Most students have an idea about where they see themselves professionally. In Performing Arts Administration, there are many paths to take - working as a company manager on Broadway, writing grants for an organization, or curating programs. In many cases, these initial paths often lead to new opportunities.
We spoke with two experienced PAA alums who followed their respective paths, which eventually led to teaching arts administration at the university level. Professor Marshall Jones ('88) and Professor Sun-Min Park ('04) worked in various performing arts administration roles, but found their true passion was for teaching. We spoke with them to learn more about how PAA students and alumni, who are interested in teaching, could become arts administration educators.*
Balancing your Creative Practice and Career with Professor Marshall Jones: Graduate Class 1988
Marshall Jones didn’t intend to become a professor. However, after meeting a former colleague at the BB Kings Blues Bar on West 40th Street, he was offered a teaching position at Rutgers University at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Professor Jones accepted and began his career in higher education as a part-time lecturer in the Department of Theatre. He eventually became head of the Bachelor of Arts program and now serves as the Associate Dean for Equity.
Before entering higher education, Professor Jones served as the director of the Apollo Theater, Company Manager at Madison Square Garden, Company Manager of The Lion King, and worked at New York Symphony Hall. When he is not teaching at Rutgers, Professor Jones is a creative consultant who develops, produces, and directs plays.
What is your teaching style?
“I like to bring actual reality into the classroom and, for most of my teaching, I also had outside work. You learn more this way -- rather than just reading a textbook or writing things on a blackboard. So what I try to do is bring what I call ‘living case studies’ into the classroom.”
What advice would you give your students or students who are thinking about a career in higher education?
“In my advising, I encourage students to find a creative outlet. For most of us that's the gateway in (to performing arts administration). For example, you start by playing the violin or acting, but don’t end up working professionally. You still want to be around the work (whatever it is), but just because you're not a creative professional in that art form doesn't mean you stop being creative. It’s extremely important to balance working administratively while continuing to be creative in the artform that brought you to the work in the first place.”
What brings you the most joy in your position?
“That’s easy, seeing my former students working in the field. Being here 20 years, I’ve also taught children of my former classmates. Seeing them out in the world has been very rewarding and gratifying.”
Lasting impact from Performing Arts Administration at NYU?
- The friendships
- Having lasting professional relationships in the field.
Professor Jones has served as the board president of the New Jersey Theater Alliance since 2018. He connected with the Alliance through his former classmate Executive Director John McEwen.
Finding the Joy of Teaching with Professor Sun-Min Park Class of 2004
Sun-Min Park discovered her love of teaching when she realized she wanted future generations of arts administrators to learn what she discovered while working in the field. As a student at NYU, Professor Park completed internships with The Lion King and the New York Philharmonic.
Professor Park has taught at Korea National University, Sungkyunkwan University, and Hanyang University. She teaches Performing Arts Administration and business courses and has taught audience development to performing arts administration and business students. Professor Park has published several articles in the Society of Korean Culture and Convergence, and writes monthly for the Auditorium and The Yakup. Currently she is a visiting fellow at the National University of Singapore.
What motivated you to eventually work in higher education as a professor?
“After working in the field for many years, I thought it would be nice if I could share my knowledge with young people. I thought it would be useful for them to hear about my experiences. Working with professional artists is fun, but sharing my experience with the younger generation of arts administrators is also very valuable.”
Is there a course in the PAA program that inspired your career?
“Environment of PAA, taught by former director Bran J. Wry, really shaped my view of the field. It was also really helpful to have guest speakers share their experiences with us. In addition, taking courses at the Stern School of Business served as a foundation for becoming a teacher. I also learned a lot from Tim McClimon’s Law and the performing arts class. It was fun and interesting and his teaching style is clear and easy to understand.”
Were there specific moments throughout your career path that made you feel like you needed to pursue another degree like an MBA and eventually a Phd?
“I consulted New York Philharmonic senior staff members and they said business skills were important to have, especially when paired with a Performing Arts Administration degree. So I enrolled in the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and received my M.B.A. with a concentration in General Management and Chinese Business.”
What do you enjoy most about your work?
“Seeing former students get jobs in the field, including jobs abroad -- that is very rewarding to me.”
Do you have any advice or insight for someday who might want to pursue a similar path as you in higher education?
“I think you need to enjoy the things you do the most. You need to have passion and patience to work in higher education, but it is worth it.”
*(For the purpose of this article, some statements from the original interviews have been edited for length and clarification)
The Performing Arts Administration program has alumni teaching around the world. Our alumni have taken what they learned at NYU and combined it with a passion for teaching to help them train the next generation of arts administrators!
Take a look at the listing below to see where our alumni are teaching.
Professor Patricia Jordan Rutan -- Class of 2007
San Joaquin Delta College, San Joaquin, California
Professor Jane Chang -- Class of 1994
Chair, Executive Masters in Arts Administration,
Professor of Arts Administration,
Tainan National University of the Arts, Tainan, Taiwan
Professor Jeehye Suh -- Class of 2000
Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul, South Korea
Professor Jane Whitty -- Class of 2013
Adjunct Professor, Performing Arts Administration program,
New York University, New York, New York
Tae Kyoung Lee -- Class of 2010
Adjunct Professor, Division of International Studies,
Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea
Dr. Ya-Ning Hsu -- Class of 1995
Adjunct Assistant Professor,
Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York
Cecelia Fitzgibbon -- Class of 1982
Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
Emeritus Professor and Director, Arts Administration Graduate Program,
Former Department Chair of Theater, Dance, Entertainment and Arts Management,
Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and
President (retired), Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA