Meet the New ACL Adviser

A Q&A with Kris Woll

Kris WollKris Woll has worked in higher education and cultural organizations throughout her career, in roles ranging from program coordinator to adviser to instructor to curriculum writer. She is passionate about university-community partnerships, arts education, local history, and lifelong learning. 

CCE: Where are you from?

KW: I have prairie roots. I grew up in Worthington, Minnesota, in the southwest corner of the state, and I did my undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota-Morris.

CCE: What did you do prior to joining the College of Continuing Education (CCE)?

KW: I did lots of things before joining the CCE community! Most recently, I worked in curriculum and course design for online learning. 

CCE: What drew you to the Arts and Cultural Leadership (ACL) program?

KW: So many things! I'm excited to work with students interested in deepening their engagement with arts and cultural programs and organizations, in part because this is something I'm interested in doing, too.

I have a background in educational program development and university-cultural organization partnerships. I worked in such roles at the University of Massachusetts Amherst History Institute, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and the Gotham Center for New York City History, and I volunteer in this capacity locally with my local public school and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. So this role builds on that work nicely.

I also have experience advising at the U and am so happy to be back on campus. I'm excited to support this talented group of professional students as they curate their ACL experience, and to continue to foster the connections between the ACL program and the many vibrant arts and cultural organizations in our community and beyond.

CCE: How did you come to the arts and cultural arena, through formal education, experiences, personal interest, or a combination of these?

KW: I suppose it's a combination. Engagement with arts and cultural organizations has always been a part of my life, though in different ways at different times. I chaired the Performing Arts Committee as an undergraduate at (University of Minnesota) Morris. I have a graduate degree in history with a certificate in public history form UMass Amherst, and while there, I worked on a range of projects in arts and cultural organizations in western Massachusetts. I continued that work professionally when I moved to New York City.

Since returning to Minnesota, my engagement has been through volunteering, some writing, some teaching (of creative writing courses at local organizations), and I've always enjoyed taking in and participating in exhibits, events, and programs as an individual and with my family.

CCE: Has there been something (a book, experience, person, etc.) that has inspired you?Kris Woll head shot

KW: Yes, so many things! But most recently I suppose I’ve been inspired by the kids at my local community school (where my son is a student). Each year, I tag along when the kids head to Mia (Minneapolis Institute of Arts) to see, up close, the art that they learned about in school through the Art Adventure program. And each year, kids eagerly point out things they learned about on previous visits, and their observations and connections become more and more sophisticated. It's been such a pleasure to watch the kids develop not only knowledge and visual literacy skills, but also a familiarity and comfort with that museum and with art in general.

CCE: What do you like to do in your spare time?

KW: I spend a lot of my spare time at my son's soccer games or my daughter's swimming lessons, or driving to and from them. When there is time left over, I love to cook, wander through the area's great farmer's markets with my husband, and read. I also have a bit of a writing habit.

Learn more about the Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership.