Why dance?

Why dance?

“I can do that” was my response when asked if I would be willing to dance for the Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust, Youth Arts Education fund. I have been asked why, what is the connection to me and my work. For me, I appreciate those who are dedicated to art, culture and community betterment. Coming from a family that has members with art talents, musical abilities, and an eye for what works aesthetically, I have always appreciated art, theater, music and a wide range of cultural activity. To be honest, I appreciate…. (Not necessarily the skilled one in my family!).

Professionally, I think the connection to youth arts education is a perfect fit with WSU-Rochester. The nursing, education, and social work programs are all known for the immersion approach to education. Faculty and students are highly engaged with youth and non-profits across Rochester and the region.

  • Collaborating with partners at the Boys and Girls club to study how programming improves the health of children.
  • Engaging with teachers to launch and participate in an annual STEM camp at Riverside Elementary to inspire children.
  • Actively supporting the work of IMAA through service learning and internships.

These are all examples of how the high-end professionals at WSU-Rochester stimulate creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking through hands on learning. We have been doing this work for over 100 years. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to help my community raise funds to support youth arts education.

  • This is important.
  • This is our wheelhouse.
  • This is why I dance!

Please consider donating to the Gangeness/Ray team, for more information go to:

https://rochartstrust.org and vote (donate) for team Gangeness/Ray at bidpal.net/DFTA2017

Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust, Youth arts education: Research shows arts exposure and integration across the curriculum stimulates the creativity, collaboration and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in the 21st century and beyond. Students are engaged and empowered through an excellent arts education. Over the years, funds raised by the Trust, through its Dancing for the Arts event, have resulted in grants for nonprofit organizations providing unique arts education opportunities not found in the public school system. To date, hundreds of thousands of youth have been impacted.


Creating the right conditions for success…. and failure

Creating the right conditions for success…. and failure

Over the past several years I have been taking mental note of how academic programs are launched by institutions successfully. There are the basics that most folks are aware: student interest, faculty expertise and ability to deliver the program. Under appreciated elements to success are contextual, community, industry, and institution reputation with the potential student market. Appreciating both the basics and the higher level engagement and communication needs are important for setting up new programs for success.

Gauging student interest may be determined by surveying prospective students or current students that may matriculate into the program. Formal and informal engagement approaches may also be helpful. Whether in person or engaging with prospective students that are gathered in physical/virtual classrooms, all feedback and approaches should be encouraged. Be sure to ask for feedback from prospective students in addition to current students as the future students are the ones you have yet to bring on board.

The program has a higher probability of success if there is a market or group that has a need that the new program will address. Engage the community and industry partners early, they should be central to the consideration and development of new programming. Communication should authentic, two way, with the goal of achieving a shared-agenda. Success includes community collaboration, context, and communication. Failure is just the opposite. Below is my summary.

Success Failure
Homework done:

–    Engage with community stakeholders inside and outside (community) of institution (college or university).

–    Ask for recommendations without a solution in hand.

–    Seek prospective student feedback through surveying, formal and informal discussions.

Homework not done:

–    Do not engage with community stakeholders.

–    Come with a solution for “their” problem.

–    Do not survey or seek prospective student feedback.

–    You are the expert – community should feel blessed to have you offering a solution.

Plan ahead:

–    Develop a collaborative curriculum and timeline for launch/ marketing.

–    Achieve approvals of curriculum and transfer agreements 6-8 months prior to launch.

–    Market program with stakeholders and public. Include collaborative partner endorsements.

Fast turnaround, no or limited plan:

–    Plan in a vacuum – without community input.

–    Launch program weeks after approval without marketing or partner endorsement.

Community Engagement is Key

–    These are the folks who are experts in the field, will hire your alums, recruit students for you (and may pay their tuition), and are central to program success.

–    Engage Authentically – be a part of their world and participate in activities that are important to their community and industry.

–    People Matter.

Internal Focus

–    Address the administration, faculty and staff desires. Areas that seem fun and are trendy to invest institutional resources.

–    Inauthentic or no engagement. Show up when something is convenient or honoring you or institution. Do not engage with community and industry interests/activities.

–    Program and agenda above people.

Maintain Communication Lines

–    Stay connected with the community and industry experts to obtain feedback. Then do something about it!

–    Students, faculty and staff communicate about what is working and what needs work to administration. Programs update based on the discussions.

Limit Communication

–    Deliver program. Do not seek feedback or change based on industry needs.

–    Make promises and do not follow through.