KU School of Music announces Paul Popiel as interim dean

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The University of Kansas School of Music announced Paul Popiel as its interim dean Wednesday.

“Popiel brings a wealth of experience to this role, having joined the university in 2010 and serving as tenured full-professor and Director of Bands,” according to the announcement. “His scholarly and creative background make him a valuable asset to our community.”


In addition to his work at KU, Popiel conducts the Lawrence City Band.

“During my 13 years here, I have experienced firsthand the excellence and passion of our music community, and I’m excited to step into a new role to continue the development of the KU School of Music,” Popiel said in the announcement. “I look forward to working with our administration, faculty, staff, and students to elevate our programs and share our talents to improve the quality of life of those on campus, within our state, and around the world.”

Before he came to KU, Popiel held appointments at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and at Oklahoma State University, as well as at public schools in Texas and Michigan, according to the announcement. He earned a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of music from Truman State University, a master of music from University of Notre Dame and a doctor of musical arts from Michigan State University.

Former dean Robert Walzel announced in September plans to step away from his leadership position at the end of the fall 2022 semester. “This change will allow him to focus on family matters that have become a priority,” according to a KU news release at the time.

“We’d also like to thank Robert Walzel for his years of service to the students, staff, and faculty of the School of Music as well as to the University, the region and the state,” Wednesday’s announcement stated. “His contributions have been many and provide a legacy of success for which Bob and all Jayhawks can be proud.”

Fally Afani, a spokesperson for the School of Music, said she does not yet have information about how or when the permanent dean will be selected.

Note: This post and headline were updated for clarity. The provost selected the interim dean.

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