SNAAP DataBrief
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Vol. 2 No. 4
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.
Spotlight on Study Abroad
This issue of the SNAAP DataBrief draws upon data from 65,837 arts alumni from 120 institutions (109 postsecondary institutions and 11 arts high schools) in the United States.

In an increasingly globalized society, college students everywhere are being encouraged to think of themselves as global citizens. One way they can gain cultural competency and a broader understanding of the world is to study abroad. Our findings show that now more than ever students in the arts are taking advantage of this opportunity. One out of every four SNAAP respondents who graduated between 2008 and 2012 reported having studied abroad—almost double the percentage among students 15 years ago.
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Arts Students Studying Abroad: Differences Across Majors
• In general, music majors are less likely to study abroad than are their colleagues in theater, writing, and the visual arts.
• Less than one in ten arts education alumni reported having studied abroad while almost one third of art history, architecture, and creative writing alumni reported having done so.

The likelihood of an arts student having studied abroad depends heavily on that student’s major. The table below shows the percentage of study abroad among undergraduate alumni by major.

These results are likely due to the level of curricular flexibility in each major. Arts education programs tend to allow little curricular deviation, while writing and art history programs, like liberal arts programs, tend to be more flexible.

Other differences among students who study abroad include those of undergraduate women vs. men (18% to 12%) and non-first-generation students vs. first-generation students (16% to 10%), differences similar among those groups for other student engagement activities.
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Study Abroad: Growing Participation

• Arts majors’ participation in study abroad has been steadily growing over the past 30 years.
• While only 7% of arts alumni who graduated in 1982 and before reported studying abroad, that percentage is now up to 25% among 2008-to-2012 graduates.

Consistent with students in other disciplines, arts students have increasingly been pursuing study abroad opportunities. The graph below shows the trend among SNAAP respondents over the past 30 years.

This upward trend is likely to continue with news of recent initiatives such as the Institute for International Education's Generation Study Abroad.

SNAAP undergraduate respondents who participated in study abroad rated their overall institutional experience higher than those who did not. This suggests that study abroad, like other high-impact educational practices, contributes to heightened learning experiences and more favorable impressions of the educational institution.

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New SNAAP Research
“Who Is an Artist?” SNAAP researchers Jennifer C. Lena and Danielle J. Lindemann posed this complex question in a recent article in Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media, and the Arts. Their findings spurred a number of thoughtful responses, including these:

“Sure, I Do Creative Work but I’m No Artist” Pacific Standard: The Science of Society

“What Makes an Artist an Artist?” Hyperallergic: Sensititve to Art & Its Discontents

Additionally, the Poetics article is featured in the current issue of The Digest, published by The University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center.
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SNAAP’s 2014 Assessment and Planning Project
The first phase of SNAAP’s 2014 assessment and planning project is nearly complete—a series of focus groups and individual interviews with institutional leaders, facilitated by consultant Surale Phillips. We are excited about the information we have received, and we thank the many participants for contributing their time and analysis.

The second phase, an online survey informed by the findings from the focus groups and interviews, is coming soon and will be open to all. To participate in the survey, please contact Sally Gaskill, SNAAP Director, at
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