In future years, students majoring in theater, art history and music could fall within the realm of the same college at the University of Wisconsin.
The university has reached the next stage in its consideration of creating a new College of the Arts, which would comprise the School of Music and the departments of art history, art and dance, theatre and drama and design studies.
Executive Director of the Arts Institute and theatre and drama professor Norma Saldivar said the creation of the new school would benefit UW by providing a more uniform governance structure, more efficiency and more collaboration across art departments.
“There are three pieces this would allow for – administrative benefits, sharing resources and offering a more cohesive arts curriculum that would not only present new resources for students but really give them an advantage in real world opportunities,” Saldivar said.
Saldivar said the initiative is now entering the next phase of presenting the proposal for the college to the campus community. She said her intent and hope is to engage with the community through town hall meetings and make any changes based on the input.
This is an idea, Saldivar said, that has been floated for about 30 years, and the current proposal began to be discussed in 2008 when the Arts Institute began addressing the idea more formally.
She said the preliminary steps also involved taking a survey of each of the departments to see about any interest and that faculty generally expressed high interest.
She added this is the farthest the idea has come, as interim Chancellor David Ward charged a task force in November 2011 to work on the logistics of the proposal.
“There has always been an interest not only within the arts departments but also across campus,” she said. “This very much is the right time to have this conversation because of what we’re already discussing on campus.”
Darin Harris, spokesperson for the Office of Quality Improvement, said his role has been to act as the project manager, facilitator and consultant for the task force – made up of about 30 faculty and staff members – that has been working to create the proposal.
He said his role has partially involved overseeing meetings of a governance committee and a curriculum committee, which have each met four times.
Saldivar also said the task force is currently looking at two things – the creation of the College of the Arts and the transfer of departments who wish to be a part of the college.
Harris said important to stress is that the proposal now being finished and made public is not the end, but only the beginning of creating the new college. He said the task force is now soliciting public input before review by university governance committees and ultimately bringing the proposal to the University of Wiscosin System Board of Regents in July.
According to a UW statement, the first Town Hall meeting will take place on Monday, Feb. 20 from 1-3 p.m. in 1310 Grainger Hall, with the next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 5-7 p.m at the same location.