Summary of Biography
Dr. Kurt T. Steinberg is currently the President of the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts. He is currently engaged in the development of a capital campaign, diversification of enrollment strategies, and the exploration of international opportunities. The college was founded in 1970 by a group of artists seeking to increase access to art and design education. The students are 75% design and media arts concentration with 25% in the fine arts.
Kurt T. Steinberg, as Executive Vice President, he oversaw the Division of Administration and Finance at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design for the last twelve years. In 2015, he served MassArt as the Acting President. Before MassArt, Kurt was Associate Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Policy at the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education overseeing development and implementation of the system budget and capital plan in partnership with the State Universities and Community Colleges. Prior to the Board of Higher Education, Kurt worked as an Analyst at Andersen Consulting specializing in Government and Business Process Design.
He has presented at numerous conferences and has appeared as a guest lecturer at Suffolk University. He has been and continues to be a visiting accreditor for NEASC (Regional Accreditor), NASAD (Art and Design Accreditor), NASM (Music Accreditor) and NASD (Dance Accreditor).
He has been the Chair of the Town of Framingham, MA Finance Committee.
He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce.
He has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. He is currently working on his dissertation in Organizational Leadership (EdD) at Northeastern University with an estimated completion date of Spring 2018.
A review of my background demonstrates that I have engaged in a professional trajectory that has led to the opportunity to be considered for a board position. Each professional step has allowed me to gain political acumen, administrative and operational skills as well as academic knowledge and experience. In addition to my experience in the public sector, I have had teaching and professional experience in private higher education and private sector experience in business process design. My broad experience in different sectors as well as exposure to different modes of operations allow me to think creatively and act boldly. This is especially important as education as a sector is seeing enormous change and evolution. The sector is being asked to do more and to be more relevant as a career path maker.
Supporting Strategic Plan Objectives
As Executive Vice President/COO, President Emerita Sloan asked me to help lead the physical manifestation of her vision of a high achieving institution dedicated to graduating highly valued and skilled students in art and design. Over the years, I have worked with the entire campus, federal and state legislative and executive branch leaders, local leaders, members of the Colleges of the Fenway, business leaders, alumni and donors to implement our campus master plan. This master plan contained 4 major projects that were meant to facilitate President Emerita Sloan’s vision. As of the writing of this letter, the college has successfully brought four of the four projects to or near completion. The fourth project (Galleries modernization) is currently in the design phase with almost half of the project costs successfully fundraised. All of this has been done while the college boasts its strongest financial and academic position since its founding over 140 years ago. All of this has been accomplished in partnership with faculty, staff and students.
Supporting Innovation and Artistic Expression
During my time as Acting President, I established President Challenge Grants. These were competitive $2000 grants that allowed students, staff and faculty to pursue an idea that they had and in some cases to explore them at the very beginning of development. Each group had its own criteria and awarding committee. They were chosen and allowed to develop an innovative idea or curiosity over the course of one academic year. They were then asked to come back and let us know what happened and what their journey had produced. Some examples were a film treatment for a documentary that looked at the fears and dreams of low income single mothers in Boston for their children, a mixed media/performance installation that engaged participants in a series of situations that explored diversity and social justice, and the prototype for a mobile application that allowed MassArt community members to connect more easily with the specific people on campus that could answer a question or collaborate on a project. There were many more but these are a representative example of the diversity of the work and the subject matter. It was important to me that the projects come from all three groups on campus and that they covered applied arts and fine arts disciplines. I wanted to show that the college could support innovative ideas in the arts inside and outside the classroom. It is my dream to move this program to the alumni level and sponsor an innovation center that could incubate the best ideas and live up to the ideal that the college supports its community during their time at the institution as well as after they leave.
Working with Faculty
When I started at MassArt 10 years ago, I knew that I needed to work on trust with the faculty. I started by visiting every department in partnership with the Provost to hear from the Chair and the faculty in that department about their budgets and the challenges they were experiencing. During these visits, I was able to listen and learn about the different disciplines in applied arts and fine arts. We discussed the hopes for the curriculum and I was able to start to understand what each discipline’s objectives were for their students and the curriculum needs. I always want to know a great deal about the disciplines so I can be an effective advocate for budget and policy. One of my enduring goals and objectives as a college community leader is to understand what is happening on campus and to help facilitate the collective vision of the community. That can only happen by being engaged with the community constantly as both an advocate and as a student (listening and learning).
A further example would be how the Design and Media Center was developed. This project started as a discussion amongst the design and media faculty about how the disciplines in these two areas wanted to evolve their teaching and learning experience. It was decided that new space needed to be developed in order to support these new curricular ideas. The spaces needed to be flexible and able to support interdisciplinary learning. It took almost 10 years for this project to culminate last year with the opening of the new building. I was the constant in the conversation as we went through three Presidents and three Provosts during the development and execution of the new building and the new curriculum.
My role became the chief advocate of the project among our own community as well as the state legislature and agencies. It was also my role to keep donors, businesses and community groups informed about the progress of the new building. Listening to students and faculty was job number one during the entire project. By making this a priority, I was able to navigate the project to a place where the program needs gave birth to spaces that promoted the new teaching and learning model. Collaboration or interdisciplinary learning is promoted by having three different size learning spaces, two large studios, and discipline specific specialty spaces. The building does not belong to one discipline but is a college-wide learning space. I helped facilitate this by listening, learning, and rallying the community around a common understanding and vision that tied physical space to an academic vision. It is a student centered learning space now that we can tie directly to creative economy and career development support.
These experiences coupled with my experience in fundraising, public construction, and strategic planning make me a valuable member of any board or advisory group. I would look forward to being able to share how these experiences shared here and other experiences not mentioned can help move your ideas and business forward.