Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

Fall 2020

Publication Title

American Journal of Arts Management


Organizational Communication


Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business


This article explores the unique challenges and opportunities experienced while teaching an Introduction to Arts Administration class with undergraduate students who are largely unfamiliar with the arts. After a review of current academic literature on the topic of student engagement and retention, the conversation will turn to specific strategies and methods utilized by one adjunct professor at a Research One university. These strategies are informed by Lev Vygotsky’s theory on the Zone of Proximal Development and the idea of student constructed scaffolding. Making arts administration relevant to this group of students requires considerable attention to learning their individual experiences and how those experiences can be utilized to make new lessons in arts administration relevant, important, and worthy of their mental attention. Within this theory, teaching does not wait for student development but, instead, advances it. Teachers must know learners well, to enable the provision of appropriate and sufficient guidance, and then slowly remove that guidance as the learner successfully learns and then executes the lesson alone. Vygotky’s theory stated that students must necessarily take an active and creative role in their own learning. When they are encouraged and enabled to do that, they are able to reconstruct new knowledge in ways that they understand, thereby increasing their understanding into new areas and new applications (Vygotsky, 1981).


This is a peer-reviewed article published by American Journal of Arts Management (



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