Protecting the Arts in Higher Education | Briefing Session

Recorded On: 04/05/2021

About This Session

In this session, advocates will learn how specific legislative changes will strengthen access and affordability of higher education in the arts. Our main advocacy ask is to urge Congress to strengthen access to higher education in the arts and ensure financial aid options, especially for students from historically and intentionally marginalized communities.

This session is sponsored by Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD).


Deborah Obalil, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AICAD)
Emmanual Guillory, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AICAD)
Samuel Hoi, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
Lee Ann Scotto Adams, Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE)

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Emmanual Guillory

Director of Student and Institutional Aid Policy

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Emmanual currently serves as the Director of Student and Institutional Aid Policy at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. In this role, he serves as the lead policy expert on Title IV federal student assistance programs and institutional aid programs found in Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act (HEA). He is responsible for developing NAICU’s policy positions on student and institutional aid, in conjunction with the association’s member college, university, and association presidents. Guillory also represents those policy positions on the behalf of NAICU to the United States Congress, the White House, the Department of Education, and other agencies as warranted.

Previously, Emmanual served as the Director for Public Policy and Government Affairs at UNCF (United Negro College Fund, Inc). In this role, he advocated on the behalf of low income, first generation college students and the needs of Historically Black Colleges and Universities to the United States Congress, Federal Agencies, and the White House. In addition to advocacy, Emmanual determined all policy stances for UNCF and formulated policy on behalf of the organization.

In addition, Emmanual served a decade in the United States House of Representatives as a Professional Staff Member on the Committee on Education and the Workforce handling higher education policy and as a Senior Policy Advisor to former Congressman Joe Barton from Texas. While on the Committee, Emmanual was responsible for borrower defense regulations; gainful employment regulations; cash management regulations; proprietary institutions; institutional aid for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions; International Education; Graduate Education; and college access programs to include TRIO and GEARUP. In Congressman Joe Barton’s office, Emmanual served as the lead staffer for the Congressman on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and as the lead staffer for the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus and the then-House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.

Emmanual is from Lufkin, TX and received a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology and a certification in leadership studies from Texas A&M University. Emmanual also received a Master of Arts degree in College Student Personnel (Higher Education Administration) from Bowling Green State University.

Twitter: @_eguillory

Samuel Hoi


Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

Samuel Hoi is the president of Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He is an experienced and innovative higher education leader, and an advocate for art and design education and creative professionals as drivers in social, economic, and cultural advancement.

At MICA, he has ushered in its creative entrepreneurship efforts, steered its mission and vision re-articulation and college-wide DEIG (diversity, equity, inclusion, and globalization) initiative. As president of Otis College of Art and Design for 14 years from 2000-2014, he shepherded the Creative Action curriculum that places art and design education in real life and community context. He also launched the annual Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region, which was expanded statewide in California. While serving as dean of the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., he created a visual arts program serving inner-city youth that received a Coming Up Taller Award from the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities. 

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Hoi received his BA from Columbia College in New York City, his JD from Columbia Law School, and his AAS degree in Illustration from Parsons School of Design. Hoi is a recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from the Corcoran College of Art and Design and Otis College of Art and Design; decoration by the French government as an Officer of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques; and the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change Fellowship that recognizes U.S. artists and cultural leaders at the forefront of social change.

Deborah Obalil

President & Executive Director

Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD)

Deborah Obalil has over twenty years experience as a leader in the national arts and culture industry, having led multiple highly-acclaimed organizations and served as a well-regarded management consultant to the field. She was appointed the Executive Director of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) in June 2012, and then President in fall 2015. As President & Executive Director she leads the organization in achieving its mission of strengthening and connecting its members schools, thus advancing arts and design education.

 Under her leadership, AICAD has invested significantly in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the organization and across its membership. During her tenure, AICAD has launched the Post Graduate Teaching Fellowship, which offers professional development to graduating BIPOC students in the association in pursuit of careers teaching in higher education, and the BIPOC Academic Leadership Institute. It has hosted multiple symposia on diversity in the academy and inclusive pedagogy

 Prior to her appointment with AICAD, Deborah operated a successful boutique arts management consulting firm, Obalil & Associates, for four years. The firm provided consultation and facilitation in strategic planning, marketing research and planning, and board development for non-profit arts organizations, independent artists of all disciplines, and creative for-profit ventures.

 Deborah previously served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities, an organization dedicated to the advancement of America’s creative vitality through supporting the field of artists’ communities. During her six-year tenure as Executive Director, the Alliance’s membership grew by more than 20%, the annual budget tripled, and new relationships developed with the Ford Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and the Joyce Foundation directed more than $2 million of re-granting funds through the Alliance, many focused on diversifying the artists with access to residencies. She also served on the board of directors of Res Artis, the international association for artist residency programs.

 Deborah is an experienced keynote speaker, presenter and workshop trainer. She is the Board Chair of College Visions, a college access and success organization supporting first generation, low-income students of color in Rhode Island. She serves on the Virtual Professional Development Committee of the Association of Collaborative Leadership, and is a consultant in the CatalystED group serving the Intermediaries for Scale initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aiming to eliminate race and class as predictors of college success.

Twitter - @obalilassoc @aicartdesign 

Instagram - @aicartanddesign

Lee Ann Scotto Adams

Executive Director

Association of Arts Administration Educators

Lee Ann Scotto Adams is the Executive Director of the Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE), an international membership organization representing 175 graduate and undergraduate arts administration programs. She has over fifteen years of experience working in nonprofit management and higher education in the arts. Adams holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (Illus. 03) and an M.S in Nonprofit Management with a focus in Organizational Communications from Northeastern University.

Prior to joining AAAE, Adams served as Assistant Director/Programs & Operations at the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) – a membership organization of the 42 leading colleges of art and design.

She has also worked as an Admissions Officer at RISD, as an Administrator in the Fine American Paintings Department at Christie’s Auction House in NYC, and as Assistant to the Director at the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, RI. She served as Treasurer of the Rhode Island Art Education Association (RIAEA) Board, and continues to work privately counseling students with the art school admissions process. Adams also maintains a creative practice as a fine arts painter, and she believes deeply in the value of an arts education.
IG: @leeannscottoadams

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Protecting the Arts in Higher Education | Training Session
Protecting the Arts in Higher Education | Training Session CAPTIONED
National Arts Action Summit Workshop Survey