Annual Meeting 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, all sessions and events with meeting room locations, will be available immediately prior to the Annual Meeting and Retreat for Administrators. The program may be download and printed if the registrant prefers to bring a hard copy for use on-site. Program events and schedule will be provided to on-site registrants 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 27, 2024

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 28, 2024

7:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

REGISTRATION

8:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

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 2024–2025 and 2025–2026 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.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

BOX LUNCH FOR EVALUATOR WORKSHOPS PARTICIPANTS

(Please note: This is a joint lunch for participants in the Workshop for Visiting Evaluators and Workshop for Experienced Evaluators. All participants are asked to attend.)

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 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.

12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m.

GENERAL SESSION: PLENARY BUSINESS MEETING

(Voting representatives of member institutions are asked to attend and 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

2:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.

GENDER AND CASTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES: DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION, AND EFFECT

The importance of developing sensitive and informed gender and casting policies and procedures that are mission-attentive, relevant, and effective is critical to the work of both higher education theatre units and the professional theatre today. During this session, presenters will guide participants through a maze of issues, exploring along the way approaches that may assist institutions to consider how and whether there is a need to evaluate, change, enhance, etc., existing institutional classroom and production policies. Attendees will consider the interplay that exists between curricular offerings and casting decisions, and how each might affect the other. Gender and casting will also be considered in light of how each/both might influence pedagogical decisions, as well as the converse—how pedagogical choices might impact gender and casting. Attendees will be invited to delve deeply into the expertise, skills, and tools necessary for administrators and faculty to possess in order to not only address student issues, but also share wisdom enabling their students to understand the implications of decisions, including consideration of the impact gender choices may have in casting in the professional realm. Ample time for questions will be provided.

2:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.

PREVENTING AND RESOLVING FACULTY CONFLICTS

Theatre executives face a myriad of administrative responsibilities, one of the most challenging being the management of individuals. This session will explore ways to establish and maintain a cohesive culture among faculty, which serves as a foundation to solidify and enhance working relationships, and in doing so, to minimize, if not head off, faculty conflicts. Participants will be invited to consider approaches that may assist them to address conflict through means such as productive dialogue and the implementation of personnel management strategies. The presenters will explore ideas and avenues which may be employed to address personality clashes among faculty, whether nascent or existing as protracted challenges with deep histories. Time for open dialogue will be provided.

4:00 p.m.–5:15 p.m.

FOCUSED ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS ASSIGNED BY LEVEL AND TYPE OF THEATRE CURRICULAR PROGRAM OFFERED

These focused roundtable discussions serve as a forum for individuals to discuss and advance in further detail concepts and issues raised and explored during the preceding session addressing gender and casting policies and procedures, and faculty conflicts. Attendees are encouraged to share examples of good practices as well as unsuccessful outcomes, and to engage in dialogue that expands thinking and promotes ideas.

Discussion Group #1: Non-Degree-Granting Programs
Discussion Group #2: Two-Year and Associate’s Degree Programs (AA/AS/AFA)
Discussion Group #3: Undergraduate Liberal Arts Degree Programs (BA/BS)
Discussion Group #4: Undergraduate Professional Degree Programs (BFA)
Discussion Group #5: Initial Master’s Degree Programs (MA/MS)
Discussion Group #6: Terminal Master’s Degree Programs (MFA)
Discussion Group #7: Doctoral Degree Programs

5:30 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 29, 2024

7:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.

CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST FOR THE ASSOCIATION
Hosted by: Music Theatre International

7:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

REGISTRATION

9:00 a.m.-10:45 a.m.

ADMINISTERING BLENDED UNITS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

Many theatre executives either lead or are being asked to assume leadership responsibilities for units that encompass multiple disciplines. As an example, it is not uncommon to find theatre programs administered in units that also include dance, speech communication, film, new media arts, and the like. Today’s panelists will explore the opportunities presented to and unique challenges faced by administrators, faculty, staff, and students in blended units. Consideration will be given to how these units might balance the sometimes-competing needs of the various disciplines with respect to issues such as facilities, finances, human resources, etc. Panelists and attendees will explore and discuss the impact these competing needs may have on curricular and programmatic offerings, particularly with regard to collaboration, economies of scale, and synergy among disciplines. They will also examine examples of innovative curricular programs that have developed in blended units which bring to life new areas of study through the integration of traditionally distinct areas of expertise and competency.

9:00 a.m.–10:45 a.m.

IS ARTISTIC FREEDOM AN ANACHRONISM?

Today, institutions of higher education are operating within an unstable and divisive environment in which traditional ideas pertaining to artistic and intellectual freedoms are being challenged. The free expression of ideas, a bedrock principle of the academy, is often met with pushback from disparate entities such as federal and state governments, community constituencies, institutional administrations, faculties, and students. This session will consider how this climate is impacting the ability of theatre educators to make decisions about what they teach, produce, and research. Participants will explore how theatre programs might develop approaches that embrace a range of viewpoints, invite diversity of thought, and enable respectful debate.

11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

OPEN DISCUSSION BY REGION

This open discussion serves as a forum for individuals from institutions organized geographically by region to discuss and advance concepts and issues raised throughout the NAST Annual Meeting. Participants are asked to think deeply about and discuss in detail the issues and ideas presented. Rather than exploring in brief a multitude of topics, attendees may wish to delve extensively into a selection of the most salient.

11:00 a.m.–12:15 a.m.

MEETINGS WITH NAST STAFF

These individually scheduled appointments will provide to interested Annual Meeting registrants an opportunity to meet with staff to discuss topics of an accreditation nature. (Individuals may indicate their interest by registering in advance or by contacting the staff no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 1.)

12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m.

LUNCHEON FOR THE ASSOCIATION: THEATRE IN MINNEAPOLIS

2:00 p.m.–3:15 p.m.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS

3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

OPEN DISCUSSION

This open discussion serves as a forum for individuals to discuss and advance concepts and issues raised throughout the NAST Annual Meeting. Participants are asked to think deeply about and discuss in detail the issues and ideas presented. Rather than exploring in brief a multitude of topics, attendees may wish to delve extensively into a selection of the most salient.

3:30 p.m.–4:45 p.m.

STRATEGIC PLANNING: THE ROLE AND VALUE OF SUPPORTIVE DATA

During the summer of 2023, NAST released for use the newly designed HEADS Navigational Dashboards, which enable representatives of member institutions to access data collected through the use of HEADS Data Survey tool from 2016 through 2021. The Navigational Dashboards provide to members the ability to sort, organize, and compare data points; and to create customized report views in data tables and graph/chart formats. During this session, attendees will explore the structure and use of the Navigational Dashboards system, and learn how to find and extract information pertaining to areas such as theatre enrollment by degree and major, theatre faculty and administrators, sources and uses of theatre unit income and expenses, demographic and ethnic characteristics of theatre faculty and students, and renovation and construction. With general knowledge in hand, attendees will consider through the use of case studies how the Navigational Dashboards may be used to capture data and use this data to support the work of the theatre unit. Ample time for questions and dialogue will be provided.

3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

MEETINGS WITH NAST STAFF

These individually scheduled appointments will provide to interested Annual Meeting registrants an opportunity to meet with staff to discuss topics of an accreditation nature. (Individuals may indicate their interest by registering in advance or by contacting the staff no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 1.)

5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m.

RECEPTION FOR THE ASSOCIATION
(Cash bar)

5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m.

URTA MEETING

Saturday, March 30, 2024

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 COMMISSION: 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 pick up where they left off last year considering 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.

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. Areas covered 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. These resources are 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 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.

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 59TH NAST ANNUAL MEETING AND RETREAT FOR ADMINISTRATORS

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