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Arts Administration Students called to serve in student government and advocacy 

Master of Arts Administration students and Ohio University College of Fine Arts alumni Devin Sudman, BA ’18 (Music) and Edward “E.B.” Smith, BFA ’20 (Acting), feel a call to serve in the civic arena while pursuing their passion for the arts. 

Both Smith and Sudman are students in the inaugural cohort of the College of Fine Arts’ Master of Arts Administration degree program (MAA) a program that harnesses the interdisciplinary and creative power of the College of Fine Arts with an innovative curricular approach that merges arts administration knowledge with training in discipline-specific arts management, according to the program’s website. 

Both Sudman and Smith serve on the OHIO Graduate Student Senate (GSS), with Sudman as senator for the College of Fine Arts and Smith as department representative to the GSS from the MAA program. 

Assistant Professor of Dance and Head of the Masters of Arts Administration program Christi Camper Moore, PHD, says the experience and the leadership skills gained through serving on GSS aligns with the goals of the MAA program. 

"The field of arts administration prioritizes experience,” Camper Moore says. “The Graduate Student Senate represents graduate students at OHIO and serves as a resource to field questions, concerns, and advocate for change. To have two students from the Master of Arts Administration degree program serve as the College’s senator and the program representative, respectively, highlights a commitment to engagement and leadership that is highly valued in the field." 

The College of Fine Arts recently sat down with both Sudman and Smith for a Q&A about their experiences serving in the GSS. Those Q&As follow. 

David Sudman

Devin Sudman

Why were you interested in serving as the senator for the College of Fine Arts in the GSS? 

I have always been interested in 'politics' and I have always been comfortable advocating and speaking on behalf of my peers. As a true Bobcat and active member of the Athens community, I felt that I was knowledgeable enough to serve in this role and am lucky to be doing so. 

What do you hope to gain? 

Besides expanding my knowledge about the political system and how it works, I am mainly hoping to not only expand the College’s representation and recognition on campus, but I want to communicate all the incredible opportunities Ohio University has to offer outside of the College to our graduate students and professionals. I am also serving on the Diversity & 

Inclusion committee within the University and hope to broaden its mission to "enhance the environment of diversity, inclusion, and equity across the University.” 

How might this inform your work as a future arts administrator? 

I think serving as the College’s senator is going to be incredibly insightful to me as an arts administrator. Specifically, seeing how policy and legislation work at all levels of government but also in higher education. I am also very interested in observing the parallels between how GSS operates and how boards operate within arts organizations, especially when it comes to committees and how they function. 

Anything else you want to say about it? 

In true Ohio University spirit, I want to encourage everyone to get involved. As the senator for all members of the College of Fine Arts, I look forward to getting to know and interacting with all of the incredible artists within Ohio University. I think it is extremely important that we as creatives continue to collaborate and share our art with each other and our community during these times, and I look forward to GSS assisting with those endeavors in whatever way possible. 

E. B. Smith

E.B. Smith 

Why were you interested in serving in the capacity of department representative to the GSS from the MAA program? 

I believe that representation is important and am comfortable advocating for the interests of my peers. Plus, I wanted a more holistic picture of how student government at OHIO functions and what impact the perspective of the graduate student body has on policy. 

What do you hope to gain? 

I hope that we can expand the type of support and opportunity available to graduate students across the University and provide a more exciting and empowering environment, particularly for students in the arts. 

How might this inform your work as a future arts administrator? 

As it relates to the MAA program, the work of the GSS in some ways reflects the interaction between arts interests and local/state/federal system of legislation. There are issues (work grants, stipends, and health insurance among them) that relate to official policy that directly relate to how we as MAA candidates survive and thrive through our time here at the University. 

Anything else you want to say about it? 

So far, I am learning and listening. I serve on the Governance Committee and have been approached about serving as well on a newly-forming ED&I Committee. I will certainly have more to say and write about it as I understand better exactly what opportunities exist to create a positive and lasting impact on our nascent program.