Tamara Underiner is associate dean for academic affairs in Arizona State University's Graduate College, and associate professor in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, where she serves as founding director of the Ph.D. program in Theatre and Performance of the Americas. As associate dean, she convenes the University Graduate Council; oversees the Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars program, Postdoctoral Affairs Office, and Distinguished Awards Initiative; and supports the general professional development activities of the Graduate College for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Prior to joining the Graduate College, she was associate dean for research at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and continues to convene Creative Health Collaborations, an initiative integrating arts, humanities, and design approaches into health research, education, practice and policy.
With colleague Stephani Etheridge Woodson, 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.