Students worried about the theater arts department’s move

Like Ithaca College Go ahead With the second phase of the University Curriculum Prioritization (APP) process, some members of the campus community are concerned about the impact of the relocation of the Department of Theater Arts – currently housed at the School of Humanities and Sciences – at the Student Music School.

The first phase of the PPA included the elimination of 116 full-time equivalent faculty (FTE) and 26 majors, departments and programs. The second phase will focus on the reorganization and restructuring of different academic areas, including the relocation of the theater department at the School of Music.

The Department of Theater Arts is home to theater studies, acting, musical theater, stage management, theater production and design., and majors in theater arts management, as well as minors in dance and theater. The department was class # 1 of 386 colleges and universities in the 2021 edition of the Princeton Review. The school of Social science and science is home to over 50 majors, including musical theater, drama, politics, economics, chemistry, biology, and writing.

A tan All teachers and staff At a meeting in May 2021, Acting Marshal La Jerne Cornish said moving the department would be a good way to explore the relationship between the performing arts and music.

Some other colleges and universities with prominent music and theater departments have both departments housed in one school, such as that at Carnegie Mellon University. College of Fine Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Elon University College of Arts and Sciences in Elon, North Carolina.

Steve TenEyck, professor and chair of the Department of Theater Arts, said the goal is to begin the transition at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. He said the School of Music and the Department of Theater Arts will report to the new Dean of the School of Music who has yet to be hired.

The college currently has four interim deans: Jack Powers at the Roy H. Park School of Communications, Alka Bramhandkar at the School of Business, Ivy Walz at the School of Music and Claire Gleitman at Health and security. Gleitman was appointed interim dean because Melanie Stein assumed the post of interim provost for the academic year. The college decided not to proceed with the dean research during the 2020-2021 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interim deans remain in place for 2021-2022 academic year.

TenEyck said a transition committee has been formed to determine the details of the new structure.

“The reorganization is exciting for us in theatre, ”TenEyck said via email. “We already have a strong relationship with musual, especially with opera & musual tbeheatre, but this realignment offers potential for more collaboration. Initially, this move won’t have much of an impact on the day.Tothe daily life of theater students, teachers and staff, as the move is mainly administrative. As the two units work more closely together, I can imagine more collaboration and synergies emerging. “

Sophomore Chloe Beehm Gets It bachelor degree in music and has an outdoor theater field. She said that in addition to her requirements for her music degree, she takes 23 course units in the theater arts program overall. She said she was excited about the transition and thinks it makes sense.

“I hope that there can be some benefit for the students of the School of Music, because I have the impression that many of us music students are a bit of the theater kids in the soul, but we focused more on the music itself than the theater, ”Beehm said. . “But, I think we all have these interests. I hope that with this merger, we can all have a level playing field. “

Beehm said she was concerned about the logistics behind the transition as she did not receive much information about it. She said she was also concerned about the impact of adding students to the music school on current students, especially when it comes to class registration.

“I have the impression that with the way the Sschool of Music works, or how they fit into the courses and the program, if you want this course right now you have to get started or it will run out, ”Beehm said. “And I wonder how much more competitive it will be with musical theater students. … I just wonder how this will impact us on the regular school [of] Music students. This is the norm for us and now we may have to get around that, so I think it will be very interesting. I don’t know how they’re going to deal with this.

Junior Molly Danieli, a major in production and design with a concentration in sound design, said she was the sound design student representative on the theater arts department’s leadership team. She said the team had discussed the decision a lot and there was a lot of confusion surrounding the transition.

“We will definitely be under a different dean no matter what, and that will definitely change the way things go,” Danieli said. “But from the student perspective, I think a lot of students are saying, ‘Well, how does that make a difference? “”

She said she thinks there is a lot of overlap between the department and the School of Music, especially for sound design students. She said she was personally excited about the prospect as she hopes it will make it easier for her to take music lessons, but she has mixed feelings about how the decision was announced.

“I think the fact that they made it public to us, but it’s still so uncertain as to what that means, has very mixed signals,” Danieli said. “I feel like maybe there should have been a plan in place before it was made public.… It just causes a lot of unnecessary stress and unnecessary tension that doesn’t need to come out. produce.

Second-year student Becca Blacksten, an acting major, said she felt negatively about the decision to relocate the performing arts department. She said she thought acting majors weren’t as much of a priority as musical theater majors.

Blacksten said she thinks the transition will make it harder for acting majors to take certain courses.

“It doesn’t make it easier for theater majors to take voice or keyboard lessons, because we’re not currently allowed to take most of them,” Blacksten said. “It’s going to make it even harder for theater majors to access the resources that musical theater students have thrown at them, and it’s so much harder for theater majors to learn the very basic skills they want.” have, because the ministry puts them at a disadvantage and takes no responsibility for them.

Junior Naandi Jamison, Acting Major, noted singing lessons have always been a point of contention for theater majors. She noted some students in the theater program initially applied to the musical theater program, but did not enter. She said that many students in the theater program can sing and want to take singing lessons.

“But because we’re in the acting program, they don’t have the option of doing voice lessons,” Jamison said. “If you want singing lessons, you have to find a singing teacher and pay for it out of pocket. And so a lot of people want [take lessons] because in the professional world, a lot of musicals are not heavy with dancing. So you can be an actor who is also just a good singer, and be engaged in something really good. So a lot of people think it’s very important in their training to be able to sing and have singing lessons, but it’s not easily accessible for us.

Sophomore Noa Webner, a major in musical theater, said she was intrigued by the prospect of the merger, especially the opportunities that could be offered to students at Dillingham and Whalen. She said she wanted to know if musical theater students will be able to take longer singing lessons.

“I think it’s safe to say at this point that the half hour singing lessons can be frustrating at times and having plenty of time to work with our singing teachers each week is an imperative part of our training.” , Webner said via email. “Especially when you consider that most B musicals.F.A. programs across the country are able to give their students hour-long lessons, putting students in Ithaca at a disadvantage.

However, she said she felt the college kept students in the dark about the merger.

“The little we heard of that was at a major meeting on Dillingham’s performance at the start of this semester, where the teachers basically said that some kind of integration between the two schools was taking place. would produce in the Fthroughout 2022 and even they don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like, ”Webner said.

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