April 12, 2002
UW-RF Offers Theatre Major
Theatre students at UW-River Falls will now graduate as majors in that field. According to a recent decision made by the UW-System Board of Regents, the course of study that was formerly a theatre emphasis will become a major.
"We are thrilled," said theatre Professor Margaret Swanson, who serves as chair of the department of speech communication and theatre arts. "The whole department has worked hard for 20 years to make this happen."
Swanson said requirements for the degree will be exactly the same as when it was an emphasis, but students will now get a major for their work.
Said Chancellor Ann Lydecker, "This is a marvelous opportunity for our theatre program to move ahead. The program will now have the focus and emphasis it has long deserved. It is a tribute to the hard work of the faculty and the dean who have through the years developed the program, knowing the day would come when it would earn the status of a major."
"The theatre is co-curricular, meaning that students from any major can be involved in its productions," said speech communication and theatre arts Professor Robin Murray, who is also director of the University Theatre. "Though we usually have 40 to 45 theatre majors and minors combined, we have about 90 students over a year's time who are involved at some level; onstage, backstage, designing sets and costumes, or publicizing events."
The strengths of our program are that we have a stable faculty and a small enough enrollment that we can give everyone individual attention, and we are close to a major metropolitan area."
There are four faculty members in the program, each of whom has been here a minimum of 15 years. For balance, we bring in guests to act, direct, design and conduct workshops."
Our enrollment is small enough that a student can come in as a freshman and get involved right away, but large enough that we can produce a variety of plays to provide students with new experiences."
"Because we are close to the Twin Cities area," said Murray, "we can take field trips to theatres there. It is a nice connection for students, because that is where they would probably find internships."
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