The administration behind the art

The dean of arts Internship provides student Kaye Klapman with skills not covered in the classroom

On the top floor of Centennial Hall, you can find the office of the current dean of arts, Dr. Elizabeth Wells. It is rare to see students coming and going as this building is the home of many administration offices. However, one student you are likely to run into is Kaye Klapman, the dean of arts intern for the 2018 semester.

The dean of arts internship is a position that was developed by Branden Olson, a student of Wells, in 2017. Olsen came up with the idea of being an assistant to the dean of arts through an unpaid internship. Wells decided to continue this internship annually and plans to keep it active throughout her time as the dean of arts. She was even able to secure funding – last year through the Campbell-Verduyn Fund and this year through the dean of arts reserve funds – to transition the internship into a paid job opportunity.

By facilitating and guiding the START project for the dean of arts, Klapman has learned a great deal about academic administration and being a leader. Kaye Klapman/Submitted

On top of being the dean of arts intern this year, Klapman is in the process of finishing up her concurrent bachelor of music and bachelor of arts degrees in voice and psychology respectively.

“The internship is basically learning the administrative properties of being part of a university setting,” Klapman said. A lot of her responsibilities involve answering emails and communicating with peer tutors for the START project. Klapman plays a big role in facilitating this project, which teaches peer leadership and project management skills to incoming arts students. Essentially, upper-year students are trained to teach the information to first years and are doing so on a weekly basis.

Klapman also has a responsibility as chair of the dean of arts council. This group is made up of the student representatives from all arts departments. They meet every two weeks to discuss various issues within the departments and to work on solutions to common problems. They also focus on ways to encourage the student body to attend inter-departmental events.

Klapman feels as though she can take away a lot of applicable knowledge from this internship. Through championing her own projects as well as assisting Wells with the administrative aspects of running an arts department, she is learning many useful things that will be beneficial. “As an artist and as a musician, administration is not a skill that you are taught and it’s so essential to being a functional human being,” she said.

Klapman is looking forward to applying her learnings from this internship in her future endeavours as a grad student. She is currently working on applications to grad school in order to pursue a masters in psychology. She is especially interested in the neuroscience behind music therapy and how music affects the brain, specifically in people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Klapman explained how this internship, which connects her two interests, gave her the tools to thrive in whichever career she chooses. “It’s a great opportunity for me to explore the behind-the-scenes work that goes into things like planning events or organizing committees,” she said. “The fact that I now know how to promote my own interests and communicate with other people is really valuable.”

Wells has also taught Klapman a lot about how to manage multiple projects at once. “There is a lot going on in this job and Dr. Wells has been very clear about what she wants and when she wants it, which has encouraged me to create an overarching schedule,” said Klapman.

“I think it’s important that students learn through all kinds of aspects of internship,” said Wells, who looks forward to continuing the internship in the coming years. “We can be teaching people within the University about how a university is run. And why not do that if it’s something we can do?”

The arts department extends a search every year for a new intern who has good organization and communication skills as well as an interest in administrative work. Those who think this might be up their alley should keep an eye out for this opportunity.

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