I believe that the connection between the arts and education is founded on a shared belief that the purpose of both is to enlighten the mind and stimulate the growth of humanity by making us aware of the world in which we live. I also believe that the synthesis of the two can be healthy and productive when guided by individuals who respect the potential of the art to influence thinking and who have a broad worldview that embraces the complexity and diversity of the human experience.
As Artist-Educators we have a complex charge. We must ignite the artistic spirit and intellectual curiosity of our students; educate them to explore the world and to think critically; train them in the fundamentals of our craft; and empower them with a process to continue their own artistic journey. In essence we must train them to think as scholars and act as artists. Above all we must guide them to answer the question: “What does it mean to be an artist in the 21st century?”
At the same time, we have a responsibility to educate, enlighten, and stimulate our non-artist community, our audiences, to appreciate the significance the arts can have in their lives. We must inspire them through our creative activity to recognize that knowledge comes not only from a quality classroom experience, but also from participating as an audience member / spectator in the transformative experience fostered by all the arts.
This double charge of educating artists and audience is challenging at best and made more complex by the need to nurture our own artistic spirits. The success of any arts program to fulfill this mission hinges on the vision and strength of its leadership; the knowledge, skill, and passion of its faculty; the dynamics of its program; the talent, hunger and discipline of its students; and the support for academic excellence from the institution.
Academic excellence is achieved within the dynamic bond between faculty and students in a learning environment thoroughly supported by the administration. I believe in the pursuit of academic excellence. I believe in rigorously educating artists by finding a balance between scholarship and creativity. At both the undergraduate and graduate level, education and training must be challenging; encouraging students and faculty alike to reconsider existing conventions, processes, and knowledge basis to either validate or to reinvent the stage. As an administrator, one of my key responsibilities is to facilitate dynamic learning that allows for artistic risk-taking by creating an environment that is supportive of faculty and students; that fosters creativity, collaboration, and excellence; and that has appropriate resources including facilities, personnel and funding.
I believe in a need for academic discipline that parallels those we embrace as artists. I believe students learn best in an environment that I can best describe as an educational artistic home. A place where they are free to experiment, to fail and learn from their failures, and to succeed and learn from their successes. A place where students feel they are a part of the greater whole and are trusted to make artistic decisions.
Pedagogically, I support international experiences to heighten the student’s world perspective, the use of educational technology including web-based education, and I am a strong advocate for project based learning and faculty / student collaboration. I believe that students gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject area through experiential learning. This learning paradigm allows students to master specific skill sets while being engaged in activities that require higher reasoning practices including critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and collaboration; all key competencies for artist/scholar/citizens in the 21st century.
I personally believe in life-long learning, challenging myself to make new discoveries, new intellectual connections, and bring them back into the classroom. I support all efforts for faculty development, including the need to continue to work in the professional venues related to their discipline to keep their skills alive.
I am passionate about all the arts and about learning. I truly believe in the power of the arts to influence our changing world and I share that passion through my pursuit of academic and artistic excellence.