The Crucible from the control booth
The programs in the Department of Theatre and Communication Arts seek to connect learning, life, and community by exploring the interaction of persons and institutions through symbolic messages. Whether expressed creatively from the theatrical stage, rhetorically from the speaker’s platform, or interpersonally within social relationships, appreciating and reflecting upon these messages are essential to an understanding of a diverse society and ourselves. Faculty, staff, and students seek this understanding by integrating the creative and intuitive skills, imagination and scholarship, public presentation and private introspection. Through such individual and collaborative engagement in scholarly and creative research communities, the department demonstrates its strong belief in integrated teaching and learning and the centrality of its disciplines within the liberal arts.
Beyond service to students enrolled in courses, the department contributes to the broader community through its public performances, participation in professional associations, and engagement with local, regional, and global organizations. Such events and activities, whether theatrical or rhetorical, promote thoughtful dialogue about the human condition in a climate of mutual respect and genuine commitment to varied ways of learning and understanding.
More specifically, the various programs in theatre arts endeavor to:
- develop students who understand the multi-disciplinary facets of the theatre process within the context of the broader liberal arts;
- help students learn the various theatrical skills and integrate those skills in public theatre presentations; and,
- prepare students for entry-level positions in theatre and theatre-related activities, for graduate school if they so choose, or for a life-long avocational but informed activity in theatre.
The communication arts and forensics programs strive to develop students who realize that
- the ability to use symbols to interact with one another is one of the defining characteristics of humans;
- through this symbolic process self and social reality are created; and,
- if humans are to realize their potential, they must be able to produce and receive those symbols in meaningful and responsible ways with respect for both similarities and differences among people and cultures.
Course work and experiential learning opportunities in paracurricular and co-curricular activities, the department’s internship program, and its community service opportunities provide students with theoretical perspectives, practical skills, and flexibility that prepare them for careers and graduate work in theatre, communication arts, and related fields as well as engaged citizenship.
The department offers a major and a minor in theatre arts, a major and a minor in communication arts, and serves as the home department for an interdisciplinary major in intercultural communication.