Dan Schultz ’00 gets excited when he talks about his job.
Being a theatre instructor at Stephens? Best job ever‚ he’ll tell you enthusiastically. So when students nominated and faculty awarded him the Distinguished Teaching Award at this year’s Honors Convocation‚ he was practically speechless.
“I do what I love to do and to know I have had an impact on somebody…man‚” he said‚ shaking his head and looking down. “It’s hard to humble me.”
Schultz returned to Stephens about five years ago after receiving an M.F.A. from Florida State University‚ working at regional theatres around the country and working in New York‚ where he co-founded a theatre operation called taxdeductible theatre and The Dare Project. The latter‚ indeed‚ began with a dare as he and his fellow theatre friend challenged themselves to write and produce original plays. The performances‚ self-created acting gigs‚ became so popular‚ The Dare Project has led to some 110 new plays since. The experience now helps Schultz teach his students how to create their own theatrical opportunities.
“I teach them how to make their own work possible‚” he said.
Schultz also learned what not to do while in New York—like being “a jerk” to people. Based on his own observations there‚ he’s adamant that simply being a nice person can mean the difference between being a working actor or being part of an unflattering unemployment statistic.
“Being a good person is more important than any amount of talent‚” he said. “It’s the key to getting rehired. People will want to work with you again if you’re a good person.”
Although honored for his teaching talents‚ Schultz insists he learns as much at Stephens as his students‚ in part because his colleagues were also once his instructors.
“Every day I leave with something new‚” he said. “I’m still learning.”