Student-centered. Our mission, curriculum, productions, and daily operations must be focused on and driven by our shared understanding of what our students need, both now and in the future as lifelong learners, thinking artists, and responsible citizens.
Collaborative. I am committed to servant leadership. As chair, I exist to serve the needs of our program and its people. My primary role is to understand and then manage and facilitate our organizational, material, and human needs. I am not the boss; rather, I am the chief caretaker of a team.
Accessible. As caretaker, I must be as accessible as is necessary and reasonable. This includes accessibility by phone and email as well as my on-campus physical availability and my mental and emotional presence, i.e., my undivided attention, genuine concern, and keen focus.
Welcoming. In all that we study and produce, practice and preach, we must be welcoming, inclusive, and equitable, not just when it comes to race, ethnicity, and gender, but also with our most fundamental understanding of what it means to be “other,” and how we welcome and celebrate that otherness.
Transparent. I strive to be as transparent as is possible and prudent. If we are to work collegially and share ownership and governance of our department, then we must understand what our needs and problems are and then how and why decisions are made.
Pragmatic. Most practical problems are like card games: you have to understand the game you’re playing as well as the cards you’re holding, and then play the very best possible hand. Sometimes, though, you’ve got to ask for new cards or even a new game.
Fair. Our ability to work (and play) effectively together depends on everyone being treated fairly and justly; there cannot be favorites, nor can there be grudges. We must strive toward equity, while celebrating our individual differences and acknowledging our strengths and deficits.
Visionary. To prepare ourselves and our students for the future, we must have some informed sense of what that future may hold. We cannot expect our current givens, be they practical or philosophical, to remain the same. We must seek out the future, or possible futures, and prepare accordingly.
Holistic. The best way to prepare our students for that future is through a well-rounded, liberal arts education that encourages us to think critically and compassionately and to work creatively and collaboratively both within and beyond our own disciplines.
Process-oriented. In arts education, the process is as important as the product. Yes, we want the product/ion to look good and impress our patrons and benefactors, but, as the old adage holds, we must teach our students to fish. We must allow them to succeed and, sometimes, to stumble.
Creative. I am an artist and have something to say. I want and need to create meaningful and memorable art. I also am an educator and want to create that art with students and colleagues who, regardless of their academic disciplines, also have something to say.
Interdisciplinary. I believe that we must think, work, and create “outside the box” of traditional disciplines whenever possible, particularly if we are to survive and thrive as the boundaries of these disciplines continue to be blurred and redefined.
Innovative. For me, every production and every class is an “experiment” with specific learning objectives. Just as with our scientist colleagues, academia affords us unique opportunities and resources to explore and innovate. Let’s capitalize on them!
Human. I make mistakes and am willing to take responsibility and apologize for them. I also give compliments, pat people on the back and enjoy reciprocation. I want to smile and enjoy my job, my students, and my colleagues. I want us to be happy and succeed and thrive.