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Leadership of the arts in higher education: A case study

Darwin E Prioleau, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study is to explore, identify, and describe the causal relationship between leadership and the phenomena that produce an environment conducive for growth of the arts in higher education, by recording the thoughts, perceptions, and experiences of individuals who are, or were, in leadership roles at selected institutions. The institutions chosen for this study were The Ohio State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Each institution is noted for distinction in the arts. Both institutions are state funded land-grant universities, with comprehensive arts programs in the performing and visual arts and have professional arts presenting centers on campus. Through “expert nomination,” over fifty participants were invited to take part in this study. The participants were central administrators, mid-level administrators, chairs, and arts faculty. Qualitative research methods were used in collecting the data through the use of a guided, open-ended and in-depth interview with each participant. The research questions for this study focused on the participant's view of: (1) how the history of the campus connected with the history and growth of the arts at the institution, (2) what were the most significant integrative components of the arts on the campus, (3) what accounted for the growth of the arts on the campus, (4) what was the perception of the educative role of the arts on campus, and (5) what would be the ideal situation for the arts on campus. The analysis of the data revealed three major areas where leadership had effected the growth of the arts on these two campuses: (1) the creation of an environment that encourages collaborative and outreach ventures, (2) the creation of an environment that is based on a shared vision and goals, (3) the creation of an environment that generates faculty and staff excitement and high morale.

Subject Area

Higher education|Fine Arts|Art education

Recommended Citation

Prioleau, Darwin E, "Leadership of the arts in higher education: A case study" (1999). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9920642.