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College of Fine Arts unveils future plans

New structure will encourage interdisciplinary collaboration


Since May 2010, The College of Fine Arts has been addressing the possibility of curriculum reorganization and delivery to meet the needs of a changing world.

The college is developing a plan that guides it to an organizational model that articulates new opportunities for growth, collaboration, reorganization and interdisciplinarity.

This plan would create an organizational model for the College of Fine Arts to allow new opportunities for growth and collaboration for students, faculty and staff across disciplines. As a part of this process the Schools of Dance, Theater and Film will merge in the fall of 2013.

“The entire college explored how to enhance teaching, learning and performing in a changing artistic and educational landscape,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit. “As a result of the hard work that has been done, students will be able to move easily between disciplines and pursue their artistic and expressive passions in new ways.”

The college's new format was a long and thoughtful process that developed over more than two years of research and input from students, faculty and staff. Student feedback was vital to the development of the college's plan to create a larger interdisciplinary structure. Dean of the College of Fine Arts Charles McWeeny solicited input from a panel of undergraduate and graduate students from across the college to determine their needs and concerns going forward.

“Many of our students were already pursuing interdisciplinary work with their peers, and they were enthused that we were determined to facilitate it further,” said McWeeny. “We are responding to a student desire that was evident by their participation. In fact, some even served on subcommittees regarding the reorganization. Our intention with merging the programs is to give students the rounded and strong educational background that they need to fully realize their promise. A student who wants to focus exclusively on one discipline will still have that option, but we are creating an even more welcoming space for those who want to work across disciplines.”

The college will also develop a Center for Arts Innovation and Studies to further encourage interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary collaboration, research and scholarship. The center will offer more flexibility in curriculum, degree and certificate offerings for students.

“The center will be a shared space that will facilitate work between members of the college, students or faculty or between the College of Fine Arts and students and faculty outside of the college,” explained McWeeny. 

The Center will incorporate new ventures including:

  • Themes and clusters for interdisciplinary research and practice

  • Interdisciplinary and inter-school practice and productions

  • New certificate programs including Museum Studies, Arts Administration, Entrepreneurship and an Artist Partnerships Program

  • College-wide interdisciplinary undergraduate courses

  • Collaborative interdisciplinary opportunities with International Studies, technology, sciences and medicine

The college views this on-going process as an opportunity to reinvigorate itself through a thoughtful process of reimagining and reshaping its future direction, structure and vision.