Michael J. Pittas, dean of Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design, has resigned. The surprise announcement reached faculty members in their Friday mail on a memorandum dated July 1.
After a year's service, Pittas, 43, has left the Los Angeles art school to do independent research in urban studies. He is the first recipient of the Urban Scholars Fellowship award. The new fellowship program is administered by the New School for Social Research in New York, the parent school of Otis/Parsons.
Pittas was in Tokyo, engaged in his first research project, when the news was released, but his secretary, Leslie Sherrod, confirmed his departure from Otis/Parsons. She said that Pittas will be engaged in full-time research under provisions of a year's fellowship. The program was designed to explore "relationships among public policy, the arts, economics and design in major urban centers," according to Sherrod.
Pittas came to Otis/Parsons with extensive experience in architecture, education, urban planning and design. He had served six years as head of the design arts program of the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington before coming to Southern California a year ago.
Roger Workman, associate dean of student services at Otis/Parsons, has been appointed acting dean during a search for Pittas' successor.