Tamara Underiner is associate dean for academic affairs and professional development in Arizona State University's Graduate College, and associate professor in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, where she serves as founding director of the Ph.D. program in Theatre and Performance of the Americas. She also convenes Creative Health Collaborations, a university-wide effort to integrate arts, humanities and design approaches in integrating arts, humanities and design approaches in health research, education, practice and policy. With Dr. David Coon, she co-directs a new NEA-sponsored Research Lab e the health-supporting role of the arts in different types of caregiving contexts and via a range of participatory arts experiences involving both caregivers and their loved ones.
As associate dean, she convenes the University Graduate Council; oversees the general professional development activities of the Graduate College for graduate students, including the Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars program; develops new curricular innovations as part of its Graduate College Fellows Initiatives, and supports multi-level mentoring activities for graduate students. She is also the Academic Integrity Officer for the Graduate College.
Prior to joining the Graduate College, she was associate dean for research at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, where she helped to foster interdsciplinary collaborations between Herberger artists, researchers, and other ASU faculty and community members.
With colleague Stephani Etheridge Woodson (MDT), she is the co-editor of the collected volume, "Theatre, Performance and Change" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). She is the author of "Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death-Defying Acts" (University of Texas Press, 2004), and has published essays in Theatre Journal, RISE: The Journal of Applied Theatre, Signs, Baylor Journal of Theatre and Performance, TDR, and critical anthologies from academic presses in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. She is active in the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the Alliance for Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), the American Society for Theatre Research, and the board of the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics, based in New York City.
As founding director of the doctoral program in Theatre and Performance of the Americas, she works closely with faculty across the Institute to develop individualized curricula, research projects, and funding opportunities for students interested in pursuing research on the relationship between artistic performance, in all its forms, and the ongoing history of the Americas and their peoples.
She earned a bachelor's in communication arts from the University of Dayton in 1980, a master's in theatre from Arizona State University in 1993, and a doctorate in drama from the University of Washington in 1997. She joined the ASU faculty as an assistant professor in 2001 after a faculty appointment at the University of Minnesota School of Theatre and Dance. In 2003, she was named a Faculty Exemplar by ASU President Michael Crow.