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ATHE Leadership Institute® Agenda
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2016 ATHE Leadership Institute®

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

1:00 pm

Mentor Briefing


1:30 pm

Introductions, Institute Overview


2:00 pm

Identity, Difference, and Representation: Serving a Diversifying Student Body through Theater Arts

Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Freelance Theater Director and Director-in-Residence, Merrimack Repertory Theatre; Stacey A. Miller, Ed.D., Assistant Provost for Inclusion, Valparaiso University

An African American student comes to you, very upset, reporting that a faculty member, in an attempt to add diversity to the acting curriculum, has assigned white students to perform a scene from August Wilson's Fences in class. The student says he feels offended and unsafe. What do you say? Or: A petition is delivered to your office signed by almost all of the female theater majors. It outlines the statistics in the number of plays written or directed by women in the past ten years in your department, and demands that the next season include exclusively plays written by and directed by women. They threaten to boycott all university productions if you do not comply. What do you do?

Our world is changing - which is exciting as well as confusing. Especially around questions of identity and representation - how race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, class, disability are addressed on and offstage, in and out of the classroom — there is no roadmap. As a professional theater director and a University diversity officer, we are well versed in these challenging conversations. We want to offer you some tools and empower you to embrace the complexities of identity and representation in 21st century American higher ed.

The session will begin with an overview of the changing demographics in higher education and the impact on the arts. We'll share some important vocabulary for approaching difficult conversations and offer some examples of best practices in Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Participants will then review scenarios facing university theater departments (including those gathered from your own work via pre-conference surveying), formulate appropriate action plans, and present to the group for feedback. We'll focus primarily on topics of difference and representation in play selection and casting, as well as offering some frameworks and resources for further work that you and your department can do to promote more diversity, inclusivity, and equity.


6:15 pm

Opening Reception for Institute Participants



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

8:00 am

Continental Breakfast and Welcome from ATHE Officers


8:30 am - 12:00 pm

Exploring Convergence
Jake Pinholster, Kristin Sosnowsky, Additional Presenters TBD

Through advance readings, a panel of expert speakers, and charettes designed to generate practical responses, participants will explore intersections of these four themes:

  • Convergence of External Forces on the Academy
  • Convergence of Academic Disciplines
  • Convergence of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work
  • Convergence in Administrative Structures and Processes


12:00 - 2:00 pm

Lunch on your own: Mentor and Mentoree
Exploring Personal Mission Statement, Career Objectives, Challenges and Opportunities


2:00 - 4:30 pm

Roundtable Discussions on Leadership Topics

  • The Theatre Leader as Producer and Artistic Director (Randy Reinholz))
    • This session addresses issues in production management, season selection, marketing, staffing, resource management, conflict resolution, and negotiations.
  • Admissions, Recruiting and Retention (Karen Ward)
    • This session considers the challenges and opportunities to growing theatre programs, addressing the needs of students, developing approaches to diversity and inclusion.
  • Developing Entrepreneurs (Ira Levine)
    • This session considers approaches to aid students in career preparation, the growing movement in arts entrepreneurship, and opportunities for supporting alumni after graduation.
  • Fundraising/Development (Jeff Huberman)
    • This session addresses the needs of a department to fundraise for everything from production resources to facilities and endowments and effective strategies for yielding results.
  • Supporting Early Career Faculty, Diverse Faculty, and Contingent Faculty (Valerie Morris and Michelle Hayford)
    • This session focuses on ways to effectively support the unique and changing needs of
      early career faculty, faculty from traditionally underrepresented groups, and
      contingent faculty. The session also considers how to effectively facilitate
      relationships between non-tenured faculty/staff and tenured/tenure-track faculty.


4:30 - 5:30 pm

Career Development Advice
Dennis Barden, Witt-Kiefer Executive Search

Leading search firm representative for higher education shares his experience in identifying and recruiting senior level leaders and advice for individuals interested in pursuing advanced leadership positions in the academy.


5:30 - 7:00 pm

Wrap up and Adjourn; Joint Reception with Governing Council, Focus Group Representatives, Focus Group Conference Planners, and 2016 Conference Committee members



Thursday, August 11, 2016

8:30 am

Continental Breakfast and Mentor Conversation (Mackenzie)


9:45 am

Wrap-Up and Evaluation


10:45 am

Leadership Brunch and Graduation (Duluth)


12:00 pm

Luncheon | Mentoring and Developing Diverse Students, Faculty, and Artists
Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim, President, Columbia College Chicago


1:30 pm

ATHE Annual Conference Opens


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