Alan is an Emeritus Professor of Theatre Arts. He taught directing and acting at the University of Iowa from 1991 to 2022. He chaired the department for twenty-nine years and was also Director of the Division of Performing Arts from 2006 until his retirement. He served on the faculty at Princeton University for fourteen years and for a decade was Director of its Program in Theatre and Dance. From 1976 to 2015 he was on the summer faculty of the Bread Loaf School of English, a graduate program of Middlebury College, where, for twenty-seven years, he served as Artistic Director of the Acting Ensemble, an Equity company-in-residence. He directed over a hundred productions, including work at Trinity Repertory Company, the Cleveland Playhouse, North Light Theatre, TheatreWorks in California, the McCarter Theatre, the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, the Theatre of the Riverside Church and En Garde Arts in New York, and other companies.
For seven years Alan also served as Chair of the UI Arts Advancement Committee, which helped develop innovative programs across the arts. These included the Public Digital Arts cluster initiative, the Be Creative Engineering program, the Writers Room, and many other efforts. In the department he developed the Partnership in the Arts program and the Music Theatre track.
Alan is a fellow in the College of Fellows of the American Theatre and Past President of the National Association of Schools of Theatre. He is a recipient of the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence and was a Collegiate Fellow in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 2014 he delivered the University of Iowa Presidential Lecture.