Annual Meeting and Retreat for Administrators Sessions and Events


A schedule of Annual Meeting and Retreat for Administrators sessions and events for each day is provided below.

An advance copy of the program of all sessions and events with meeting room locations will be available here immediately prior to the Annual Meeting and Retreat for Administrators. A copy of the program will be provided to on-site registrants at the time of registration, either in hard copy if a packet is requested or through the use of the NAST Annual Meeting and Retreat for Administrators App.

Registration is required for the Annual Meeting and Retreat for Administrators.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

REGISTRATION

9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

COMMISSION ON ACCREDITATION
(Commission members only)

9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

PRE-MEETING WORKSHOP FOR NEW AND ASPIRING THEATRE ADMINISTRATORS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
(Separate fee and advance registration required; click here for full workshop description)

This workshop has been designed to address several of the most important areas of concern for new and aspiring administrators. Each segment will involve a basic briefing on a designated topic, followed by ample opportunity for interaction and discussion. The content will focus on principles and approaches applicable to all types of institutions.

Participants are invited to attend the Reception for Pre-Meeting Workshop Attendees to be held from 5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m.

9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

PRE-MEETING WORKSHOP FOR SEASONED THEATRE ADMINISTRATORS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
(Separate fee and advance registration required; click here for full workshop description)

The responsibilities of the theatre administrator are diverse and multifaceted. Each day brings new challenges and opportunities. Over time, the roles and responsibilities of an administrator often expand, change, and evolve. This pre-meeting workshop, especially designed for seasoned administrators, will facilitate discussions related to various issues affecting the work of theatre administrators. Topics will be established by the workshop leaders and will include, but not be limited to: working with faculty, students, and other administrators within and across disciplines; communicating with upper administrators; establishing, maintaining, and nurturing welcoming and inclusive cultures; issues of promotion and tenure; financial management of the theatre unit; marketing the theatre unit to prospective students and the public; strategies for dealing with difficult situations; and succession planning. Topics of interest to attendees will be considered as well. Attendees from all types of institutions and from all levels of administration are welcome.

Participants are invited to attend the Reception for Pre-Meeting Workshop Attendees to be held from 5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m.

4:15 p.m.–5:15 p.m.

ORIENTATION FOR NEWCOMERS TO NAST

This session will provide an orientation to the resources and operations of NAST, with special attention to the benefits and responsibilities of accredited institutional Membership. Discussion will emphasize ways the Association and its work can assist administrators to fulfill the many and varied aspects of their local responsibilities. Following the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to pose questions and engage in discussion.

5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m

RECEPTION FOR PRE-MEETING WORKSHOP ATTENDEES                 
(Cash bar)

All pre-meeting workshop attendees, presenters, and facilitators are invited to this informal reception, which will provide an opportunity for individuals to meet, greet, advance conversations, establish mentor/mentee connections, and cultivate valuable professional relationships with other theatre administrators. Attendees are welcome and encouraged to continue the conversations begun during the day’s sessions.

5:45 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION
(Board of Directors members only)

6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS DINNER AND BUSINESS MEETING
(Board of Directors members only)

Thursday, March 16, 2023

7:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

REGISTRATION

8:00 a.m.–12:00 noon

WORKSHOP: PREPARING FOR NAST EVALUATION
(Please note: A box lunch will be provided. Attendees are asked to register in advance.)

This workshop will provide information and guidance pertaining to the NAST comprehensive review process including discussion of the self-study and visitation processes for members whose institutions are to be visited in the next two years, institutions planning to begin the NAST evaluation process, and those formally engaged in the process. A step-by-step walk-through of the accreditation process will be provided, including confirmation of timelines and deadlines, and information regarding accreditation procedures, Self-Study formats, on-site reviews, the Visitors’ Report, the Optional Response, and Commission action. Questions will be addressed during this nuts-and-bolts session. This session will be particularly helpful to those administrators conducting accreditation reviews during the 2023–2024 and 2024–2025 academic years. However, all interested individuals are welcome.

8:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

WORKSHOP FOR VISITING EVALUATORS
(Please note: This workshop is by invitation only. Individuals interested in becoming NAST evaluators are encouraged to contact the National Office staff.)

This annual workshop will provide training to theatre administrators interested in becoming visiting evaluators for NAST. Fundamentals of the accreditation process will be described in detail. Participants will discuss expectations with regard to the NAST peer review initiative, including the invitation process, how to schedule a visit, how to prepare for and conduct an effective visit, the important role the Self-Study plays in the evaluative process, how to craft a Visitors’ Report, and good practices as they pertain to the activities and responsibilities of evaluative team members. A detailed overview of the Handbook and its constituent parts will be presented, including a discussion of standards and guidelines and their application to applicant institutions. Attendees will have the opportunity, using case study materials, to consider various scenarios that may arise during on-site reviews.

8:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

WORKSHOP FOR EXPERIENCED EVALUATORS
(Please note: This workshop is by invitation only. Individuals interested in becoming NAST evaluators are encouraged to contact the National Office staff.)

This annual workshop will provide support and information to theatre administrators who have been trained previously as NAST evaluators and who have served as members of visitation teams. The role and responsibilities of the visiting team chair will be discussed in detail and as it relates to expectations pertaining to the review of Self-Studies, the conduct of on-site visits, working with team members, and the writing of Visitors’ Reports. Attendees will have the opportunity, using case study materials, to consider various scenarios that may arise during on-site reviews.

11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

BRIEFING FOR FACILITATORS, MODERATORS, AND RECORDERS

This briefing will offer instructions, expectations, and helpful hints to individuals who have been asked and have agreed to serve as session facilitators, moderators, and recorders. All facilitators, moderators, and recorders should plan to attend this briefing. An opportunity for questions and discussion will be provided.

1:00 p.m.–2:15 p.m.

GENERAL SESSION: PLENARY BUSINESS MEETING

(Please Note: Voting representatives of member institutions are asked to sit behind their institution’s place card. Non-voting representatives and guests may be seated in unmarked rows.)

Call to Order
Determination of Quorum
Welcome to Members and Guests
Minutes
Agenda
Report of the Committee on Ethics
Report of the Commission on Accreditation
Introduction of New Accredited Institutional Members
Report of the Treasurer
Report of the Executive Director
Action on Proposed Handbook Revisions
Election
Report of the President
Appreciation
New Business
Adjournment

2:30 p.m.–3:45 p.m.

KEYNOTE DISCUSSION: THE CHANGING NATURE OF THE THEATRE INDUSTRY AND ITS IMPACT ON THE POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF THEATRE STUDENTS

Substantial changes have occurred in the theatre industry during the past several years, many of which have been informed by a number of issues, including but not limited to social and cultural influences, technological developments and advancements, working conditions and workforce needs, audience propensities pertaining to attendance and engagement, resource availability, and in large part, the ongoing and developing nature of theatre as an artform. Noting the important role theatre plays as a powerful conduit for communication and connection through means such as storytelling and the establishment of communities, understanding the impact these unfolding conditions are having and will have on the education and training of theatre students has become of particular importance to institutions offering collegiate study in theatre. Today’s keynote panel will explore aspects of the theatre industry, its changing nature, and how these changes will impact the students entering the profession. The presenters will share thoughts, ideas, and practices which may serve to frame what students entering the industry should be prepared to do and how the academy might best prepare students for entry. Considerable focus will be devoted to pedagogical and curricular initiatives and approaches that will enable students not only to develop discipline-specific expertise, but to use this expertise to advance the artform and shape the dialogue within the industry. This session will provide an opportunity for attendees to explore and consider options and approaches such as curricular programming, academic experiences, and external opportunities and partnerships that enable students to begin to establish connections within the industry they will enter upon graduation.

4:00 p.m.–5:15 p.m.

FOCUSED ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS ASSIGNED BY SIZE AND TYPE OF INSTITUTION

These focused roundtable discussions serve as a forum for individuals from institutions of similar size and type to discuss and advance in further detail concepts and issues raised and explored during the Keynote Discussion. Participants are asked to think deeply about and discuss in detail the issues and ideas presented. Rather than discussing in brief a multitude of issues, attendees may wish to explore extensively several of the most salient topics.

5:15 p.m.–6:30 p.m.

PRESIDENT’S RECEPTION FOR THE ASSOCIATION
(Cash bar)

This reception offers an opportunity for attendees to gather in community, establish connections with individuals new to theatre administration, and rekindle and advance existing professional relationships. The President of the Association will offer a greeting and will introduce the members of the NAST Board of Directors.

6:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS DINNER AND SEMINAR MEETING
(Board of Directors members only)

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Friday, March 17, 2023

7:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

REGISTRATION

7:30 a.m.–8:45 a.m.

CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST FOR THE ASSOCIATION
Hosted by: Music Theatre International

8:45 a.m.-9:45 a.m.

THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: ENHANCING THE THEATRE EXPERIENCE

In 2016, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, first introduced the concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, “characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital, and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.” There is no question that technologies grew more necessary and influential during the pandemic, as theatre administrators searched for approaches that would enable them to continue without pause the education and training of students enrolled in theatre study. Although compromising the notion of “liveness” that is characteristic of “theatre arts,” current technologies were used to communicate, deliver theatre classes, conduct rehearsals, and present performances. Today’s session will offer to attendees the ability and opportunity to look back, informed by what has been learned, and to consider theatre practices employed during the pandemic that continue to serve the field well and therefore should be maintained, those holding promise but in need of refinement, and those whose useful lives have come to an end and therefore should be retired. In addition, noting that many students enter the collegiate arena with highly proficient tech-savvy backgrounds—a condition resulting from having grown up in a digital world—consideration will be given to how collegiate theatre programs can advance student expertise given the ever-changing nature and relevance of technologies.

10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

RESPONSIBILITY-CENTERED MANAGEMENT (RCM): PROS, CONS, AND CONSIDERATIONS

Institutions, at a growing rate, are either considering or implementing the RCM budget model—an incentive-based approach to budgeting that enables institutions to align budget allocations with specific institutional goals and objectives, decentralize budget authority, and increase transparency. The RCM budget model can be employed for various reasons—as examples, to create competition between and among departments/units, to grow specific aspects of theatre units, and to assist to evaluate the allocation and use of resources. Today’s presenters will provide a primer that outlines the RCM budget model and its features, as well as its implications for theatre units. Participants will consider the advantages and disadvantages of the RCM budget model and will explore ways in which to use this budget model to be best effective for theatre units and their operations. Time for questions and discussion will be provided.

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

ACADEMIC SEARCHES AND HIRING IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Faculty members can and often do have an indelible and long-lasting impact on the character and work of an institution. In the case of theatre units, the collective experience and backgrounds of faculty members shape not only the unit’s culture, but its “personality” as well, for years to come. Therefore, it is imperative for theatre administrators to give careful and thoughtful consideration to hiring practices and procedures, ensuring that established approaches result in hires that support and align with institutional mission, goals, and objectives. This includes, for example, consideration of the balance between size and scope, the curricular offerings currently in place and those anticipated, and the current makeup of the faculty and its ability to serve and support the needs of current students and those anticipated. Policies and expectations should be shared with new faculty members upon hiring. Opportunities and experiences which ensure the cohesiveness of the faculty should be offered with regularity. Attendees will consider these issues, as well as those that result in outcomes that introduce and engage new perspectives and broaden the depth and breadth of the faculty. The presenters will share good practices and explore with attendees approaches that may improve and strengthen hiring processes.

12:15 p.m.–1:45 p.m.

LUNCHEON FOR THE ASSOCIATION: THEATRE IN ST. LOUIS

2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

ARTS AND WELLNESS: THE THEATRE UNIT AS CATALYST

Health and wellness continue to be important issues with which students, faculty, and administrators within the theatre unit must contend. Pressures faced by arts students and educators abound. In many cases, health stressors arise due to the personal and reflective nature of the arts, as well as the interweaving of emotional intelligence and passionate creativity that thrives in arts-related disciplines. At the same time, it is these same characteristics (i.e., creativity, empathy, reflection, and emotional awareness) that can be employed to channel efforts in new directions and promote lifestyles which foster mental and physical health and wellness, both individually and in community. Accomplishments realized by the theatre unit may assist to promote wellness through engagement with other departments across campus. This session will provide a positive perspective exploring how the arts, and in particular, theatre arts, can be used to promote general health and wellness. This presentation will thus focus on the role arts disciplines can play as catalysts in the promotion of individual, organizational, and community well-being. Time for questions and discussion will be provided.

3:15 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

BELONGING IN THE CLASSROOM

Effective teaching and learning can take place only when existing barriers that prevent healthy engagement are removed. In today’s session, attendees will consider what we as leaders of theatre programs can do to ensure that our institutions remain as places where mutual respect, belonging, and empowerment are supported and allowed to flourish. Consideration will be given to how theatre administrators can develop in themselves, and in their colleagues and students, abilities that enable them to: wisely and responsively manage issues such as bias and inequity in the classroom, studio, and rehearsal hall; implement proportional and consistent responses which result in formative behavioral change as may be necessary; empower faculty and staff members to implement practices that will create inclusive learning and working environments that allow each individual to engage and grow; communicate to employees at every touch point—the interview stage, hiring, orientation, evaluation—expectations in this regard; and develop and normalize a culture of belonging, respect, and support for everyone regardless of their place in the institutional hierarchy. Participants will be encouraged to explore and share practices which will assist them to consider their own assumptions and expand the resources at hand which will enable them to continue the difficult but rewarding process of building and nurturing environments that value and celebrate all perspectives.

4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

FOCUSED ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS BY TOPIC

These focused roundtable discussions serve as a forum for individuals to examine and reflect upon topics of shared interest and concern, as related to the issues raised in each of the preceding five sessions. Attendees are asked to consider and frame issues prior to arrival in St. Louis, coming prepared to share with colleagues thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Rather than discussing in brief a multitude of issues, attendees may wish to explore in depth several of the most salient topics.

5:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.

RECEPTION FOR THE ASSOCIATION
(Cash bar)

6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

URTA MEETING

Saturday, March 18, 2023

7:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

REGISTRATION

7:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS BREAKFAST AND SEMINAR MEETING
(Board of Directors members only) 

8:30 a.m.–9:45 a.m.

BRIEFING FOR EVALUATORS

(Please note: This briefing is by invitation only. Individuals interested in becoming NAST evaluators are encouraged to contact the National Office staff.)

This annual briefing is offered for individuals currently trained and serving as NAST visiting evaluators. It will provide an opportunity for evaluators to refresh their knowledge of NAST procedures, protocols, and standards, with particular focus on the Procedures and the Handbook. Helpful reminders regarding the format, preparation, and required content of Visitors’ Reports will be provided. The potential impact of the activities of external constituencies, such as the federal government, states, and other review bodies—which may affect the accreditation process—will be discussed. Documentation required of institutions and evaluators will be highlighted, as well as sources and uses of helpful and informative publications aimed to assist institutions in the preparation of Self-Studies and evaluators in the preparation of Visitors’ Reports.

8:30 a.m.–9:45 a.m.

COMMUNICATING WITH THE COMMISSIONS: CREATING EFFECTIVE WRITTEN ACCREDITATION MATERIALS

Whether developing and preparing comprehensive applications for accreditation and reaccreditation, Responses, Progress Reports, or applications for Plan Approval, Final Approval for Listing, or Substantive Change, clear and cogent material, which articulates activities at the institution while at the same time addresses standards compliance, is necessary in order to conduct a successful conversation with the Commission on Accreditation. This session will offer an overview of the Handbook and the use of its contents in preparing Commission correspondence. Helpful ideas and suggestions will be provided for attendees in the process of, or planning to, develop materials for Commission review.

8:30 a.m.–9:45 a.m.

THE NATURE OF CURRICULAR INNOVATION

A great deal of discussion today is focused on the necessity for institutions to innovate, in particular, to offer “innovative” curricular programs. Unfortunately, and similar to other terms that have entered the higher education lexicon over the years, the definition of innovation as it applies to curricular programs is broad, and therefore, vague. What makes a curricular program innovative—new subject-matter content, new approaches, a new discipline; the replacement of existing content; the retooling of an existing program? Can a time-honored traditional program be considered innovative? What about existing content delivered through new or various modes of delivery? A case could be made to describe each as “innovative.” Attendees will consider innovation in terms of relevance, taking into account the desires and needs of students entering the academy who are drawn by programs that pique their curiosity and interest, the pressures from parents who are interested in the perceived earning power and employability of their children, and demands of the marketplace that will dictate to students entering the profession the skills and knowledge required.

8:30 a.m.–9:45 a.m.

OPEN FORUM: NAST ACCREDITATION PROCESSES—PROCEDURES, STANDARDS, GUIDELINES, AND PRACTICES

(Please note: Individuals who attend the Thursday morning session entitled “Workshop: Preparing for NAST Evaluation” may find this Open Forum helpful.)

This forum will provide an opportunity for discussion of NAST requirements and procedures with regard to applications for accreditation/reaccreditation, Plan Approval/Final Approval for Listing, and Substantive Change; as well as use of the Handbook and application of standards. It will be guided by the questions posed by participants, which may be prepared in advance and should focus on general, rather than specific, institutional issues. All meeting attendees are welcome.

10:00 a.m.–11:15 a.m.

BRIEFING: FEDERAL ISSUES FOR THEATRE ADMINISTRATORS

Under the law, the federal government does not control higher education. However, the federal government does play a major role in developing conditions for the work of higher education, primarily through laws and regulations defining conditions for institutional participation in grant and student loan programs, and tax policies that influence economic conditions affecting education and the arts. Following a brief introduction to the higher education and policy landscapes, this session will address the current political climate; various pressures on institutions; and current and prospective federal policies, laws, and regulations affecting higher education and the arts. This briefing will take a non-partisan policy analysis approach, looking at the ramifications and costs of various options and probabilities. Time for questions and discussion will be provided.

10:00 a.m.–11:15 a.m.

CURRICULUM DESIGN: THE UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE

From time to time, and for a variety of reasons, theatre units may decide to undertake the complex task of designing new undergraduate degree programs. There are many issues that must be considered, such as the existing mission of the institution and theatre unit, how the degree will dovetail with and support these missions, the students to be served, the coursework necessary to develop desired competencies, the availability of applicable faculty expertise, and the market into which students will enter. As well, resources must be considered, and consensus must be built. Only with these understandings in hand can the architecture of a degree begin to take shape.

This session will focus on the structure of undergraduate degree programs. Differences between liberal arts and professional baccalaureate degrees will be addressed, as will differences between majors, minors, and areas of emphasis. Issues that arise regarding title and content consistency will be discussed. As well, the effective use of the standards to promote and embrace creative and innovative curricular programming will be explored. A review of the NAST Handbook and discussion of the Council of Arts Accrediting Associations’ Achievement and Quality resources available on the NAST website will be offered.

10:00 a.m.–11:15 a.m.

NAST RESOURCES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT SERVICES AND ANNUAL REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

NAST has a number of resources available for institutions to assist in the formulation of local proposals and policies. This session will enumerate and explain the purposes of several sets of information. Areas of discussion will include faculty work, promotion, and tenure; the duties of administrators; planning and futures analysis; assessment; communicating with others; and explaining the principles, aspirations, and suggested considerations for the development of effective programs in theatre. Information described above is available on the NAST website, as is detailed and extensive information helpful to the general public, students, administrators, theatre administrators new to NAST, and those embarking upon accreditation and reaccreditation applications. A brief look at the website, highlighting its resources and use, will be offered.

In addition to the resources described above, member institutions are served by the information provided in reports required to be submitted to NAST on an annual basis. This session will outline specific reporting requirements, timelines, deadlines, and helpful suggestions aimed to ensure complete and accurate submission of the Accreditation Audit, Affirmation Statement, Supplemental Annual Report, and the HEADS Data Survey. A section-by-section overview of the HEADS Data Survey will explain in detail the Survey submission process, types of data collected, collection mechanisms, and presentation of collected data. Information regarding statistics available from the HEADS Project, the HEADS data navigable dashboards, and potential uses for HEADS data in local policy discussions and administrative planning, will also be provided.

10:00 a.m.–11:15 a.m.

OPEN FORUM: THE THEATRE DISCIPLINE AND ITS NAMING CONVENTIONS

This session is designed to provide a forum where ideas and concerns regarding the theatre discipline and its naming conventions may be discussed. Attendance is open to all interested individuals.

11:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

OPEN FORUM: HISTORICALLY BLACK INSTITUTIONS

This session is designed to provide a forum where ideas and concerns of particular relevance to historically Black institutions may be discussed. Attendance is open to all interested individuals. Participants may wish to give thought in advance to topics of interest they wish to explore.

11:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

ROUNDTABLE FOR COMMUNITY AND TWO-YEAR COLLEGES

This session will provide attendees with an opportunity to pose specific issues and questions for consideration by the entire group. Attendance is open to all interested individuals. Participants may wish to give thought in advance to topics of interest they wish to explore.

11:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

ROUNDTABLE FOR NON-DEGREE-GRANTING AND PROFESSIONAL STUDIO SCHOOLS

This session will provide attendees with an opportunity to pose specific issues and questions for consideration by the entire group. Attendance is open to all interested individuals. Participants may wish to give thought in advance to topics of interest they wish to explore.

11:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

ROUNDTABLE FOR FAITH-BASED INSTITUTIONS

This session will provide attendees with an opportunity to pose specific issues and questions for consideration by the entire group. Attendance is open to all interested individuals. Participants may wish to give thought in advance to topics of interest they wish to explore.

12:45 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT OF THE FIFTY-EIGHTH NAST ANNUAL MEETING AND RETREAT FOR ADMINISTRATORS

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