In today’s increasingly globalized, competitive, and fiscally-afflicted, higher-education environment, academic leaders are regularly expected to serve as both “visionaries” and “managers” adept in all forms of political, economic, and social engagement. Likewise, performing arts leaders share a similar fate, as they need to be versatile tacticians skilled equally in both business and art. Given these realities, for higher education performing arts programs, the challenges are greater. These programs — and their parent institutions — require leadership and leaders capable of handling both immediate complexity and long-term transformation. As such, leadership development critical to this mission is a priority. This article explores the intricacies of higher education and the performing arts, and discusses the correlative characteristics of leadership, management, mentoring, coaching, and networking. Additionally, it provides in-depth description and critical analysis of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Leadership Institute — as the institute is a unique leadership initiative specifically designed to address this enigmatic niche subset of higher education.

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