Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 20, 2002 - The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a new bachelor of fine arts in performing arts degree to be offered by the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The bachelor of fine arts is the principal undergraduate degree in the nation that prepares students for graduate programs and professional careers in dance, musical theatre, and theatre. The new degree is subject to the approval of the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education, which is expected to act on the proposal before the start of the 2002-2003 academic year.

"Southeast is the only higher education institution in Missouri and this region to offer a degree program which combines essential core course work in the fundamentals of both dance and theatre, and also provides students with the option to concentrate in dance, theatre performance, or performing arts design and technology," said Dr. Martin Jones, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Graduates from Southeast's program will have the necessary skills and training to either continue their studies or to enter the job market in the $36.8 billion U.S. arts industry.

The new bachelor of fine arts degree, which will be a 76-hour major, will be available to students in January 2003. Projected enrollment for the first year of the program is 43 full- and part-time students, increasing to 88 by 2007. The first students to receive the new degree are expected to graduate in May 2005.

The University also is committed to arranging articulation agreements for the degree with 12 regional community colleges, and this process already is moving toward completion.

Southeast is implementing this degree to meet a growing demand by students nationwide for majors in the visual and performing arts. ACT exam surveys of nearly 50,000 college-bound students ranked the visual and performing arts as the fifth most popular major of interest among college-bound students.

In addition to offering the new degree, the University's Department of Theatre and Dance has updated other aspects of their program as well.

"Over the past year, the University has hired three additional performing arts faculty, bringing the total to eight," said Dr. Kenn Stilson, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. "Our faculty has revised our mission statement and re-written our goals and objectives for both the bachelor of arts in theatre degree and the new bachelor of fine arts degree. We have enhanced both our curriculum and production rotation, revised production budgets, and are in the process of purchasing over $250,000 in state-of-the-art equipment.

"Considering these important developments, added to the plans for the new River Campus, we believe that the bachelor of fine arts in performing arts will play a vital role in the advancement of the new School of Visual and Performing Arts at Southeast." Stilson said.

The Department of Art at Southeast Missouri State University completed and received approval for a bachelor of fine arts in visual arts degree through the Coordinating Board of Higher Education in 1999. The Department of Music has offered the bachelor of music degree in performance for many years. With the current development of a new School of Visual and Performing Arts at Southeast, a bachelor of fine arts degree in the other performing arts fields is essential for our region's college-bound students.

In addition to the new bachelor of fine arts degree, Southeast will continue to offer a bachelor of arts in theater and an interdisciplinary baccalaureate in music theater, as well as a minor in dance.


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