Addressing Declining Enrollment in the Arts & Humanities at Research Universities

Feb 16, 2017

“Addressing Declining Enrollment in the Arts & Humanities at Research Universities” will address trends in enrollment and strategies to combat declining enrollment, find new partners, and reach out to surrounding communities. Participants will get a current snapshot of arts and humanities trends – a full discussion of successful strategies a2ru partners have taken to prevent or reverse trends in declining enrollment in the arts and humanities.

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Addressing Declining Enrollment Webinar Transcript


LeAnn Starlin Nilsson
Director, Academic Recruitment & Retention

College of Arts
Kent State University

LeAnn Starlin Nilsson currently serves as the Academic Recruitment & Retention Director for the College of the Arts at Kent State University. In this role, she is responsible for recruitment and retention of students in the Music, Theater and Dance, Art and Fashion. In addition, she leads College initiatives for academic diversity outreach to underrepresented students. Prior to this, LeAnn worked at the Cleveland Institute of Art and Hiram College in student activities, new student orientation, student leadership development and service learning. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Higher Education with research focusing on social capital and the college selection process for Appalachian women.

Sheena Ramirez
Portfolio, Audition & Recruitment Coordinator

College of Visual & Performing Arts
James Madison University

Sheena Ramirez has served as the Portfolio, Audition and Recruitment Coordinator for the College of Visual and Performing Arts at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia since May 2015.  She works with prospective students across three schools – the School of Art, Design, and Art History; the School of Music; and the School of Theatre and Dance.  In this role, she is responsible for developing college-wide recruitment events and initiatives, attending high school visits and arts college fairs, planning audition and portfolio review days, delivering arts specific communications, and systematic data integrity and analysis.  Prior to this position, she was the Campus Experience Manager and CRM Specialist in the Undergraduate Admissions Office at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

Ramirez holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory and a master’s degree from New England Conservatory in Vocal Performance.  She has performed dozens of operatic roles, and was recently praised as a “light, perky soprano” in the American premier of Donizetti’s Olivo e Pasquale by the New York Times.  In 2015, she was named “Best Female Voice” for her portrayal of Patience in Patience at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate, England.  She is currently earning her doctorate in Voice Performance with an emphasis in Singing Health at James Madison University.

Noel Zahler
J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts
Texas Tech University 

Dr. Noel Zahler has been selected as the new dean for the College of Visual & Performing Arts (VPA) at Texas Tech University. Dr. Zahler comes with a background in Performing Arts, Communications and Design at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University (LIU).
Prior to coming to Texas Tech, Zahler was dean of the College of Arts, Communication and Design at Long Island University (LIU). He was head of the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University for four years and University of Minnesota for three years. He spent 20 years at Connecticut College, ending his career there as the Sylvia Pasternak Marx Professor of Music.

While at LIU, Zahler increased recruitment among international students, authored articulation agreements with institutions in Norway, Saudi Arabia, Italy, China and others and created a Summer High School Honors Institute residency program for prospective students. He also worked with other colleges on campus, including the School of Health Professions and Nursing and the College of Management, to create collaborative programs.

Zahler holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from City University of New York’s Queens College, a master of fine arts degree from Princeton University and a doctor of musical arts from Columbia University as well as a Certificato di Perfezionamento from L’Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. He also has studied at The Juilliard School. He is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including a National Endowment for the Arts Consortium Commission, a Fulbright/Hayes Fellowship and an Aaron Copland Foundation Grant. Zahler has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Italian National Research Council.

Todd Queen
Penniman Family Professor of Music
College of Music and Dramatic Arts
Louisiana State University

Dr. Todd Queen was recently appointed as Dean of the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts. Prior to his appointment, he served as professor of Voice and Chair of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance in the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University. His unique combination of teaching, directing and performing experience has allowed him to travel the world as a teacher, stage director and singer.

Queen has recently cultivated those experiences in a new direction, working as an arts administrator and international arts ambassador. Queen has traveled to Asia on multiple occasions to forge a partnership with East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai, where he was named Visiting Professor. In 2011 Queen co-founded Opera Orvieto, a three-week summer intensive Italian operatic experience, where he served as Artistic and Stage Director. During his time at CSU, Queen helped bring in gifts and pledges totaling more than $2 million to the department, including ten new endowed scholarships and the naming of the Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center at CSU, one of a handful of named opera programs in the United States.

In 2012 Queen was the catalyst in forming the LEAP (Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Arts Advocacy and the Public) Institute for the Arts at Colorado State, an interdisciplinary academic unit that houses both an undergraduate minor and graduate program in arts leadership and administration.

Todd Queen joined the CSU voice faculty in 2001 as Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Colorado State Opera Theatre. Dr. Queen earned the DMA and MM degrees from the prestigious Eastman School of Music after completing his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University.

Arny Nadler, Moderator
Associate Professor of Art and Chair of Undergraduate Art 
Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts
Washington University in St. Louis

Arny Nadler is a sculptor and associate professor in the Sam Fox School, where he is chair of undergraduate art. In 2013, Nadler was awarded a $20,000 Regional Arts Commission Fellowship. He has also received a George Sugarman Foundation grant and two Faculty Creative Research Grants from Washington University. In 2012, Gallery 210 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis commissioned him to create the permanent, site-specific sculpture Whelm. Nadler has exhibited his work—from outdoor installations in steel to hand-built ceramic pieces—at galleries, biennials, and universities across the country, including the Newport Beach-California Civic Center, Evanston Art Center, Turchin Art Center, Sculpture Key West, Kingston Sculpture Biennial, Maryland Hall Center for the Creative Arts, Millikin University, Western Michigan University, Rockland Center for the Arts, University of Alabama-Huntsville, and the Mitchell Museum. His work has been reviewed in Art in America and other notable publications. Nadler has presented at Foundations in Art: Theory and Education Conference and the Mid-America College Art Association Conference, and he has been a visiting artist at several universities and colleges. Nadler earned his MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and his BFA in Sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis.