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Jay Pension, wearing a green shirt, smiling with a tree in the background

Jay Pension to Join Departments of Entrepreneurship & Leadership and Theatre & Drama

Apr 21, 2023 | Faculty, Faculty Announcements

The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance announces that Jay Pension will join the faculty as assistant professor in fall 2023, with a dual appointment in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Leadership and the Department of Theatre and Drama. He will supervise the Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship (PAME) minor.

“I’m honored to join the SMTD community this fall,” shared Pension. “I am particularly drawn to SMTD’s commitment to arts leadership and entrepreneurship as a core offering. Few universities have made such a commitment to student success in the arts.”

Over the past 15 years Pension has worked as a producer on over 100 theatre productions in Boston and New York City. His producing work includes both for-profit projects and nonprofit arts leadership. He is currently the producer for Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston.

“Jay’s trajectory includes theatre-making from multiple vantage points: as producer, performer, scholar, and manager,” remarked Tiffany Trent, chair and associate professor of the Department of Theatre & Drama. “Given his diverse toolkit, Theatre and Drama envisions Jay meeting any and all of our students where they are, and then affirming for them the many paths possible. Jay presents an excellent model of connectivity and engagement.” 

Pension previously taught courses in arts administration and theatre at Florida State University. He is the co-author of How to Market the Arts, published by Oxford University Press, a book that presents a new paradigm for arts marketing focused on engagement. He is the co-editor of the edited volume Business Issues in the Arts, published by Routledge. 

“Jay’s outstanding profile as a researcher and pedagogue, coupled with a deep background as a theatre producer both in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors, is an ideal fit for this role supervising the Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship minor,” commented Jonathan Kuuskoski, chair and assistant professor, Department of Entrepreneurship and Leadership, and director of the EXCEL Lab. “We are enthusiastic about Jay’s potential to develop dynamic research projects, mentor arts management-oriented students in all disciplines, and hone and expand our curricular offerings. We can’t wait to welcome him to our faculty.”

Pension shared his enthusiasm for this aspect of the work as well. “I look forward to reenvisioning the PAME program in collaboration with department faculty, staff, and students to further position it as the national model for arts leadership education.”

Pension holds a BFA in theatre from Salem State University and an MFA in theatre management from Florida State University, and he is completing a PhD in arts administration at Florida State University.

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