The Community Arts Management Program


The 40th anniversary of SSU-UIS has snuck up on me.

I joined the faculty of SSU in May of 1973, some 37 years ago, so I wasn’t quite there at the beginning.  I was one of three faculty who were hired under one of the SSU “experiments,” hiring faculty members who had real-life experience but did not have the typical academic credentials. Paul Simon, later to become Senator Paul Simon, was another to be hired under the same experimental program.

My job was to create a masters degree program in arts administration and Paul was hired to create a program which was called “Public Affairs Reporting.”  My program was named “Community Arts Management,” and was aimed at preparing students to work with multi-arts non-profit organizations such as community and state arts councils.

The CAM program functioned from 1973 into the early 2000’s at which time it was dropped from the curriculum.  Graduates of the program fill responsible positions in the arts nation-wide, and one of the first two graduates, Robert Vaughn, is currently director of the auditorium at UIS.  The second of our first two graduates, Angus Randolph,is director of the art museum in Springfield, Ohio.

During my three years with the program we brought in speakers from all over the country, courtesy of a grant from the Donner Foundation, and produced a series of video-tapes of those speakers, a unique collection which resides in the UIS library.

Another star graduate of the CAM program is Michael Dunbar who has been director of the Percent for Art program for the State of Illinois for over 25 years, and who has become a renowned sculptor.  And yet another star performer is Cheryl Alters Jamison who received an outstanding alumnae award from UIS last year.

While there were other arts adminisration programs at other universities, the CAM program at SSU-UIS was distinctive in its emphasis on preparation for work with multi-arts organizations.

There are over 160 graduates of the CAM program scattered from coast to coast doing SSU-UIS proud, and adding to the splendor of this 40th anniversary.

David Sennema, CAM Founding Director, 1973-76