CAA/NCAA Affiliated Session College Art Association 2020 Annual Meeting, February 12-15, 2020 

Join NCAA members at the 2020 CAA Affiliate session Who Wants to be an Arts Administrator?
Session date and time: Thursday, February 13, 8:30am-10am. Chicago Hilton 3rd Fl Astoria Room

Panel Co-Chairs: Charles Kanwischer, Bowling Green State University, Sarah Meyer, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


This panel will explore the mechanics of Arts administration. Presenters will offer concrete initiatives they’ve taken, with evidence of measurable results and improvements. This might be an event that caused them to think they might be effective as an administrator. Topics might include: Financial Concerns and Fundraising; Advocacy (how do we better tell our story); Diversity and Inclusion; and Leadership Strategies (for new and veteran leaders).


David Beck, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Yes, Actually, We Do Need Another Meeting! Why department meetings are not only important, but (if done right) have the potential to transform your unit’s culture and attitude.
This session addresses the thing that everybody loathes – department meetings! They are a crucial element to a unit running smoothly, but can also turn into a train wreck depending on the topic and personalities involved. Discussion will focus on the idea of reconfiguring the department meeting to communicate and achieve goals rooted in collaboration, transparency, and proactivity. Takeaways include: how to visually present to artists and designers; schedules, agendas, and timing for each meeting; balancing both the serious and funny side of things in delivery and conversation; borrowing from how meetings are done in the business world and applying them to higher education. The session will also include opportunities to share stories about unit meetings including tips, tricks, miracles and nightmares.

Anthony Crisafulli, University of North Alabama

Turning Gloom to Boom: Closing Down the Disappointment Factory
Colleges and Universities are among the noblest institutions this country has to offer its people. They lift people from poverty, are centers of innovation, further human knowledge and are patrons of the arts. So, why are they disappointment factories? Students are disappointed in their grades, faculty are disappointed with the trajectory of their careers, and the administration is disappointed in everything from government relations to the long-term costs of providing benefits to their employees. This session will address the root causes of academic disappointment, it’s long term effect on departmental culture, and provide insight for how to reverse it in order to turn gloom to boom.

Stephanie James, Florida State University

Who Wants to be an Accidental Arts Administrator? The trough of change!
This session will explore the situation of an “accidental administrator” and the sometimes opposing expectations of the faculty and the Dean that result from being an external rather than internal hire. The presentation will focus on Virginia Satir’s Change Model as a means to determine how well faculty are coping with the “trough of change – expressed as a diagram on paper and re-drawn as change progresses. It’s a model based on resistance, chaos and integration flow to establish a new status quo. The presentation will further examine resilience, faltering and futility in the role of administrator and reveal how different groups can build operating strategies to gain fresh perspectives on department and school governance. Strategies for inclusion and persuasion will also be explored. The feeling of being “accidental” can cause wobbly moments in an administrator’s life. The session will offer the trough of change as a drawing-based strategy to plot a steady course.

Lauren M. Lake, University of North Texas

This presentation will compare flying with arts administration beginning with the physics of lift, thrust, drag, weight, and the ability to adjust in all sorts of situations that test leadership.The presentation will focus on strategies for success – whether it feels as if we are jumping off a cliff and forced to build an airplane on the way down or making major repairs midair. Like pilots, arts leaders need basic operating tools and to chart a course while continuing to modify their flight plan. If clouds form pilots know they need to rely on instruments for guidance. Like a flight attendant, leaders know that offering an early mid-air beverage or snack to one passenger allows them to focus on others. Both passengers and arts administrators get antsy, because of delays in reaching their destination.