University Of Regina Sounds First Death Knell For Theatre Department

UPDATE: Whitworth here. Apparently the Theatre department is not quite dead yet. Is it getting better? Well, John Cameron has written a second blog post with additional information. You can read that here. John’s original post is below.

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As part of their years-in-the-making strategic plan – a to-be-expected mess of corporate jargon and “visioneering” or whatever – the University of Regina took a hatchet to the Fine Arts Faculty this Tuesday, announcing in a corner of the administrative chunk of the university’s website that, this June, several theatre-related BFAs have been suspended or “revised”:

Suspension of admissions to the BFA (Acting);
Suspension of Admissions to Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design/Stage Management);
Suspension of Admissions to the Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts (Theatre Studies) and Bachelor of Arts Honours in Fine Arts (Theatre Studies);
Revision to Bachelor of Arts, Major: Theatre and Performance – refocusing the program around available resources to offer higher flexibility and relevance to students;
Revision of the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Arts Honours in Political Science to meet student demand, streamline the program and enhance collaborative offerings with other departments.

More revisions are in the works, apparently. But the Fine Arts faculty is the first to see a part of itself excised from the university. Which departments face hammers depends on decisions made at the board level, which means that the decision-making process itself, the information that the board acts on, and the rationale behind decisions are occluded from public view.

It’s bullshit, of course. And it’s bullshit that they wouldn’t announce this decision for months, and even then just on a tiny chunk of online real estate. And it’s also bullshit that the current government has left the university with a funding shortfall of $4 million, which because of everything from contractually-set wage increases to the never-ending grind of annual inflation means that the government can technically increase allocated funds to post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan and claim they have no fault when those funds aren’t enough. It’s a clever game, and the U of S knows it as well as the U of R.

But, hey, who cares about theatre, the arts, the humanities, and all of those things that are globally trending right into a black hole. Since when has that stuff been valuable? Stuff like critical thinking, or reading?

Yeesh. You’d think you were on an alt-paper’s blog or something.

Author: Webmaster

The technical uberlord of the Prairie Dog website.

18 thoughts on “University Of Regina Sounds First Death Knell For Theatre Department”

  1. my heart breaks for regina’s young artists. the theatre program at the university of regina is an amazing, supportive program. It creates a safe place for artists to experiment with their craft. losing the program is a huge loss for the city.

  2. These aren’t conservatives, Stephen. Conservatism implies a certain appreciation for the way things were, and have been. A real conservative would understand that ever since we started painting on cave walls, a healthy arts community has been an essential element of a healthy society.

    These are woefully short-sighted, and/or criminally greedy people who are using the image of conservativism to disguise their disdain thought and thinking people as noble austerity and ‘fiscal responsibility’.

  3. My fear is that this is a litmus test to see if they can cut other departments not seen as providing a good “return” on their investment. What’s next? Film? Visual Arts? Journalism? People need to get vocal about this and fast.

  4. Well, looks like my BFA Theatre from UofR just became a collectors item. Isn’t that just spiffy.

    And I’m a film/tv writer/producer as well – doubly unwelcome here in my home town.

    Can’t wait for the “consultations” the provincial government will be having this winter. I expect to be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail by spring.

  5. :( I am extremely saddened by this. I am just finishing my last year in my Theatre Design degree. I am going to be sending some angry tweets to people about this!! :(

  6. okay this is what my prof posted on facebook about this matter:
    “Someone has started a rumour and because everyone believes what they read on the internet. The theatre department is still taking students, we are still granting degrees, the big change is we now offer a BA and not a BFA. The programs are still 120 credit hours and you can still be an actor or a tech or a studies person. There are still classes in all the disciplines, the students have more electives than before and can take a wider variety of classes, if you want to not act one semester you can work on the shows as a tech student and receive credit and then the next semester go back into acting. The study streams are not as rigid. There is a theatre department and there will be a theatre department for the next foreseeable future, the stories of our demise are untrue. If you have any questions about the program go ask a faculty member, we go to the meetings and actually know what is going on.”

  7. As of May 1 2012, the Theatre Department began to focus attention on the delivery of its core degree, the BA in Theatre and Performance. We see this as a way of consolidating our course offerings into a unified, flexible degree that optimizes our skills and resources and enables students to choose widely from a menu of courses that reaches across the Fine Arts disciplines or to pursue training in selected streams within the art form (Acting, Design/ Stage Management).

    We believe that this will educate students to be broad thinking and resourceful in their approach to creativity while they are here at the university and when they graduate into the world beyond whether they chose to pursue further training in theatre, a professional career or higher education.

    In reality, nothing changes in the delivery of our program other than the name change. In doing this we feel we are reflecting a current shift across North America in the delivery of performance-based undergraduate training by allowing our student more control over their course of study. We are excited to offer a more progressive degree – A BA in Theatre and Performance that will highlight traditional training in addition to innovative courses in creative technologies and community-oriented practice.

    While we will, as of January 1 2013, suspend admissions to the BFA stream, we continue to admit students into the new BA stream in Theatre and Performance. Current BFA students have 6 years to complete their BFA degree.

    Kathleen Irwin
    Head of Theatre
    University of Regina

  8. Thank you Kathleen, and thank you Shelby Lynn for helping to clear things up here. I am relieved to hear that the theatre program is here to stay:)

  9. @irritated: I get what you’re saying and appreciate you making that point–it’s important. But these days, the word generally refers to contemporary so-called conservative politicians and their supporters who don’t seem very conservative at all. It’s unfortunate they’ve hijacked the term.

    Maybe people like you will help take it back.

    Thanks for the comment!

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