Slate: Board of Directors

Each year, the National Council of Arts Administrators holds an election of officers (3) at the Annual General Meeting (held during the annual conference,) for a four year term on the Board of Directors. The membership elects officers from a slate of nominees, initially nominated by members and vetted by the Executive Committee in advance of the election to ensure a fair representation of the membership and skills.

Election to the Board comes with the expectation of significant participation in, and responsibility for the governance of the organization, including leadership on various sub-committees, representation at other professional organizations and attendance at conferences.

Meet the nominees, in alphabetical order:

2019/20 NCAA Nominees 

Audrey G. Bennett Bio

Audrey G. Bennett is a former Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Scholar of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, a former College Art Association Professional Development Fellow, and a recent NCAA Fellow. Currently, she is a tenured, full professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan where she teaches and conducts research in art and design. Formerly, Professor Bennett was a tenured full professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Communication and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She studies the user-centered design of multimodal and intersensory images for communication across cultures. Her research publications include: How Design Education Can Use Generative Play to Innovate for Social Change (International Journal of Design), Engendering Interaction with Images (Intellect/University of Chicago Press), The Rise of Research in Graphic Design (PAPress), Interactive Aesthetics (Design Issues), and Good Design is Good Social Change (Visible Language). She is the co-editor of the Icograda Design Education Manifesto 2011, and a member of the Editorial Boards of the journals Image and Text (South Africa) and New Design Ideas (Azerbaijan). Professor Bennett is a member of the College Art Association's Inaugural Committee on Design and the organization's Board of Directors where she also holds the position of Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. She holds an M.F.A. in graphic design from Yale University. 

Audrey G. Bennett Statement

My aim in joining the Board of Directors of the NCAA is to use my scholarly and administrative expertise in art and design to assist the organization in carrying out its mission—particularly in regard to providing a platform for the exchange of knowledge around cross-cultural interaction and civic engagement in academic art and design programs and administrative initiatives.  

Arnold Holland Bio

Arnold Holland joined the California State University Fullerton (CSUF) faculty in 1998 after receiving his MFA in Visual Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University, and his BFA in graphic design from Arizona State University. Professor Holland also received his Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from CSUF.

His research interests include semiotics; typography; best practices service learning; and theory to practice gaps in the visual arts. In his teachings, he is committed to connecting the campus with the surrounding community through partnerships that enhance student learning, address local needs, and encourage students to be active citizens. In addition to teaching in the College of the Arts, he is also the Office of Research and Development Faculty Fellow for Scholarly and Creative Activities.

Throughout the years Professor Holland has served on numerous departmental and university committees including Academic Senate, WASC, NIH BRAD, AEEC, NASAD, Department Personal Committee, and many university search committees. He collaboratively works with various departments and colleges on campus including education, communications, and natural sciences and mathematics, The Center for Internships & Community Engagement (CICE), and Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership (CREAL). Professor Holland has held memberships and leadership positions in the professional design organizations AIGA, OBD, CMA and UCDA.

Arnold Holland Statement

I would be honored to serve on the National Council of Arts Administrators Board of Directors and partner with this community of engaged administrators. In my time at CSUF, I have built a successful academic career in teaching, collaborating, fund-raising, grant-writing, consulting, mediating, mentoring, and serving within this diverse population. I have gained knowledge and capabilities that could be helpful to the mission of the NCAA.

Having been a longtime faculty member and now the Associate Dean for the College of the Arts has prepared me well for the challenges of shaping and implementing the vision and goals of this body. I never underestimate the responsibility of listening to the needs of constituents, including fellow admin, faculty, staff, and students.

Unlike most state systems, California has no single overseeing organization for its institutions. The CSU system, without adding the UC and community colleges, is the largest university system in the nation. These factors combined make goal-setting, oversight, and coordination among higher education systems more challenging. To that end, I have successfully built strong affiliations across the systems and strive to work effectively with colleagues to address solutions to the multitude of issues that confront universities at state, regional and national levels.

In closing I have an inclusive perspective in arts administration and believe I will be an effective representative and advocate of the NCAA board and its community of arts administrators. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Lauren Lake Bio

Professor Lauren Lake is currently the Chair of the Department of Studio Art at the University of North Texas. Prior to this appointment she was the Chair of the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and concurrently served as the Associate Director, Graduate Chair and Director of Graduate Studio Studies at the University of Florida School of Art and Art History.

Lake’s core values of safety, inspiration, and sustainability frames her administrative goals and leadership vision. Her artwork has been exhibited internationally in numerous exhibitions. She received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Art Education from the University of Florida.

Further professional development includes the HERS Leadership Program at Bryn Mawr College and currently she is enrolled in Cornell’s Diversity and Inclusion certificate program. Lake was the recipient of a 2014 Fellowship from both the National Council for Arts Administrators and the International Council for Fine Art Deans and received the 2007 Southeastern College Art Conference Excellence in Teaching Award. 

Lauren Lake Statement

It is an honor to have been nominated to serve on the NCAA Board. Working and learning with passionate leaders through this organization is something for which I am grateful. Each year I leave the conference with a renewed sense of confidence, comradery, and agency. As a board member, I would work to support the current goals while developing the future goals of the organization. 

I believe NCAA provides opportunities for us to discuss the greatest challenges and opportunities for arts leaders today. This includes addressing issues of inclusivity, diversity, and intersectionality, as well as questioning how we as an organization can best serve our membership year-round. As a board member, I would work to help build a woman’s leadership platform within the organization to encouraging and promote the professional development of women through both formal programming and informal opportunities.

I am eager to expand the range of opportunities available to NCAA members at the conference including sessions devoted to leaders who face distinct challenges and working to provide methods of recourse for each of us. I look forward to working to better meet the ideals of all partners in our membership.


 Barbara Jk Nwacha Bio

Barbara Jk Nwacha has been Chair of the Department of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) since 2012. She joined the Art & Design faculty at SIUE in 2005.

Currently a Professor in Graphic Design at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, she has been teaching all levels of graphic design since 1998. Her freelance design work includes exhibition design for a thirty-four-panel traveling show, “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide,” a touring exhibition shown in various educational venues across the United States from 2007–14.

Barbara also works as an exhibiting fine artist using a printmaking method called "Foil Imaging”–a hot stamped foil transfer technique adapted for artisans and art studio use from commercial hot stamped foil printing. This new art form was pioneered for studio use at The University of Iowa by Professor Virginia Myers. Barbara's foil monotypes and series work have been published in two books: Foil Imaging: A New Art Form and Changing Light A New Visual Language. She continues to regularly make and exhibit work in regional and national juried exhibitions. She is a member of National Council of Arts Administrators, College Arts Association, and AIGA Design Educators.

Professor Nwacha holds BFA, MA and MFA in Design (Graphic Design) from The University of Iowa. She currently serves as a NASAD Visiting Evaluator and a NASAD Commission Member. 

Barbara Jk Nwacha Statement

I have been a member of NCAA since fall of 2016. I don’t have a single vision for what kind of service I might provide. I only know how valuable the members and programming of NCAA have been in shaping me. The National Council of Arts Administrators is an organization that providing a safe space to examine and share management issues in the arts. I am a better department chair since attending NCAA programming. I have learned how to look at the larger administrative systems that impact the delivery of arts education. I now recognize the value of the diverse disciplines within the large framework of ART and see value for the students and struggles facing artist-educators. And I have problem-solving strategies to support arts faculty and students.  NCAA helps us advance educational opportunities in art and advocate for the value of art in our culture and society. I am a designer and art-maker. I would like to use my organizational skills and graphic design background to provide support for this valuable organization and give back by volunteering my time and talents.


 Deanne Pytlinski Bio

Deanne Pytlinski has been Chair of the Department of Art at Metropolitan State University of Denver since 2015. She is an Associate Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism specializing in Modern and Contemporary Art. Dr. Pytlinski earned her Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center and her Master’s Degree from Pratt Institute in New York. Her research focuses on intersections between feminism and technology and she has published on women in early video art and on video collectives. In 2014, she curated the exhibition Craft Tech/Coded Media: Women, Art and Technology, at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art for which she also contributed a catalog essay. Dr. Pytlinski is currently working on expanding her research on contemporary art and feminism into Cuba and Eastern Europe and is developing student opportunities in those locations as well. She was an NCAA Emerging Arts Administrator Fellow in 2015-2016 under the mentorship of Judith Thorpe. 

Deanne Pytlinski Statement

My vision as a board member is to generate dialogue that helps administrators respond to the current challenges facing arts education including increasing tuition dependency and a federal administration that is hostile in general to higher education. How do we ensure that our students continue to value their investment in arts education and use their creativity to bridge their communities and develop lasting professional and social networks? Within the organization, I would also like to explore ways we can foster leadership not only in ourselves, but in those around us, especially those who might not already see themselves in leadership roles.  Leadership organizations such as NCAA need many voices, and I would be committed to inclusive communication at all levels to advance our work and keep our organization robust.


Vagner Mendonça Whitehead Bio

Vagner Mendonça Whitehead’s practice encompasses traditional and new media art, curatorial projects and creative writings on visual culture. His artworks display intersections of personal experiences, histories, technologies, current events, geo-locations, languages, and found artifacts, presented in group and solo exhibitions in galleries and museums, as well as film and video festivals, nationally and internationally. His writings unravel similar media/visual encounters in the form of critical and poetic essays. Recent art projects have dealt with aging and technological obsolescence; his most recent published essay unpacked the queering new media art as a decentralized model for leadership. Vagner’s most recent solo exhibition took place in Dundee, Scotland in 2018, during the NEoN Digital Art Festival.

This Summer, Vagner has been invited to participate in the SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge at the USC. In Summer 2017, he participated in the Leadership Institute for the National Association for Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), being one of 28 fellows nationwide. In 2016 he was selected as a Fellow for the Advocacy Leadership Institute in Washington DC for NALAC.

Vagner has taught at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale (2001-2005), and Oakland University – Michigan (2005-2016), where he served as chair 2013-2016. He joined Texas Woman's University (TWU) in 2016 and has since served as chair of the Department of Visual Arts. At TWU, Vagner aims to empower traditionally under-represented art students and scholars in higher education by providing inclusive and equitable spaces for making and learning.

Vagner Mendonça Whitehead Statement

What I bring to the table is my great commitment to higher education as a transformative experience to all who enter it. My leadership and management training have allowed me to exercise transparency while navigating through difficult transitions. I strive to engender clear communication and empathy, and I hope that the same can occur at the NCAA Board.

We have some difficult paths to thread, ahead of us, in the academic landscape. Now, more than ever, we must (re)consider our role in advocating through the Arts. We must consciously focus on the relationship of equity with diversity and inclusion, beyond rhetorical strategic plans. While much discussion on how to decolonize our institutions (museums, departments, or curricula), most do not seem to know how to exactly enact them. We need to provide clear methods to analyze and modify our existing academic structures so that the next generation of students and colleagues more clearly resemble our nation.

Some of this work can take place during our national meetings, but they also must exist between conferences. The Emerging Arts Administrators Fellowship provides a great model for how NCAA can add diversity to our community. If we create a similar mentoring program to recruit and retain diverse faculty to academic leadership opportunities, we will greatly benefit from having access to many perspectives in our midst. I offer my service to dialogue and implement these goals.