The UNLV College of Liberal Arts has named Colette LaBouff the new executive director of the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute (BMI), effective June 1.
LaBouff, executive director of New Mexico’s Taos Center for the Arts since 2018, brings extensive experience in executive management and program development, literary and arts education, university teaching and service, and development of writers.
“We are so pleased to have Colette take the helm of BMI during this pivotal time in the life of the institute," said College of Liberal Arts dean Jennifer Keene. "She has a breadth of experience from both the artistic and academic worlds and is widely respected in both communities. She is the visionary leader that we need at this time to help shape the future growth of this premier literary institute.”
LaBouff said she looks forward to taking the helm and connecting with the communities BMI serves. “I am truly thrilled about being appointed executive director of BMI at UNLV. This incredibly unique opportunity is a chance to build partnerships and relationships among writers and scholars – fellows, faculty, and students – and connect to larger communities, too. I’m excited to listen and consider with others how to elevate voices connected to BMI. I very much look forward to being part of the BMI staff as well as the UNLV and Las Vegas communities."
Under LaBouff’s leadership, the thriving Taos center has curated and offered live and virtual programs, gallery exhibitions, film screenings, and theatrical performances. Prior to Taos, LaBouff served as coordinator of events and membership at the Roswell Museum and Art Center in Roswell, New Mexico, and associate director and acting director of the International Center for Writing and Translation in the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. She also served as poetry editor and curator at Zocalo Public Square, based in Los Angeles. She is a governor-appointed board member of the New Mexico Humanities Council and served on a subcommittee of the New Mexico Economic Recovery Council in 2020.
LaBouff has taught poetry, literary journalism, and literature at UC Irvine, Pitzer College, and Loyola Marymount University, among other institutions. The author of Mean, a book of prose poems, and “Holdings,” a text-object, she earned a Ph.D. in English and an MFA in poetry, both from UC Irvine.
LaBouff takes over for John Tuman, associate dean for faculty and research in the College of Liberal Arts, who has served as interim executive director since March 2021 following the departure of Joshua Wolf Shenk.
“I am very pleased that Colette is joining our team," Tuman said. "She is a highly experienced and effective leader, and I look forward to working with her as she transitions into the executive director position."
Black Mountain Institute, housed in Liberal Arts, is an international literary center that brings writers into the heart of public life through live experiences, fellowships, innovative media, and literary activism. Programs include the BMI Festival; City of Asylum, which provides safe haven to writers who have been politically persecuted; and publication of independent literary magazines, Witness and The Believer, which will publish its final edition in March.
About the College of Liberal Arts
The college is the largest academic unit at UNLV and offers a well-rounded education in the humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary studies. With a diverse range of curriculum, students graduate with the ability to approach challenges and real-world situations from an interdisciplinary perspective. Learn more at: unlv.edu/liberalarts