Dr. Graves began his career in higher education in 1973 when he joined the faculty of Friends University, Wichita Kansas as an Instructor in Speech and Drama. He held this position, being promoted to Assistant Professor in 1975, until 1981. In addition, he served as Designer and Technical Director in Fine Arts. He was selected by his university peers to receive the W. A. Young Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1975. He was recognized by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as a National Teaching Scholar in 1976.
Dr. Graves joined the faculty at the University of New Orleans in 1981 as Assistant Professor of Drama and Communications. In this capacity, he served the department as principal scenic designer. Dr. Graves has designed scenery and/or lighting for more than 150 productions for theatre, film and television. He was recognized by the American College Theatre Festival for Excellence in Scenic Design for Planet Fires in 1989.
Dr. Graves has presented numerous scholarly papers and presented workshops at regional and national professional association meetings, including the Southwest Theatre Association and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. He serves on editorial advisory boards for Roxbury Publishing Company in Speech Communications and for Harper Collins Publishers in Mass Communications.
Dr. Graves has been a member of the Southwest Theatre Association, where he has served as President. He also served the Association as Chair of the 1994 annual conference. In addition, he has served as a member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, University Film and Video Association and the American Communications Administrators Association, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, and the National Association of Schools of Theatre.
He is currently Senior Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of Film and Theatre. Previously, he served as Interim Dean, a position he held from 2013 to 2016. He was Chair of the department of Film and Theatre from 1990 to 2004. He is the recipient of the 1994 Administrator of the Year Award, 1996-97 Department Chair of the Year Award, both at UNO, and the Louisiana Administrator of the Year, 1996. He has served as faculty advisor and Executive Producer for Radio UNO, a student organization that produced a weekly talk radio public affairs program on WSMB Radio in New Orleans. Additionally, he serves on the Arts Administration Advisory Board and numerous UNO administrative/faculty committees and task forces. His teaching specialties include Speech Communications, Arts Administration, Promotion and Design, and Aesthetics in the Arts. He holds a B.S.E. degree in Speech Education and a M.A. in Speech and Theatre from Emporia State University. He holds a Ph. D. in Fine Arts, with an academic specialty in Arts Management and Administration from Texas Tech University.
Dr. Graves, and his wife, Deborah, have four children, Kristin, Stephanie, Matthew and Makana and four grandchildren.