Following a year of dialogue among faculty, students and administrators, the UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts is restructuring to streamline administration and create more flexibility for students.

The proposal, which reduces the number of academic departments within the college from six to three without eliminating any course offerings, was recently endorsed by CVPA faculty on a 31-3 vote following a nearly two-year process that included college-wide consultation.

The plan responds to emerging trends in the art world, combining a focus on specific areas of expertise with a wider exploration of cultural issues and concerns.  This requires a more open curricula and increased opportunities for interdisciplinary study. The next step will explore creative visions for a new CVPA curriculum that will assure the college's academic offerings will meet the expectations of future students.

“When I arrived this fall, I was excited to see the progress and dialogue that had already begun to re-shape our offerings to students,” said CVPA Dean David Klamen, who joined UMass Dartmouth this fall. “The proposed new structure will align our programs with the shifting opportunities and challenges in the contemporary landscape of the arts. We firmly believe this will make the CVPA more attractive to students and faculty, and more responsive to the regional and international arts community.”

Under the plan, a Performing Arts Department will include just music at the outset, but opens the door to other programs such as theater and dance that prospective students are requesting. The plan also calls for the teacher licensure portion of the music program to be aligned with art education to assure that students pursuing an art or music education degree are strongly positioned to earn their teaching license upon graduation.

In addition, Dean Klamen sees the new structure breaking down divisions between departments, and creating more interdisciplinary opportunities for students. “Too often, old academic structures create silos that separate creative people for each other,” Dean Klamen said. “I am confident this new structure will better connect us with each other and the community around us.”

--UMass Dartmouth

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