Name of Proposed Degree Program: mfa in Dance: Design and Production School: Liberal Arts Primary Contact Person: Linda Baumgardner Other Faculty Involved: Cathy Davalos and Rosana Barragán Date: October 15

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Name of Proposed Degree Program: MFA in Dance: Design and Production

School: Liberal Arts

Primary Contact Person: Linda Baumgardner

Other Faculty Involved: Cathy Davalos and Rosana Barragán

Date: October 15, 2012
This proposal outlines the rationale for development of three new graduate programs in dance: MFA in Dance: Design and Production; MFA in Dance: Choreography and Performance; MA in Dance and Movement Studies. These graduate degree programs are unique in three ways: 1) a low-residency option; 2) a somatic approach that broadens the scope of the traditional MFA in Choreography and Performance as well as the MA in Dance and Movement Studies; 3) the first MFA in this country in Dance: Design and Production. Furthermore, as a way to cross-pollinate the disciplines and maximize budget expenses, the three programs overlap. Students wishing to seek an MA would complete a portion of the work in the MFA program focusing on research, minus the creative practice. The MA also allows for 4+1 degree completion similar to the Teachers for Tomorrow program. Students engaging in the MFA programs are expected to create a body of work culminating in a performance thesis and thesis project paper, thus combining the research and creative practices. These dance productions would serve both the MFA candidates in the Choreography and Performance model as well as the Design and Production focus. The MFA is a terminal degree; the MA would prepare the student for graduate work in a doctoral program, as well as working as dance educators and in the field of somatic based movement therapy. This proposal also addresses the rationale for the three programs based on the College’s Mission and the goals/strategic plan of the School of Liberal Arts, the academic structure of the program, a business plan, Library review, and a timeline for assessment.
Please note that the budgetary and curricular implications of all three programs do overlap. Though this approach is beneficial to the three graduate programs in dance, it is not imperative that all three foci be implemented at the same time. In terms of benefit to the College and Community we consider the importance of more immediate implementation to be ranked in the following order: MFA in Dance: Design and Production, MA in Dance and Movement Studies, and finally MFA in Dance: Choreography and Performance. The following materials explain each degree option as a separate proposal. This offers the possibility of approving one, two, or three of the degrees.
1) CONTEXT: Rationale for an MA/MFA in Dance

The Performing Arts Department and more specifically the Dance program expressed the need for graduate studies in dance in their 2008 Program Review. Identified as one of the long term goals, the faculty felt that the natural extension of a successful undergraduate degree is the graduate program. More importantly, the Bay Area is a thriving dance community with only one institution to offer an MFA in Dance, Mills College. We feel that the Bay Area dance community would embrace other options and have evidence to support interest in our program (please see appendix A). Furthermore, there are no schools in the country to offer an MFA in Dance: Design and Production (see rationale below). Therefore, we would have the first MFA that focuses on the unique aspects of production and design specifically for this area. The MA program also offers a distinctive somatic approach uncommon in the United States. Furthermore, each program overlaps the other to enhance budget efficiency, course offerings, collaboration, and degree effectiveness. The global dance community thrives on innovation and complexity. Therefore, it is imperative for new degrees to encompass and embrace the demands of the 21st century.

These programs also address the impetus of the strategic plan by offering formal education and advanced degrees in dance, enriching the graduate offerings at Saint Mary’s College. Once seen as a hobby for wealthy girls, dance has become a venue for social justice and cultural criticism. Dancers and choreographers are the newest members of the global arena imitating, creating, and challenging what society has to offer. As the United States embraces the importance of a healthy mind/body connection and movement education in child, adolescent, and adult development, dance has moved to the forefront of our learning. And even though we are playing “catch-up” to the global dance community (because so many other cultures/countries already embrace the moving body), the United States has the advantage of diversity.
The MFA in Dance: Design and Production will use a year-round academic calendar that favors working adults and highly motivated professionals seeking to substantiate their portfolio as they develop their professional careers. With a majority of the practical/performance courses offered during June Term and January Term, we take advantage of our spaces in Syufy Hall for the Performing Arts and LeFevre Theatre. During the regular academic calendar these spaces are highly impacted, but they sit empty most of the summer. Coursework that can be completed mainly in a more traditional classroom setting will occur during the regular academic school year to balance the year-round schedule. This MFA in Dance: Design and Production is unique in this country, the only other institution in the world that offers a similar program is Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, based in London, England.
Rationale for an MFA in Dance: Design and Production:

Graduate programs in design and production for theatre can be found at many universities throughout the country; in these programs a graduate student focuses specifically on an area of design or production for the theatre. For example, a student would get an MFA in Theatre Lighting Design or Theatre Stage Management. While the specificity of the degrees vary from institution to institution, the degrees are consistently offered only by the Theatre program and focus on the methodology of design and production for the theatre. The MFA in Dance: Design and Production cover the same areas of design and arts management (production) offered elsewhere but rather than focusing on a specific area of design or production, the coursework would cover all of the areas of design and production as they relate to dance specifically. As with any artistic field the techniques are specific to the discipline. A degree in lighting design for theatre prepares the artist to be a designer for theatre, but not a designer for dance. This is comparable to a student of Art History expected to be a tremendous painter. Design and production for dance is as different from design and production for theatre as French is from Spanish.

This program would be unique in the United States and as a result would meet a unique and to date unmet need in this country for higher education in this field. The program approaches dance as a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary practice in which the body of the performer(s), the movement of the choreographer(s), the scenery, the costume(s) and the lighting create a cohesive world for dance. In areas of design the program promotes the notion of collaborative dialogue with the choreographer from the earliest stages of a project, facilitating the production of work where design is truly integral to the project as a whole. In the Dance Production courses the student is expected to design the entire visual/auditory presentation of one or more aspects of a work (costumes, scenery, sound and/or lighting) or take responsibility for one or more aspects of the production side (construction, stage management, production management or producing). The practical emphasis of the coursework allows students to fully understand design and production (much like driving a car these skills cannot be learned if not applied).
Courses in the program allow the talents and experience of the individual student to flourish and for new skills and insights to be gained. The structure of the program emphasizes progressive development in the material studied and in the production assignments undertaken culminating in a Thesis project fully conceptualized by the student.
2) Overview of the MFA in Dance: Design and Production

a) The Mission of the Graduate Program in Dance

The mission of the graduate program in dance is to provide an affordable, flexible, rigorous and unique model that capitalizes on the richness and diversity of the Bay Area dance community. Through the lens of a liberal arts curriculum the MA/MFA would educate the whole dance artist concentrating on how the different areas of focus (Theoretical, Somatics, Creative Practice and Production) develop “the art of thinking and ways of knowing” in alignment with the mission of the College. The nature of the program is student-centered hinging on peer collaboration, faculty mentoring and student driven projects.

The essence of dance is the full expression of the human body in all its dimensions (physical, intellectual, psychological, emotional, and spiritual). Throughout history we have seen how dance has contributed to the questions of faith, truth, and human existence. The MA/MFA program finds its roots in the need for human understanding and expression of the spiritual self. The values of our program are shaped around the quest for truth, authenticity of living, and the building of a community where sensitivity, social justice, and global awareness are at the core.
b) Strategic Plan

This program addresses the impetus of the strategic plan by offering formal education and advanced degrees in dance, enriching the graduate offerings at Saint Mary’s College. The Dance Program envisions rich collaboration with the MFA in Creative Writing program in several forms: 1) creatively, by working in tandem to make art; 2) collegially, by providing the opportunity for rich dialogue outside of the classroom; 3) quantitatively, by bringing more graduate students to the campus. A graduate program further contributes to the mentorship of undergraduate students and raises the bar for growth in research and creative endeavors.

The Strategic Plan in SOLA seeks to “build social justice learning outcomes and assessment into the curriculum.” The MFA in Dance: Choreography and Performance and the MA in Dance and Movement Studies both have a social justice focus that asks the student to understand dance education as an important tool to awaken critical consciousness and build social justice.

The three graduate programs “develop new ways of bridging disciplinary boundaries, both in and out of the classroom.” They focus on “common intellectual experiences, writing-intensive courses, learning communities, and collaborative assignments and projects.” Please see more curricular details in each program description. Finally, the graduate programs in dance will increase diversity on our campus by bringing more international students and students of color to the dance program. The Dance program at Saint Mary’s College already has a national reputation, and the dance faculty share an international reputation. A graduate program in dance will increase the visibility of Saint Mary’s College across the globe.

c) Learning Goals and Learning Outcomes
Program Goals

  • To develop artists who understand the full scope of design and production for dance promoting standards of excellence in dance and preparing students for employment as dance designers, managers and administrators.

  • To develop and promote an approach to dance as a whole art form through a design and production practice based on communication and collaboration from the earliest stages.

  • To foreground the non-verbal aspects of the arts, placing design at the center of an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary activity.

  • To be at the forefront of international design and production for dance, developing a new and vital role for the designer and manager, using traditional and new techniques and technologies.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Analyze design approaches and practice, both traditional and emerging, evaluating the appropriateness of these to specific works.

  1. Develop new methods and techniques to elicit meaningful and original design solutions.

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the artistic, social, political, economic, philosophic and cultural contexts within which performance design takes place.

  1. Examine choreographic content to make appropriate judgments regarding context, aesthetic, and meaning.

  1. Develop a collaborative approach to the production process, fostering individual and collective innovation and creativity.

  1. Develop the ability to plan and manage time and resources cost effectively and efficiently, in order produce creative, safe and professional projects.

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the art of management and production.

d) Program of Study

Required Courses for the MFA in Dance: Design and Production:

Required courses: 60 units (14 Traditional Courses; 3 Production Courses; 1 Thesis and 2 Courses in Dance History and/or Theory & Criticism):

Design Methodologies for Dance, 3 units

Lighting I: Lighting design methodology and technology/electrics Lighting Lab,

2 units

Lighting II: Advanced Concepts in Lighting Design for Dance, 2 units

Lighting III: Advanced Design and Practice, 2 units

Sound I: Sound Design and Editing/Technology and Implementation, 3 units

Costume Design I: Costume Design and Dance Costume History, 3 units

Scenery I: Scenic and Stage Design, 3 units

Scenery II: Construction of Dance Environments – Stagecraft & Welding, 2 units

Special Study in Design: Student Elects a Specific Area of Design, 1 unit

Stage Management, 3 units

Production Management, 3 units

Producing I: Arts Marketing/Grant Writing/Company Development and

Structures, 3 units

Computer Drafting: AutoCad & Vectorworks, 3 units

Digital Dance: Portfolio Building, Documentation, Photoshop and the Web, 3


Production Practicum I, II, III, 3 units each

Dance History Seminar, 3 Units

Dance Theory & Criticism, 3 Units

Elective, 3 Units

Thesis, 6 units

Selection and Admission Process for MFA in Dance: Design and Production

Candidates admitted into this program will be selected on the following criteria:

  1. Audition by portfolio in design or production;

  2. Undergraduate Degree in the Arts (Visual Art, Dance, Music, Theatre, etc.) OR Demonstrated production experience in Dance or Theatre.

  3. 3.0 G.P.A. overall and in upper division major courses;

  4. Professional goals which can be supported through the plan of study;

  5. Completion of all application materials.

All candidates will be admitted into the program on conditional status. Removal of the conditional status will occur after all prerequisite work has been completed.
Prerequisite Course work:

Two undergraduate design courses or demonstrated experience in lighting, costumes, or scenery.

e) How does this program build on existing programs and resources?

As mentioned earlier, the Dance Program envisions rich collaboration with the MFA in Creative Writing program in several forms: 1) creatively, 2) collegially, and 3) quantitatively. A graduate program further contributes to the mentorship of undergraduate students and raises the bar for growth in research and creative endeavors. The undergraduate program in dance will directly benefit from an MFA program due to the several shared resources. The current undergraduate dance faculty, full and part-time, are uniquely prepared to teach in both programs. The dance facilities will be shared due to the summer residency requirement, and course offerings will overlap within a 4+1 model. The three graduate programs also share budget, faculty, and facilities providing a an efficient business model. The MFA in Dance: Design and Production will capitalize on many of the existing resources of the college including the existing Design/Production faculty, facilities, and equipment. This program would also benefit from the existing offerings in the areas of Art and Art History within the undergraduate program as potential elective units. The undergraduate Theatre Program has a tradition of bringing in professional guest designers to work on their productions, this will provide an opportunity for guest lectures and other formal contact with these professionals.

Linda Baumgardner received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2008. Her unique program of study enabled her to create networks across the United States. Her scholarly research in the area of Dance Lighting Design, and Dance Production provides an audience for those eager to follow in her footsteps. Current dance faculty members are able to provide local, national, and international connections to the program thus bringing high-quality international students. Rosana Barragán continues to teach in Colombia and Jia Wu returns to China regularly to teach and choreograph new works. Professor Wu also has an international reputation for her choreography and dance films. Professor Cathy Davalos has a working relationship with the Latin Ballet of Virginia and has already received letters of interest. Professor Dana Lawton continues to offer modern dance classes in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a reputation as an experienced and erudite dance professional. Dance faculty feel confident that they will garner interest with the best students around the globe.

f) Effect on other programs of the School of Liberal Arts and the College
Faculty/staffing: Dance faculty in the Performing Arts Department are more than qualified to teach all of the graduate courses for the MFA in Dance: Choreography and Performance. However, the new program would need two additional full-time faculty to support the teaching of courses and mentoring of thesis projects. The addition of graduate students would alleviate some workload in the undergraduate production process. Currently, the undergraduate student concerts are run by students with both a formal production class and additional faculty supervision to provide structure for the concert. Experienced graduate students studying producing and production management could serve as supervisors for the undergraduate student projects. Additionally the graduate students could assist faculty in areas of choreography, design, and production. The Theatre program recently developed a technical theatre emphasis in the undergraduate Theatre Major. The course offerings in the MFA in Dance Production and Design would allow an undergraduate student to expand their design and production experiences beyond what is currently offered in the undergraduate program, Because the MFA program would be developing a pool of designers, technicians and managers they could work as designers and production or stage managers in the undergraduate productions in both Dance and Theatre, alleviating the existing cost of hiring professionals for certain projects. The graduate programs in dance would share a full-time administrative position.
The Performing Arts Department is three programs: Dance, Music, and Theatre. If the graduate programs in dance continue to grow with the second and third cohorts, it is probable that dance would need to become its own department. However, at this point, graduate courses do not conflict with the teaching load of the three tenured/tenure-track faculty in dance, Cathy Davalos, Dana Lawton, and Jia Wu. However, the graduate programs in dance would have the most impact on the teaching load of Linda Baumgardner, currently adjunct faculty and Director of Technical Theatre and Design. Adding graduate courses and the responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the MFA in Dance: Design and Production would limit Linda’s availability to teach in the undergraduate program. Linda’s workload and teaching as well as the need for additional faculty in the area of Technical Theatre and Design are already under review because the development of the technical theatre track in the theatre major is relatively new and the course offerings in technical theatre and design need to expand to meet the needs of the undergraduate students. The Performing Arts Department is also submitting a Program Review, Fall 2012 which includes the hiring of new faculty as others retire, have become tenured, and with the anticipated growth of the department. In other words, the effect that the graduate programs may have on the Performing Arts Department are no surprise because the department has been experiencing growth and change over the past 5 years.
Mentoring and Student teaching: The graduate program in dance would allow for more adult learners on campus to compliment the MFA in Creative Writing. Collaboration with both the Creative Writing and Theatre Programs will be encouraged as Dance Theatre works are the most cutting-edge in the dance world. The traditional undergraduate student in dance will be enriched by the presence of graduate student mentors. These graduate students will share concerts and provide valuable feedback for design and production. The graduate students in the MFA in Dance: Design and Production will mentor or act as the lighting, scenery and costume designers for student concerts and off campus events/concerts. This will save both the traditional undergraduate program and the graduate program money by alleviating the need for hiring professional designers.
Facilities: The graduate programs in dance capitalize on the use of LeFevre Theatre and Syufy Hall for the Performing Arts when they are most empty during the summer months. Other courses that happen during the fall, spring, and Jan Term make the use of space a high priority. For example, graduate students would be taking a Jan Term course that creates a final performance that would happen either after the traditional Performing Arts Department’s Jan Term children’s theatre production, or as the children’s production when needed. All classrooms must be equipped with large scale media and up-to-date computer technology, as is currently the need in the undergraduate dance program. We anticipate offering some evening courses that would not conflict with classroom space.
Office space would continue to be a problem since all 10+ dance faculty share one large office. We have asked for an additional space so that dance faculty would have a quiet place to work separate from the shared space. This office could also be used by part-time and guest dance faculty. We have not been successful with this request. Currently, we are making it work with rotating teaching schedules.
g) What faculty have been involved in the design of the program? Who will teach in it?

Three dance faculty have been most involved in the design of the graduate programs in dance. Professor Cathy Davalos has been working on the traditional MFA in Dance: Choreography and Performance. Linda Baumgardner (adjunct faculty) has been instrumental in creating the first ever MFA in Dance: Design and Production. Rosana Barragán (lecturer) has created the curriculum for the MA in Dance and Movement Studies. Each of these dance faculty chose the area that reflected her expertise. Jia Wu also helped shape the mission statement for the graduate programs in dance. These programs were built with existing dance faculty in mind. Davalos, Baumgardner, and Barragán would all teach in the programs as well as Associate Professors Jia Wu and Dana Lawton on a rotating basis. Rogelio Lopez (lecturer) would be instrumental in teaching in both MFA’s in the program due to his background in both Production Design and Dance. We would attract high-quality graduate students with the ability to offer summer sessions with some of the most powerful names in dance.

h and i) Plan for Assessment

The Dance faculty will collect data at the end of each semester, beginning with the Summer of 2014, to begin a cycle of assessment to be completed with the first cohort. An Interim report, to assess the curriculum and learning outcomes will be filed at the end of Spring 2015. Budget reviews will be completed at the end of each fiscal year. At the completion of the first cohort, Summer 2016, the dance faculty will address the success of the program, and the areas needing attention for improvement. The Final Approval proposal for the MFA will be completed by November 1, 2016. Since Professor Davalos has written three program reviews for the Performing Arts Department, we do not anticipate any difficulties with the assessment of the graduate program. We will determine the success of learning outcomes through internal and external reviews of the work. Assessment will include the scope of practices used for a program review. For budgetary purposes, the second cohort is scheduled to audition in Fall 2015, and begin summer 2016, just as the first cohort completes all courses.

j) Analysis of Library Review

To be completed after the Library review has been submitted by Sharon Walters.

k) Final Approval for the MFA in Choreography and Performance to be submitted November 1, 2016.
3) Competitive Analysis and Business Plan

a) analysis
b) Budget: The proposed budget plan operates on the understanding that all three programs equally share the resources of the graduate program in Dance even though the degrees will be made up of differing numbers of units. In keeping with our mission to provide affordable graduate degrees we have created the budget based on $600 per Carnegie unit sharing the income and expenses across the three programs. We have also allocated scholarship funding for each program. The budget plan for these degrees is somewhat unique because unlike existing graduate programs, the initial summer session begins in the “developmental” year of the program allowing for some income in the first year. Because the MFA programs operate on two full academic years plus one additional summer, the income fluctuates between the three programs and from one fiscal year to the next with a 35% income in some years and as little as 20% in others. However, following the developmental year, the average program contribution planned in this budget is 31%. The budget operates on the understanding that a new cohort would enter the program every other summer, allowing for resource needs to remain relatively static without having a “gap” year. This budget model also operates on the understanding that the program would have a revenue account for our productions and that the revenue would stay in the budget for the program, thus allowing the revenue from our productions to support future productions and the development of the program. Please see the Budget Spreadsheet in Appendix D.
c) New Resources: Faculty/staffing: the new program would need two additional full-time faculty to support the teaching of courses and mentoring of thesis projects. Existing dance faculty would teach graduate level courses as either part of their workload, or in addition to their workload. We understand that the practice may be to hire these additional dance faculty as adjunct professors until the program has received permanent status, at which point we would request all dance faculty to be converted to tenure-track. The graduate programs in dance would share a full-time administrative position. We have accounted for all of these positions in our budget proposal.

d) Legal or Contractual Obligations:

The undergraduate program has institutional membership in the American College Dance Festival Association. The graduate program would be covered in this agreement. Off-campus performances, guest lectures, and group travel are also common in the undergraduate dance program, therefore, the graduate program would not add any new legal agreements to this current model.

4) For Library Review please see Appendix E.

5) Signature Page

Name of Proposed Degree: MFA in Dance: Choreography and Performance

Name of School: School of Liberal Arts

Date: October 1, 2012

­­­­­­­­­­Dean of School Date

Provost Date

Vice President for Finance Date

College Counsel Date

Chair of GPSEPC Date

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