Protecting the Arts in Higher Education (2020 Event)

Recorded On: 04/30/2020


About this Breakout Session

This advocacy training session focuses on protecting the arts in higher education. Our main advocacy ask is to urge Congress to strengthen access to higher education in the arts through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.


  • Stephanie Milling, National Dance Education Organization
  • Sherburne Laughlin, Arts Management Program at American University
  • Lee Ann Adams, Association of Arts Administration Educators
  • Sally Gaskill, Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), Indiana University

This event is a part of the National Arts Action Digital Summit.

How to View the Recording: locate the “Protecting the Arts in Higher Education Recorded” or "Protecting the Arts in Higher Education Recorded with Closed Captions" box on the right-hand side of this page. Click the box and a red VIEW VIDEO button will appear. Click on that button and the recorded session will open in a pop-up window. Please note that you must be logged in to your account and registered for this event in order to view the recording.

Stephanie Milling

Head of Dance Education

University of South Carolina

Stephanie Milling is the Head of Dance Education at the University of South Carolina. After performing in the early stages of her dance career, Dr. Milling has taught in a wide variety of artistic and educational environments, including company classes for Dallas Black Dance Theatre I and II, several public schools within the New York City Department of Education, Texas Christian University, Texas Woman’s University, and the University of North Texas. She also served in the capacity of Assistant Dean for the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University prior to her appointment at the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Milling helped author the 2010 and 2017 South Carolina Standards for Dance Education and edited the Curriculum Support Document that accompanied the 2010 standards. Dr. Milling is an active arts advocate in the state and nation and received the South Carolina Dance Association’s Advocacy Award in 2012 and currently serves as the Advocacy Director for the National Dance Education Organization. In 2012, she was elected to serve as a Board Member for the South Carolina Arts Alliance and currently occupies the role of Past President for the organization. In 2013, she was elected to serve a three-year term on the Arts Education Council at Americans for the Arts where she regularly wrote for ARTSblog on topics relating to Arts Education and Advocacy. Her service in the field of dance has included serving on the editorial boards for Journal of Movement Arts Literacy, Dance Education in Practice, Arts Education Policy Review, the Board of Directors for the Charlotte Dance Festival, South Carolina Dance Association, and the South Carolina Dance Education Organization. 

Dr. Milling’s creative and scholarly work revolves around the intersections of Women’s Studies and Dance, assessment, advocacy, and pedagogy. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Joyce Soho in New York City, the D.U.M.B.O. Dance Festival in Brooklyn, N.Y., Piccolo Spoleto, the annual conference for the National Dance Education Organization, and the Journal of Dance Education, Dance Education in Practice, and other national and international publications. Dr. Milling holds a Ph.D. in Dance and M.A. in Women’s Studies from Texas Woman’s University, an M.A in Dance Education from New York University, and a B.A. in French from Texas Christian University.


Sherburne Laughlin

Hurst Sr Professorial Lecturer Department of Performing Arts, American University

Sherburne Laughlin holds an MBA from Yale University and is a cum laude graduate of Davidson College. Her nonprofit management and philanthropic career spans over 20 years of executive director and program director experience. A full-time professor since 2007 at AU, she has pioneered top-ranked courses in strategic planning, fundraising, grant writing and governance. Her consulting work focuses on issues of governance, organizational development and strategic planning and serves all types of nonprofits, arts and non-arts, large and small, national and local. She has served on many arts panels, including the DC, Montgomery and Fairfax County Arts Council panels and the national VSA arts panel. She is currently serving on the City Fund, which is awarding $15 million over 3 years to the arts and workforce development in the District of Columbia. Until recently, she was a member of the Advisory Board of Round House Theater and for 16 years served on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of Davidson College. Laughlin co-chaired the national conference of the Association of Arts Administration Educators and chaired the Graduate Standards Committee, which recently published the revised Graduate Standards in Arts Administration Education. She is the Immediate Past President of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, the leading international scholarly association of the field. Her work on governance was recognized in her selection as the author on US arts governance in the path-breaking book International Cultural Governance published by Palgrave McMillan in 2019. She chairs the Americans for the Arts' task force on Higher Education in the Arts, which crafts the congressional legislative platform on the arts in higher education.


Lee Ann Adams

Executive Director, Association of Arts Administration Educators

Lee Ann Adams has over fifteen years of experience working in nonprofit management and higher education in the arts, and she joined AAAE as Executive Director after serving as Assistant Director of Programs and Operations at the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) for 6 1/2 years.

Prior to joining AICAD, Adams worked as an Admissions Officer at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), as an Administrator in the Fine American Paintings Department at Christie’s Auction House in New York City, and as Assistant to the Director at the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island.

Adams holds an M.S. in Nonprofit Management with a focus on Organizational Communications from Northeastern University, and a B.F.A in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. Additionally, Adams maintains a creative practice as a fine arts painter, and she serves as Treasurer on the Rhode Island Art Education Association (RIAEA) Board.

Adams believes deeply in the value of an arts education, and brings her passion and expertise to the field of Arts Administration through her role as Executive Director at AAAE.


Sally Gaskill

Director, Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), Indiana University

Sally Gaskill is a veteran arts administrator with experience in advocacy, local arts agency management, and higher education. She has served as director of SNAAP -- the annual survey of arts graduates – since 2012 at the Indiana University School of Education’s Center for Postsecondary Research and as Associate Director from 2008-2012.  SNAAP investigates the educational experiences and career paths of arts graduates nationally and is governed by a distinguished national board of directors.

She served as executive director of the arts councils of Rochester, New York and Bloomington, Indiana and managed grantmaking programs for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. She led the Greater Boston Youth Symphony and Indiana Coalition for the Arts, and served on the State Arts Action Council for Americans for the Arts. As a consultant, she developed cultural plans for a number of communities and evaluated over 100 nonprofit arts organizations as a site reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Sally currently serves as a consultant to the Indiana Arts Commission. She is vice president of Cardinal Stage Company, treasurer of Bloomington Early Music, and an advisory board member of WTIU Public Media and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Arts Administration Program. She sings with Voces Novae, a chamber choir.

She received a B.A. in history from Colorado College and an M.A. in arts management from American University.

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Protecting the Arts in Higher Education Recorded
Protecting the Arts in Higher Education Recorded with Closed Captions

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