Ray Allen came into academe as a painter and teacher of color. From there, he gradually migrated into higher education administration, first as the Chair of the Foundation program at MICA, then into successive deanships because he believed these positions would allow him to affect art and design education in a larger and more holistic way. Indeed, through the layers of his professional experience, he became even more convinced that artistic expression is fundamental to the very notion of culture and that good design has the potential to profoundly transform the quality of our lives.
In recent years, he has been preoccupied with all the issues pressing upon contemporary professional practice and, in turn, art and design education. The blurring of disciplinary boundaries, alternative forms of educational delivery, the integration of theory into studio practice, the balance of electronic media with traditional skills and technologies, and considerations of diversity and aesthetic pluralism are some of the challenges that he continues to address on local and national levels.
Through his involvement with accreditation at art colleges in many parts of the United States and active involvement in national and international consortia, Allen has played an active role in international dialogue on art and design education. In 1997 he was elected to the Commission on Accreditation for National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). After serving six years on the Commission, he was elected its chair from 2002 to 2005. Subsequently, he was elected President of the organization from 2005 to 2008. In 2009, NASAD elected him a fellow and life member, its highest award for distinguished service. Currently, he is Chair Extempore of the NASAD Commission on Accreditation.
Over his career, Mr. Allen has actively consulted on arts education in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East and served as an advisor and board member to a number of non-profit arts organization. Since 2004, he has served on the Board of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore and is its current secretary.
Allen received a BFA from Philadelphia College of Art (PCA) and an MFA from Queens College of the City University of New York. From 1970 to 1983 he was a member of the faculty at MICA, including the chairmanship of the Foundation Department during the last five years of that tenure. For the next eleven years he was Vice President of Academic Affairs at Maine College of Art where he also taught in the Foundation Program. Allen returned to MICA in 1994 as Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs. While leading the educational program through the largest period of growth in its history, he became MICA's first Provost in 2006.