NKU to create School of the Arts


Philip Krinsky

The department of theatre and dance is one of three departments in the College of Arts and Sciences that will make up the new School of the Arts

The Board of Regents voted last week to approve plans for a School of the Arts within the College of Arts and Sciences.

The departments of theater and dance, visual arts and music would be combined to form the school, according to Dr. Katherine Frank, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Over 850 students are currently enrolled in those departments.

The school could could bring new programs such as opera, puppetry and creative arts therapy as well as transdisciplinarity throughout the college according to Frank.

“We think oftentimes of the world that we live in in terms or our discipline and our department,” Frank said.  “As we know at NKU, we talk a lot about transdisciplinarity- transdisciplinarity across colleges, across departments, and this really begins to enact that effort of thinking in different ways.

As the university with the largest theater program and visual arts program in Kentucky, NKU would be able to offer a “better, more appetizing degree” for incoming students, according to chair of theater and dance Ken Jones.

“The culture of a student who wishes to pursue a degree in the arts today has changed over the past few years,” Jones said. “The new NKU student in the arts is increasingly demanding studies in multiple disciplines. They are eager for artistic experimentation and cross-discipline study and technique and theory.”

At the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Jones said most students spend 90 percent of their time in their main course of study, while only spending 10 percent in other academic areas.

NKU’s School of the Arts would allow students to spend 60 percent of their time in their main course of study while offering the opportunity to explore other courses of study with their remaining 40 percent of classes.

Frank said the college has researched the successes and failure of other schools of the arts, including the University of North Carolina- Greensboro, to learn what has worked and what hasn’t.

A director for the school of arts would be appointed and report to the dean. Current department chairs would report to the director and the current staff would be reconfigured throughout the new school, which would remain in the Fine Arts Center.

Three committees within the departments that will become the new school of the arts are already working on restructuring, reappointments, promotions and tenure, marketing and outreach.

The School of the Arts is set to tentatively launch July 2015 with a celebration in August, according to Frank.