I have long known my professional goal in the arts, and now, after twenty years of involvement in educational theatre and a thirty-three year career in the performing arts, I have found it has changed little: To dynamically contribute to the life and growth of an artistic home of significance; a place where creativity is nourished, hard work and working smart is respected, communication in all its forms – written, verbal, musical, kinetic, and visual – is foundational, and passion for the arts and academic excellence is the natural result of the collaborative process. I am proud to say I am successfully engaged in pursuing this goal.
The desire to be a part of an artistic home is a major motivator in my life. It is the basis of my decision to pursue a career in the theatre by aligning myself with artistic institutions. My move into educational theatre was a natural progression of that desire. I define an artistic home as an institution that houses and supports a collaborative team of enthusiastic, imaginative artist/educators collectively dedicated to the growth of their students, themselves, the community, and artistic expression to the fullest potential.
To dynamically contribute to such a team requires a leader with vision and the ability to cultivate institutional and community support. A leader invested into strategic planning and assessment, with a willingness to take responsible and reasonable risks to bring prominence to the program and the institution.
My successes demonstrate I have the vision, leadership skills, and understanding necessary to facilitate substantive growth in an artistic home. I believe in building a team through a process of strategic planning and detailed assessment that leads to consensus. I understand the importance of communication and listening in building trust and facilitating growth, as well as the exercise of fair and ethical administrative practices including confidentiality and openness to others’ ideas. I know that leadership holds great responsibility that is empowered by trust earned from those served. I am willing to take the initiative to get done what must be done including taking on the significant challenges and solving them. Moreover, I am tenacious enough to keep on working, even after setbacks. I have followed the “Roman Rule” since my military days: “Those who say it cannot be done should never interrupt those who are doing it!” I believe in reasonable and responsible risk taking guided by the needs, mission, and long-range goals of the program.
On a practical level, I understand that a good leader must have management skills to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of running a program. It has been my experience that if the “house” is not in order, it cannot function properly. I understand and have experience in all aspects of operations including budget management, fiscal responsibility, fund raising, grants writing, scheduling, personnel management, conflict resolution, delegation, problem solving, assessment, developing and implementing strategic plans, improving academic programs, and overseeing facilities, as well as the most important responsibility, recruiting and retaining excellent faculty, students, and staff.
I have used those skills in a wide range of management positions from supervising a Nuclear Weld Shop in the U.S. Navy to being Managing Artistic Director of a performing arts center in the U.S. Virgin Islands to serving as the Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Western Michigan University. Moreover, I have a working knowledge of both the production and performance processes, which aids in facilitating the mission and growth of a program. I have great respect for the process of creating art and work to support and facilitate their success.
Underscoring my leadership and management is a passion for all the arts and for the education and training of our next generation of artists and scholars. That passion empowers and gives significance to my work and, as passion is contagious, it encourages others to join and participate.
We live in an exciting age; a renaissance brought on by the digital revolution where much we know and believe will be challenged. As an academic leader, artist, and educator I know the hard work and accomplishments achieved by the faculty, staff, and administration I work along side of make a difference in the lives of our students as we collaboratively build a world-class artistic and educational home that explores this “brave new world.”
We are faced with a challenging time ahead in the academy and the arts where dynamic leadership will be essential for growth and success. I recognize the importance of those challenges and bring innovative leadership, collaborative skills, a passion for the performing arts, and a vision of the future that embraces this renaissance to all that I do.
Most importantly, I believe in myself, and my ability to dynamically contribute to an artistic home of significance. To balance this sense of pride, I also have a sense of humor – one strong enough, I hope, to avoid being found guilty of hubris.