New professional master's degree helps the best and the brightest build the skills necessary to be leaders in the arts
The brainchild of Sherry Wagner-Henry (director of graduate programs in the College of Continuing Education), the Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership (ACL) degree is a unique opportunity for working professionals in the Twin Cities to learn, exchange, and develop working solutions that can be applied immediately in the community, through the arts and culture sector.
The program grew out of the College's interdisciplinary Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) degree in response to the demand for more professional master's degree programs, as well as the need for a degree specifically designed for those wanting to lead and manage in arts-related industries (the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs offers a general nonprofit management certificate program, but not one that deals specifically with the arts).
"The Twin Cities is a cultural mecca. We're in an area of the country that prides itself on its strong, supportive arts community, yet we didn't have any type of program that could educate people to become leaders and managers to benefit that community," says Wagner-Henry.
She continues, "Through feasibility study research, I discovered that many of our emerging leaders were headed off to other parts of the country to get graduate-level training. If you're lucky, they come back. But often, they left for good, making a home and an impact in their new community. It makes sense for us to target these people for our graduate program--otherwise we're losing some top talent that could be making their creative community impact here."