Scott Beal

We are pleased that our Sweetland colleague Scott Beal has taken on the role of Director of the Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts (LSWA). Having first been appointed Interim Director of LSWA in July 2022 upon the departure of former Director Dr. Carol Tell, Beal was hired as the regular full-time Director effective May 2023. Dr. Tell had served as Director of LSWA for 18 years, taking over a struggling program and building it into a thriving learning community that encourages students from all fields to “Be creative, whatever your major.” As LSWA’s new Director, Beal is working to maintain Dr. Tell’s legacy of strong student engagement in writing and the arts while expanding LSWA’s programming to create new opportunities for students to experience the power of creative expression as part of their academic journey at U-M. 

One of the more ambitious undertakings of Beal’s tenure as Director has been to bring the Dark Noise Collective – a group of six dynamic poets-of-color nationally recognized as some of the most important younger poets writing today – to campus for a series of engagements as part of LSA’s “Arts & Resistance” theme semester. The group performed to a packed house at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater on September 16 following a series of readings, talks, and workshops on campus. In addition, Beal has overseen an expansion of LSWA’s artist-in-residence program, bringing a diverse group of artists to campus to work for one- to two-week engagements with LSWA’s students, visiting classes and clubs and presenting their work in public exhibitions and performances. LSWA has also begun working this year with Dzanc Books and Ann Arbor Open School to provide poetry workshops for 5th and 6th graders led by LSWA students. In 2024, LSWA plans to expand its annual Caldwell Awards to award oral presentations not only of poetry but also of theatrical monologues and artist talks, in order to create opportunities for writers and artists in multiple genres to be celebrated for their creative accomplishments. 2024 will also see the return after a few dormant years of Festifools, a beloved Ann Arbor community event that was founded by LSWA Art Director Mark Tucker as part of his annual “Art in Public Spaces” course. Increased community engagement is at the heart of several of these new and revived LSWA initiatives, and Beal continues to work on expanding community engagement as a core part of LSWA’s mission. 

Before stepping in as Director, Beal had been teaching as a Sweetland Lecturer in LSWA since 2014, and he has continued to teach a variety of courses alongside his Director duties, including Writing About Arts and Resistance; Fantasy Worldbuilding; Creative Communities; and Poetry, Magic, and Science. He is excited to continue working with Sweetland colleagues to offer an ever-evolving LSWA curriculum featuring some of the most innovative and stimulating writing- and arts-based courses that the university has to offer.