Students are encouraged to take advantage of off-campus programs—of which there are many. The Arts Program in New York City, especially, offers students the opportunity to live and work in the heart of the U.S. theatre world for a semester. There you earn academic credit while participating in the world of the practicing professional. Seminars on the NYC art scene are also a part of the experience. Students have interned with off-Broadway theatre companies, casting agencies, Broadway producers, major TV network shows, and major dance companies.
Other off-campus experiences can be arranged with many types of operations, such as regional theatre companies, international study programs, research libraries, and production companies of various sorts. The ideal off-campus program gives you the chance to see firsthand if your intended career path is what you are expecting it to be and to gain real world experience, expertise, and contacts in the business.
Special Focus Tracks
The department majors are strong and deep. But within the numbers of courses that a student can take towards graduation, there is room for students to add elective courses from the major (and without) to permit them to focus more deeply on an area of study.
For instance, performance-oriented majors have several courses that they can take to seriously pursue acting, such as Acting Workshops (multiple times), movement, voice, dance, music and vocal training.
Production-oriented majors can take elective work in technical topics, design studio disciplines, fine art studio/history courses, music appreciation, and business/accounting.
Education majors need to pay close attention to those requirements in that program.
The major in our department requires 10 credits and a senior project (which can be done in many ways, and needs to earn credit). The maximum number of credits in a major is 13, if you are graduating with the minimum number of 34. Many students graduate with more than 34 credits, and those can be in elective areas that supplement an area within a major.
All senior majors are required to complete a senior project of their design. Students work out the details their project with a faculty advisor. The student must receive academic credit for the project, but it does not have to be from within the department. This should be a capstone experience for the student, allowing the senior to put into action, what they have been studying. Some examples of recent senior projects have been directing, stage managing, and/or designing a one act play in the studio theatre, student teaching in a public school, working as an intern with an off-Broadway theatre company via the NYC Arts Program, and interning with a record company in Nashville. There are specific requirements and timelines that must be followed. That information is given to all junior majors and available in the office.
As a part of the on-going effort to assess the effectiveness of our program and to assist students in evaluating their own experience, the department requires all majors to prepare and submit a portfolio of their experience in the major. This is a notebook which contains an essay summarizing their experiences and growth, representative samples of all of their work in every department class, lists of plays read, productions seen, and materials that may go into a real portfolio someday.
These documents are reviewed by all full-time faculty and discussed with the student in a final exit interview prior to commencement. A summary of the information and findings is kept on file in the office and information is submitted to the University’s Assessment Committee when requested.