By following my passion studying theater and the arts, I have always loved my profession. ... My support system is great, my students are curious and enthusiastic, and I love going to work each day. I enjoy helping theater students find a position that they also love.
As an Integrated Scholar, theater and dance associate professor Linda Donahue connects her scholarship throughout campus and beyond university bounds. Donahue’s area of expertise is arts administration, and her efforts have elevated the program within the College of Visual and Performing Arts to the ranks of the best in the nation. She works primarily with master’s and doctoral students in the classroom—at Texas Tech and abroad. Donahue and her students have traveled to Prague and Seville to explore fine arts and culture. She also has lectured and made presentations throughout the U.S. and internationally, from Canada to England and Spain to the United Arab Emirates. Not only a faculty member, Donahue serves as head of arts administration, associate chair and graduate adviser. Her duties have allowed for unique opportunities in interdisciplinary collaboration. Most recently, she has worked with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to teach performance techniques and lead role-play sessions in training laboratory teaching assistants. Donahue also stays involved with her first passion—the theater. She continues to direct plays at Texas Tech and in the community, and her productions often perform before sellout crowds.
Learn more about Integrated Scholar Linda Donahue in this question-and-answer session.
What are your research objectives and interests?
Arts funding, public policy and the arts, advocating for the arts, arts management, marketing the arts, community engagement in the arts
How do you feel your research impacts the globe?
My research embraces the methods by which arts organizations can thrive and serve the interests of their communities. Most nonprofit arts groups strive to involve the community members as observers and/or participants; my research helps to discover the best and most innovative ways to promote community engagement in the arts. I begin on a local level and then transition to the global environment, working with a theater group in Prague, Czech Republic. I also lecture and deliver papers internationally in London, Liverpool, Athens, Barcelona, Granada (Spain) and Dubai, searching to find the best methods to translate into classroom activities for my students in the arts.
I believe in providing opportunities for students to travel abroad in order to offer global experiences. I taught at the Seville (Spain) Center in 2003, 2006, 2011 and 2013. I led students on a study abroad trip to Prague in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014. Additionally, I hosted a London tour in 2004. All of these trips were life-changing experiences for both the students and for me.
What types of service projects have you been involved with?
In the past couple of years, I have worked with the TTU Chemistry Department on a very unique project: Using acting techniques and role-playing in safety training for chemistry teaching assistants. I also serve as associate chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, as well as director of graduate studies. I love the opportunity to contribute to the administration of my department and the chance to interact closely with all the grad students.
I implement community service activities in my classes and have just become a Service Learning Faculty Fellow. My classes collaborate with Lubbock Arts Alliance, the Lubbock Arts Festival and Roscoe Wilson Elementary School—where my graduate students volunteer by teaching in-school performance classes. I also enjoy participating in the Institute for Inclusive Excellence, which fosters a welcoming climate of diversity for the benefit of TTU students, faculty and staff.
What are you currently working on?
My service and research are closely intertwined. I received an internal CAHSS grant to promote student and faculty exchanges (and research opportunities) in arts administration between TTU and organizations in Europe. Presently, I am contacting universities across Europe (Serbia, the Netherlands, Turkey, England, Wales, Germany, Norway, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain) and will visit three yet-to-be-determined sites. I am very excited that I will be able to meet with other faculty who teach in my rather narrow discipline and to arrange for my students to study abroad and to locate potential professorial exchanges. The opportunity for faculty or student joint research projects is thrilling.
Where do you find your inspiration?
By following my passion studying theater and the arts, I have always loved my profession. I have an amazing department chair and dean who both vigorously support and advocate for the arts on campus and beyond. My support system is great, my students are curious and enthusiastic, and I love going to work each day. I enjoy helping theater students find a position that they also love.
What advice do you have for new faculty members about balancing the components of Integrated Scholarship—teaching, research and service—in their careers?
In my area of theater, we must work collaboratively. The necessity of collegiality makes for a wonderful work environment. The balance of teaching, research and service is equal, at least in my area. New faculty members have to excel in all three—great teaching, innovative researching (which can be creative), and productive service (which promotes the advancement of the department and university). We should privilege all responsibilities equally, never placing one before the other. I am fortunate that my life is my work, and my work is my life. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a life outside of work, but the two are definitely intertwined. I encourage new faculty to find the joy in their work by really exploring their needs and how they might best serve their students, their departments and universities, and their fields.
My parents took me to a play in third grade. I was dumbfounded and awestruck. Later, in college, I majored in Spanish and French until my sophomore year. Then, I took an acting class. That was the turning point. I became a theater major and never looked back. I am grateful for my undergraduate theater professors who impacted my future and my world. I think of them as I teach my TTU classes.
B.A., Drama, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg (1974);
M.A., Theatre, Texas Tech University, Lubbock (1976);
Ph.D., Fine Arts, Texas Tech University, Lubbock (1992)