A task force’s findings show the theater department will not join the Boyer College of Music and Dance.
As the school year comes to an end, some academic facets are left in uncertainty in the midst of potential cuts to funding to the university by the commonwealth. But it seems like students who objected to reorganizing the theater department in the fall can have a sigh of relief.
In September, Provost Richard Englert, also the interim senior vice president for academic affairs, proposed the idea of combining the theater department, currently in the School of Communications and Theater, with the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Committees, or task forces, were created in both schools to evaluate the potential implications of the merger, which would form a new college of performing arts.
Doug Wager, the artistic director and head of directing in the theater department, chaired the task force to evaluate the theater department and the potential restructuring.
“The analysis that we were asked to undertake was done with the understanding from the provost that [it] should be conducted with no expectation of any new resources being provided by the university,” Wager said. “The idea of a change would really be nothing more than a change of letterhead because no one would be moving anywhere.”
“Essentially what we determined was that there was no net gain … there would be no benefit or advantage for the students,” Wager said.
Wager added his task force’s report, which was “overwhelmingly positive for keeping theater as part of SCT,” was submitted to Englert before the winter break.
While the chair of Boyer’s task force was not available for comment at press time, Wager speculated that the college of music and dance’s task force yielded findings similar to those of his committee – a recommendation that the departments in question remain unaltered.
But, Wager said, the idea of creating a college of performing arts is not off the table.
“My opinion is that if Temple … is seriously interested in exploring the formation of a college of the performing arts, then it should be done from the top down, starting with a vision of what that school would be, and really seriously address what a performing arts college of the 21st century looks like,” Wager said.
When the change was initially proposed, some students supported the idea while others rebutted it.
“Financially, it doesn’t make sense, but that’s less important than our relationship with other departments in SCT,” Chelsea Drumel, a junior theater major, previously told The Temple News in November [“Proposing a change in scenery,” Becky Kerner, Nov. 8]. “It would be a disservice to the theater department to try to force creating these new relationships [with the school of music and dance].”
While the findings of Wager’s task force were in favor of keepings things as they are, he said there was another result of the analysis.
“The outcome of the exercise for SCT was a realization of how much the theater program is really valued by the other departments in the school,” Wager said. “Sometimes you just take that for granted.”
Angelo Fichera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.