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Departments of Theatre and Dance to merge

Thursday, July 26, 2018

LAWRENCE — Fall 2018 marks the merger of two departments within the School of the Arts in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas. The new Department of Theatre & Dance launches its first year as learning incubator for the next generation of performers, dancers, scholars, designers and technicians in theatre, performance and dance. Theatre & Dance serves 206 undergraduate and graduate students, with seven degree programs.

The two departments proposed the merger as a collaboration of mission and resources in 2017. For the past year, faculty and staff, in dialogue with students, alumni and members of the Professional Advisory Board, have been building toward the formal transition in fall 2018. Michelle Heffner Hayes, professor and chair, will shepherd the first year of the merger.

“The move embraces the increasingly interdisciplinary faculty research that has characterized both programs, and new career opportunities for students beyond traditional paths,” said Clarence Lang, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. 

The partnership will allow greater opportunities and support for the University Theatre and the University Dance Company, as well as a more diverse curriculum to recruit students to undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

“From the day they enter the program, our students become members of a far-reaching, interconnected community,” said Heffner Hayes. “Our faculty and professional staff help them to make the intellectual and practical connections between theory and practice they need to be competitive professionals in academic and professional environments.”

Heffner Hayes is grateful for the “'phenomenal' alumni and Professional Advisory Board members who are deeply invested in the success of Theatre & Dance graduates, and who provide advice and support to our students from the highest levels of the profession.”

The Department of Theatre & Dance is one of three departments in the School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.

For more information on the Department of Theatre & Dance visit www.theatredance.ku.edu.