Jacqueline Bixler, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Spanish at Virginia Tech, has been appointed director of the university’s School of Performing Arts.

Bixler, who served as chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures from 2012 to 2018, is an internationally recognized scholar of contemporary Latin American theatre, with a focus on Mexican performance art.

She has authored books and edited volumes on Mexican playwrights Emilio Carballido, Sabina Berman, and Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda, as well as Mexico’s women playwrights and performance. She has also published more than 60 articles on Mexican, Argentine, Peruvian, and Chilean theatre. She currently serves as editor of the Latin American Theatre Review, a journal devoted to the study and dissemination of Latin American and Latinx theatre.

Bixler holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Kansas. Since joining Virginia Tech in 1980, she has taught Spanish classes as well as courses on Latin American theatre, literature, and culture.

In 2003, Virginia Tech honored Bixler with an Alumni Distinguished Professorship. This preeminent appointment recognizes faculty members who demonstrate extraordinary accomplishments and academic citizenship through substantive contributions across all three of Virginia Tech’s core mission areas of teaching, scholarship, and engagement.

In 2016, Bixler was one of 13 faculty members statewide to receive the commonwealth’s highest honor for faculty in Virginia’s colleges and universities: the Outstanding Faculty Award of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. She is also an inductee in Virginia Tech’s Academy of Teaching Excellence and is a past winner of the Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award, the Diggs Teaching Scholar Award, and three Certificates of Teaching Excellence.

Reflecting on her decorated history as an educator, Bixler noted that teaching is not about awards, but about a lasting impact on students.

“The best reward of all,” she said, “has been the passion for Mexican culture and for teaching Spanish that I was able to instill in the many students who went with me to Mexico between 2002 and 2010.” In her new role as director of the School of Performing Arts, she added, “I can think of few disciplines in which this kind of direct, personal impact on students is stronger than the performing arts.”

Her appointment follows the one-year appointment of interim director Brian Britt, a professor of religion and culture in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

“Jackie Bixler brings tremendous energy and leadership experience to the School of Performing Arts,” said Laura Belmonte, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “I look forward to working closely with her and the school’s extraordinary faculty as we plan new performances, programming, and fundraising initiatives.”