Theater program makes its big break

Department changes name and location

By Adam Sauceda
On January 25, 2013

The Theater department has left its long time home with the Communications and Mass Media department to combine with the Visual Arts and Music in the new department of Visual and Performing Arts.

 The decision was made last summer that theater would be best served if taken out of the Communications and Mass Media department and put in with Art and Music according to Michael Burnett, Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of the University Theater.

Many faculty involved in the decision believe this change will be beneficial.

President of ASU Dr. Brian May said the restructuring of the departments will make scholarship allocation, fundraising, and coordination more efficient.

"Theater, in particular, could well benefit from being in a Fine Arts Department rather than one focused on Communications and Mass Media." May said. "We believe that having offices near one another will positively contribute to the collegiality and efficient functioning of the proposed new department."

Junior Rebecca Sussdorf, who is majoring in Communications with a minor in theater, thinks it makes more sense that theater is going to combine with art and music now, though she chose theater as a minor because it was combined with the Communication department.

"I guess it was a good decision for them to do that." Sussdorf said. "As far as organization goes, they made a good decision to change the departments."

Bill Doll, theater professor and director of University Theater, thinks each discipline will continue to evolve.

The new department will function relatively the same way academically and production-wise, according to staff members.

"The program is the same; we just have a different department to report to," Burnett said.

Many students said they had no idea that the Theater department was switching departments, and some express uncertainty.

Senior theater major, Janna Pinson says she's disappointed in the switch but it's mainly because the faculty in the Communications department supports the theater work.

"They come see all the shows and never hesitate to tell us how proud they are even if they aren't technically our professors," Pinson said. "I know most would assume the arts are where we need to be as theater students, but we found a home with the Communications department."

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