budget.

Edward Houghton, the current dean of the UC Santa Cruz Arts Division, will be walking away from the paperwork next year, as he is stepping down from the dean’s position after 15 years and returning to teaching.

The search for a new dean has already begun. Margaret Morse, a member of the Dean of the Arts Search Committee, said the committee is “soliciting and contacting as many people as possible.

“We want someone who will help us become more excellent,” Morse said. The committee is mainly looking outside of the school for applicants, Morse said.

According to the application notice, the committee is looking for someone who “will further develop existing graduate programs in the arts and bring new graduate proposals to fruition.”

Kristal Passy, a fourth-year art and cultural anthropology major, said that she would like to see more facilities on campus.

“I hope [the new dean] realizes how important arts are at this school,” Passy said.

During his time as dean, Houghton has overseen a plan to expand and build facilities for the arts. The plan, labelled the “Master Plan for the Arts Area,” was drafted in 2003 and calls for the addition of a digital arts center, a campus auditorium, and an on-campus art museum. Houghton wants UCSC’s arts department to be a “nationally visible center for the arts.”

When asked about the change, Houghton simply said, “It’s time. Fifteen years is a long time to serve as dean. I think it must be a record.”

Houghton will go on a year-long sabbatical beginning in July to finish a number of projects, including a 1,500-page 15th century musical manuscript called “A Critical Edition of the Chigi Codex.” Houghton will return from his sabbatical for the 2008-2009 academic year to teach on campus again.

Houghton graduated from Rutgers University in 1962 and received his Ph.D in music at UC Berkeley in 1971. He’s been at UCSC since 1970, serving as dean since 1993.

According to Houghton, “The hardest part is stepping down and leaving things undone.”