College grows through department mergers, new schools

Friday, October 31, 2014
Photo of the Juliet theatre-dance show
Students perform in the acclaimed theatre-dance show Juliet. Photo: Claire Rice.

The College of Liberal & Creative Arts is poised to enter a new era of innovation. The Academic Affairs Council, led by Vice President and Provost Sue Rosser, has enthusiastically supported the establishment of five new schools and an additional merger.

“These changes show the entire campus community that we are passionate about investing in the future of the College,” said Daniel Bernardi, College of Liberal & Creative Arts interim dean. “Whether identified as departments or schools, all academic programs in our College will gain new opportunities to expand curricular opportunities, develop research and creative initiatives and attract additional investment, as a result of these new partnerships.”

All of the changes are expected to take effect in fall 2015.


  • School of Cinema. Regarded as one of the best film schools in the U.S., Cinema offers a B.A. with tracks in animation, fiction, documentary, experimental, screenwriting and media and culture, two minors and, in partnership with the College of Extended Learning, two certificate programs. Cinema also offers M.A. and M.F.A. degrees. Coppola Theatre is housed in the school, in addition to the soundstage and numerous post-production studios.
  • School of Art. Art, which welcomed Museum Studies last spring, offers a B.A. in Art, an M.A. degree in Art, an M.A. degree in Museum Studies and an M.F.A. in Art. The B.A. offers concentrations in art education, art history, studio art. Students selecting the studio art concentration may declare an emphasis in ceramics, conceptual information arts, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture or textiles. The School of Art houses the cherished Fine Arts Gallery, the Martin Wong Gallery and University Museum, in addition to a slide library and many studios.
  • School of Theatre and Dance. Dance, partnered with Music since 2002, will team with Theatre Arts to form a school that builds upon Theatre’s strengths in directing, acting and technical theatre by adding Dance’s strengths in movement and performance. The new school will offer minors, the B.A. in Drama, the B.A. in Dance and M.A. and M.F.A. degrees. Facilities in the new school include several theatres, laboratories and, in the planning phase, a new Dance studio.
  • School of Music. With Dance moving, Music will focus on what it does best — music education, performance and research. The School of Music is growing, with two searches for tenure-track faculty this year: one in strings and one in music recording and scoring. The new school will offer a B.A., B.M., M.A. and M.M. as well as minors.
  • School of Humanities and Liberal Studies. This newly formed powerhouse will become one of the largest units in the College. More importantly, it will lead the College’s efforts in interdisciplinary studies. The new school will offer minors as well as a B.A. in Humanities, a B.A. in Liberal Studies and a B.A. in American Studies, as well as an M.A. in Humanities.

Additionally, Technical and Professional Writing will join the English Language and Literature Department, home to the largest faculty in the College, ensuring that this critically important and vibrant department continues to lead the nation in literary studies, linguistics, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), English education and writing studies and research.

Bernardi and department chairs worked closely with the Academic Senate before the proposals were advanced to the Academic Dean’s Council, “yet it was the faculty in the respective departments, working together, that allows for these new academic units to become a reality,” he says.

At least 94 percent of the faculty in each program and department involved in the mergers and formations of new academic units have voted in support of the changes.

The provost has signed her support of the plans for the new schools and Technical and Professional Writing’s planned merger with the English Department. The plans now go to the Academic Senate as information items.