Saturday, May 23, 2020

Graduation Amidst a Pandemic

     At the beginning of the Spring 2020 semester, my final semester at Baruch, I became the President of our student organisation: the Weissman Graduate Arts Administration Network (GAAN). By March, the world was in a whirlwind of pandemic problems. For students, that meant completing courses online and those who are graduating this June are preparing to do so virtually. To sum up my experience being the President of GAAN during this uncertain time, I decided to post the farewell message I wrote for our newsletter, here. 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones well. As we near the end of the Spring 2020 Semester, I am writing my last email newsletter as the President of GAAN. I am preparing to graduate from the program and leave this group in the hands of my trusty Executive Board colleagues: Mitchell-Lee Van Rooij (VP), Sarah Kearns (Treasurer), and Kym Boyce (Secretary). 
As you may know, at the beginning of this semester, GAAN held one General Interest Meeting and we were working diligently on planning exciting events for us to participate in together. Specifically, we were planning a Professional Development Exchange special event Self-care for Artists and Arts Administrators; GAAN Explorers special event Audience Engagement at MoMA; and of course an end of semester/graduation party. No one could have predicted that a pandemic would hit and that our campus would be closed. 
Obviously, the closure put a damper on our plans for Spring 2020, however, we didn’t let it stop us. We have continued to plan for the future of GAAN being a voice, resource and network for students in the Arts Administration program. In the meantime, we have been sharing important information on our GAAN social media pages and participating in Zoom meetings to touch base with our classmates. We submitted our budget proposals which were approved for the next academic year, and in 20/21 we expect the aforementioned events to take place, and even more happenings to enhance the Arts Administration student experience as GAAN grows. 
We have decided to postpone our GAAN Executive Board Elections until next semester when things should be easier to coordinate in transitioning a new team on board. I would like to urge those of you who are interested in student leadership to consider running for a position to be on the GAAN E-Board. 
Speaking from experience, first being VP in Fall 2019 and then President in Spring 2020, participating in GAAN was one of the best things that came out of my time at Baruch. At times it was challenging and required a lot of work. But in the end, I was able to contribute to building a group that I believe has and will have value for our community of students and cultural leaders. I was able to gain leadership, administrative, and group-building skills in a hands-on way that I could not have learned in a classroom. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to work and create relationships with some extraordinary people. Luckily, some of the students who’ve come before me have been active in creating a new Baruch Alumni in the Arts Network (AITA) which I plan on becoming involved with.
During this transitional time, I hope to create a strong link between GAAN and AITA that continues on into the future. As I said in the very first GAAN Professional Development Exchange, “We are our own best resource,” and I believe that wholeheartedly. 
Moving forward, in spite of the challenges we face, my student cohort and I will be graduating this semester and it’s a great accomplishment. Our commencement ceremony will not be held at Barclays as planned, but instead on Zoom. Our Weissman Arts Administration MA Hooding Ceremony will be postponed until a time when we can all come together for a formal in-person ceremony. I’ll be looking forward to that very much.
In the meantime, I’m happy to announce that I have been working along with some of my GAAN friends and the chapter co-founders of Young Professionals in the Arts (YPA) on an exciting project. We will be presenting for the AAAE Conference on Wednesday June 10th, with an online program called From Arts Admin Programs into the Real World: How to Set Up Students for Success. There are lots of interesting programs scheduled throughout the conference with tickets available for low or no cost. I will post all of the details below - we hope you will attend.
Even though this topsy-turvy semester is coming to a close, it’s not over yet -  we still have a few more things to do. See info and links below.
Thank you for everything. Keep in touch!
Lorie Caval

GAAN President, Spring 2020

Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE) -
As the field of arts administration continues to grow and evolve, what skills do students of arts management need to succeed on campus and once they join the workforce? How do we adequately prepare the next generation of arts managers for their professional work via pedagogical approaches and other forms of support?
The in-person conference (originally scheduled for May 28-30 at Baruch College, NYC) has been cancelled, but the 2020 conference will proceed virtually as a series of online sessions to be held every week day in May and June.
Graduate Arts Administration Network (GAAN) and Young Professionals in the Arts (YPA) will be presenting during this 2020 online edition with a program called, From Arts Admin Programs into The Real World: How to Set Up Students for Success.

Please check out this link for more info:
A note from. AAAE: We welcome all to participate in the AAE Conference, regardless of ability to pay. However, we would appreciate support for the financial shortfall its cancellation has caused the organization.

For those who have or are graduating from the program, check out Baruch Alumni in the Arts (AITA)

The AITA leadership team (Anastasia Gudko+ Jessica Epstein + Cathy Price), together with fellow Art Administrators have developed a plan and vision for the future of our community. Stay tuned for updates! 

If you are interested in joining an Event Planning Committee or the Leadership of AITA, please send an email to

Facebook group -
LinkedIn -

Something for all 2020 graduates 🎓
*May 15 - Pres Obama High School Commencement Address
*May 15 - Pres Obama HSBU Collegiate Commencement Address
*May 16 - Oprah Commencement Address
*June 6 - Barack and Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga Collegiate Commencement Addresses.

Baruch Commencement 2020

Baruch College is working out the details to host a Virtual Commencement experience on Monday, June 8. Creative students, faculty, and staff are working together to ensure that the virtual celebration is special and memorable for all graduates and their families and friends around the world.

For more information go to the Student Life Website:
Each term, Baruch College goes through an evaluation process for our instructors and courses with the goal of making them better. We can't accomplish this without your comments and suggestions. This information will provide us with concrete steps we can take to improve our classes.
*Help make classes better for everyone
*The survey takes just a few minutes of your time
*Your contributions will be anonymous
*See evaluation results about 6-to-8 weeks after the semester ends
If you have not received your personalized link, goto:

Lorie Caval, President - Mitchell-lee van Rooij, Vice President - Kimberly Boyce-Lazare, Secretary - Sarah Kearns, Treasurer.

Weissman School of Arts and Science Graduate Arts Admin Network (GAAN), Executive Board Members Spring 2020.

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