Friday, October 23, 2015

Conference Panel at ETSU

Today I had a wonderful chance to speak at a panel as part of the iDMAa conference at Eastern State Tennessee University.  The panel was "Entrepreneurship and Professional Practice: What They Don't Teach You in School" - and was I believe a very valuable discussion.

Having just made the transition from the Professional World to Academics, I see the difference between the perceived job environment out there and the reality.  So it was a great chance to share some insights and give some pragmatic viewpoints.  I've always felt that schools are very concerned with teaching students how to get jobs, but not necessarily how to be great employees and keep those jobs.  One of the most helpful classes I had back in undergrad at UNL was a "Business of Theatre" class that William Kenyon, the lighting professor taught one semester.  It covered freelance strategies, taxes for artists, getting covered by insurance, contracts, etc.  Talking to others at this conference, I think a "professional practices" class is essential for any arts program in this day and age.

Conference web site:

I have to add that I was only able to attend because my amazing wife, Heather Abels, stayed home with our two sick kids that day.  You'll notice that her name is on the panel poster as well.  One of us had to cancel, and she graciously as bowed out so that I could attend.