MSU Denver

Meet the Dean


John Masserini, DMA is the Dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Dr. John Masserini is new dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Masserini joined Metropolitan State University of Denver on July 1 after leaving Northern Arizona University, where he served as the interim dean for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He shared his vision for CLAS and how it fits into MSU Denver’s 2030 Strategic Plan with the Early Bird earlier this year.

Learn more about Dr. Masserini

Dr. Masserini is an academic leader dedicated to providing higher education opportunities to anyone that seeks them; cultivating equity-minded and inclusive pedagogy; investing and supporting holistic student success structures in higher education; and building strong connections between educational institutions and the communities for which they live and serve. With a specific focus on those that are historically minoritized and underserved, he looks to dismantle long-standing barriers in higher education by providing full access with foundational support and academic excellence to graduate engaged and thoughtful citizens who pursue meaningful careers and full, productive lives.

Prior to joining MSU Denver, Masserini was Professor of Music and served in various administrative roles at Northern Arizona University from 2008-21. Among them include: Interim Dean for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (2020-21), Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (2018-20), Associate Dean of the Graduate College (2014-18) and Associate Director of the School of Music (2011-14). From 2001-08 he served on the faculty in the Department of Music at Idaho State University.

As an active performing clarinetist, Masserini appeared at several international and national venues as a recitalist, concerto soloist, collaborative chamber musician, avant-garde performing artist, and theater musician for national Broadway tours. Notable past international invitations include the International Clarinet Association Conferences (ClarinetFest®) in 2003 (Salt Lake City, Utah), 2005 (Tokyo, Japan), 2006 (Atlanta, Georgia), 2009 (Porto, Portugal), 2012 (Lincoln, Nebraska), and 2013 (Assisi, Italy), and 2015 (Madrid, Spain). His clarinet/saxophone duo Velocity2 [Velocity Squared] released the CD Flux under the Centaur Records label in 2014.

In addition to his more traditional work in the field, Masserini has completed several grant-funded performance projects with longtime collaborator Melanie Kloetzel, Professor of Dance at the University of Calgary. Their work combines music, dance/movement, and various forms of media. International and national invitations to showcase these interdisciplinary works include the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD) 2011 Annual Conference: “Moving Music / Sounding Dance” (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania); Collision 2006: A Symposium on Interarts and Interdisciplinary Practices (Vancouver, British Columbia); and a main-stage appearance at the 2006 On the Boards – Northwest New Works Festival (Seattle, Washington).

Masserini holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in Music Performance (clarinet) from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the University of New Mexico.

College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Mission

Provide a broad based Liberal Arts Education.

The primary mission of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is to effectively utilize all the energy and resources at the disposal of the College to support the broader mission of the University.  Building upon the traditions of the Academy, the community, and the faculty, CLAS offers a broad variety of curricula which comprises a liberal education in the traditional sense.

Foster a collaborative learning environment.

The College also extends the college service mission through faculty research and study, student internships, partnerships, mutual grant projects, Centers, Institutes, and collaborations with public schools, business, industry, government, and non-profit organizations.

Promote lifelong learning and engagement.

Its focus is on educating students to think critically as individuals and as citizens.  General Studies course offerings provide the basic knowledge and skills necessary for all degree-seeking students.  Fine and performing arts programs offer cultural enrichment to the campus and the community.  The teaching and learning environment fosters lifelong learning, an appreciation and respect for others, responsible citizenship, and career development.

Respond to diverse needs of urban populations.

The College responds to the educational needs of a diverse urban population with flexible scheduling, a curriculum meeting established academic standards of rigor, currency and application.

Prepare students for fulfilling post graduate work and careers.

Within the traditions of the arts, sciences, social sciences, and humanities, lies a history of imagination, inspiration and discovery by which faculty offer degree programs leading to post graduate work and careers in the public and private sectors.  The College’s resources support teaching by encouraging the teacher/scholar model in faculty, and by offering high quality support staff and services which assist students in identifying and meeting their educational goals.


Metropolitan State University of Denver is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (30 North LaSalle St., Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504, 1-800-621-7440).

College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Contact Us

Campus Location:

Central Classroom 315

Mailing Address:

Campus Box 37
P. O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362





[email protected]