Midland University is proud to announce the addition of Joan Korte as its new Director of Arts. Korte arrives at Midland after spending the previous 23 years at Nebraska Wesleyan University as a Professor of Theatre.
“I was ready for a new opportunity, and Dan Hays (Midland Director of Theatre) and I had worked together at Wesleyan, and he recommended the Midland position to me,” Korte said. “When I came to campus, you could feel this positive energy and everyone working in the right direction. It felt like a great fit.”
Korte has a wide range of experience as both an actor and director. She worked as a professional actor for several years before beginning her teaching career and remains active as a performer on stage. She has also directed numerous performances over the years and believes those experiences will aid her in her new role. “As an actor, you look at the world from someone else’s perspective, and it makes you a better listener,” she said. “When you are directing, you are managing many areas and communicating with many different people, so I will be able to lean on those experiences.”
Having spent more than 20 years at Wesleyan, Korte appreciates the value of a liberal arts education. “I’ve had experience in larger universities and research institutions, and you sometimes see that disconnect between faculty and directors,” she said. “The people at Midland are focused on students and their experiences. I love that about a smaller school.”
One of her first and strongest impressions of Midland was the leadership that was in place and how well the staff functioned together. “I was so impressed with President (Jody) Horner. She is a woman with a vision, and I appreciate that,” Korte said. “When I started to meet the Arts staff, I saw how much they liked each other, and that’s a big plus! At a lot of universities, people get in their own departments and don’t talk. I’ve been a part of several staff meetings here and you can tell they like each other and enjoy working together.”
With a recruiting background, Korte is focused on helping the department grow in numbers. But another goal is to see the department grow in interest across campus. “My mission is to get more people on campus participating,” she said. “It’s great when they come to watch performances, but we want them to get involved and expand their horizons. I also want to see our Arts students get out and do more things across campus as well.”
Dr. Jamie Simpson, Chief Academic Officer and former Vice President for Student Affairs, said Korte brings knowledge and experience to the Director of Arts position. “We are so excited to have Joan on our team,” Simpson said. “She brings a vast amount of experience and is doing a great job connecting with her team. She brings energy and new ideas and is going to be a great fit.”
A native of Columbus, Nebraska, Korte earned her undergraduate degree at Nebraska Wesleyan and earned her MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She and her husband, Jack, have an adult daughter, Anne Marie.