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Vol. 1 No. 6
Strategic National Arts Alumni Project
DataBrief provides arts educators and arts policy makers
with highlights of SNAAP data and insights
into the value of arts-school education.
Contact us for more information.

SNAAP provides usable data that can enhance donor giving, strengthen internal funding proposals, target student recruitment, drive up retention, and fine-tune programs and curricula. Provosts, philanthropists, alumni, and parents of prospective students can be moved to action through employment of the SNAAP data.

This brief draws upon data from the more than 36,000 arts alumni from 66 institutions (8 arts high schools and 58 postsecondary institutions) in the United States and Canada who responded to the SNAAP survey in 2011. All comparisons by discipline exclude double majors.

• Arts Training: Who's Satisfied?
• Benefits Beyond the Classroom
• SNAAP Quote of the Month
• SNAAP 2013: How you Benefit by Registering

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Arts Training: Who's Satisfied?
Percentage of all arts alumni who indicate that their institution helped them “some” or “very much” to develop financial and business management skills: 22%
…Percentage of Arts Administration majors who say this: 83%
…Percentage of Theatre majors who say this: 24%
…Percentage of Art History majors who say this: 16%

Individuals who filled out the SNAAP survey in 2011 were asked about a variety of facets of their arts education, including, but also extending beyond, their experiences in the classroom. The responses of arts alumni to these questions suggest that, as one would expect, arts training institutions are extremely effective at teaching artistic technique and encouraging creativity. Eighty-nine percent of SNAAP respondents say that their institution helped them “some” or “very much” (versus “not at all” or “very little”) to acquire or develop the ability to think critically and analyze arguments and information. Ninety-three percent of alumni indicate that their institutions helped them to acquire or develop (“some” or “very much”) the skill of creative thinking and problem solving, and 90% say that they acquired or developed artistic technique at their schools.

On the other hand, these graduates give their schools lower marks when it comes to training in the areas of finance and entrepreneurship. Only 22% of respondents indicate that their institutions helped them “some” or “very much” to acquire or develop financial and business management skills, and only 26% say the same about entrepreneurial skills. Interestingly, however, graduates from some disciplines are happier than others when it comes to their business training. For instance, 83% of Arts Administration majors indicate that their institution helped them “some” or “very much” to develop financial and business management skills, compared to 24% of Arts Education majors, 18% of Creative and Other Writing majors, and 14% of Music History, Composition, and Theory majors.

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Benefits Beyond the Classroom
Alumni from which arts major are most likely to have worked with an artist from the community while enrolled at their institution? (Dance)
least likely? (Architecture)

Just as individuals within certain majors are more likely to indicate that they acquired particular skills at their institutions, different majors also report varied experiences beyond the walls of their classrooms. For instance, relatively high percentages of Dance (59%), Theatre (53%), Arts Administration (47%), and Music History, Theory, and Composition (46%) majors say that they worked with an artist in the community while enrolled at their institutions. However, the same is true for only 19% of Art History majors and 17% of Architecture majors.

Furthermore, some majors are more likely than others to indicate they participated in community service while enrolled at their institutions. For example, 78% of Arts Education majors—but only 63% of Media Arts majors—say that they did this.

These results highlight the varying contours of arts students’ experiences while in school by suggesting meaningful differences in the extent to which students within different majors make extracurricular and co-curricular connections with their surrounding towns and cities—an important dimension of the artistic training process often overlooked by scholars.

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SNAAP Quote of the Month

“SNAAP data has been invaluable to VCU School of the Arts in assessing alumni satisfaction with curriculum, internships, and exhibition opportunities. The quantitative data provides formative feedback on strategic direction often complementing common sense beliefs about the campus with accurate quantitative realities. Remarkably, however, the data attunes us to our graduates through both quantitative and qualitative information. Narrative comments provide rich content to inform leadership about student experience. We saw stories of art school life from 1950-2010 – including formative shifts reflecting how VCU handled desegregation, the inclusion of women, and draft-dodgers who enrolled in art school during Vietnam. As leadership shapes new directions, these studies are an indisputable tool for engaging in significant detail with University leaders and the public about the specific value of a VCU arts education."

– Sarah B. Cunningham, Executive Director of Research, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, Richmond, VA

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SNAAP 2013: How You Benefit by Registering

The July 15 deadline to register for SNAAP 2013 is fast approaching. Register ASAP to secure your spot. Here’s a quick FAQ to answer some of your most pressing questions (we hope!):

Who is surveyed, and what kinds of questions are asked?
SNAAP defines “the arts” and “arts alumni” broadly, to include the following fields: performance, design, architecture, creative writing, film, media arts, illustration and fine art. Graduates of institutions that participate in SNAAP are invited to complete SNAAP’s online questionnaire. All members of every graduating class will be surveyed.

How is SNAAP administered?
SNAAP is a user-friendly Web-based survey specifically developed to reflect the nonlinear nature of arts training and careers.

What do participating institutions receive?
You will receive a customized and confidential Institutional Report as well as the raw data set of your alumni responses. Your Institutional Report includes separate reports for undergraduate and graduate (or high school) alumni, both quantitative and qualitative results, a new report on "Recent Graduates", and comparative data with other schools. In 2013, you will be able to compare your results with those of any of the institutions that participated in 2011, 2012, and 2013! Here's the list to date.

To what degree can my data be broken down?
In addition to receiving your full institutional report, you can also request additional reports that include comparisons for specific programs or departments. For example, if your College of Fine Arts is participating, but you want separate reports for your film, music, and theater departments, SNAAP can provide this for you for an additional $600 per report. For each additional report, we can create comparison groups that include alumni from other SNAAP institutions that have the same majors.

If my institution participated in 2011 or 2012, should we participate again in 2013?
A resounding yes! If you choose to participate again, we will combine your responses across survey administrations to provide you with a more powerful data set. We will not survey your graduates who have already responded to the 2011 and/or 2012 SNAAP questionnaire, so there will be no survey fatigue.

If my institution participated in a field test (2008, 2009 or 2010), why should we enroll again?
During the field tests, SNAAP surveyed only limited numbers of your graduates. Now, we survey all your alumni from all graduating classes, so that you have a robust number of respondents. In addition, the questionnaire has now been standardized and there are many institutions with which you can compare your results (see the list).

How can I use my SNAAP data?
Check out the brand new Value for Institutions page on the SNAAP Web site for examples of how institutions are using their SNAAP data.

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