Strategic National Arts Alumni Project

May 8, 2018

Dear Colleague,

I am writing with some important and exciting news about the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). Throughout 2017, SNAAP engaged in a strategic planning process with support from Surdna Foundation. This critical work led to several major decisions by SNAAP’s board and our director Sally Gaskill.

Let me begin by acknowledging and thanking our colleague and good friend Sally Gaskill for the dedication, creativity, and persistence that has characterized the entirety of her ten years with SNAAP. It's no exaggeration to say that SNAAP would not be the gold standard of higher education alumni surveys and a ubiquitous resource for arts educators had it not been for her steady, determined leadership. The Board of Directors wishes Sally the very best as she retires from SNAAP into future endeavors.

The planning work confirmed several key assumptions. (a) SNAAP should offer the arts alumni survey once every three to five years, rather than annually, because institutional data do not change much from year to year, and (b) while many institutions value their confidential alumni data and use it to inform decision-making about programs and curriculum, others value the national, aggregate data that SNAAP has always provided to the public.

Since its beginnings in 2008, SNAAP has been an entity of Indiana University (IU) and advised by a distinguished National Advisory Board. Over the years, the board has taken on oversight for SNAAP's policy and planning. Indiana University has continued to support SNAAP’s mission of collecting and analyzing data about the educational experiences and career paths of arts graduates nationally.

In January 2018, the long-time advisory board committed to becoming a fiduciary board. The new SNAAP has been incorporated in the State of Texas, and we have filed for tax-exempt status from the federal government.

Our new business model is based on the notion that the SNAAP survey will be offered once every 3 to 5 years. In the interim years, we plan to continue our national research efforts that benefit the field. We are talking with several national organizations in higher education to pursue partnership that make sense.

For those of you who have participated in the SNAAP surveys over the last few years, and especially in 2017, rest assured that we will continue to offer staff expertise on accessing and using your data.

SNAAP is critically important to the continued growth and development of our field – the arts in higher education. The new board pledges to you that we will continue to move the organization forward. Please send me any questions you might have about SNAAP’s next phase.


Douglas Dempster
Chair, SNAAP Board of Directors
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX

Members of the Board of Directors:

Antonia Contro
Chicago, IL

Aaron Flagg
The Juilliard School
New York, NY

Donna Heiland
Pratt Institute
Brooklyn, NY

Samuel Hoi
Baltimore, MD

Laurence D. Kaptain
University of Colorado Denver
Denver, CO

Barbara O. Korner
Pennsylvania State University
College Station, PA

Ann R. Markusen
University of Minnesota
Wright, MN

Steven J. Tepper
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

Raymond Tymas-Jones
Cornish College
Seattle, WA

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