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NKU Creates New School for the Arts

In a move aimed at enhancing the educational experience of Northern Kentucky University students by making its arts programs more transdisciplinary and more efficient, the NKU Board of Regents voted yesterday to form a School of the Arts within the existing College of Arts and Sciences.

The new school will comprise the existing NKU departments of theatre and dance, visual arts, and music. The new structure eliminates the individual departments in favor of a more centralized model that will include programs, a school director, and faculty leaders who will help direct and manage curricular issues, day-to-day operations, and accreditation.

“Our arts programs have wanted to form a new college for several years,” said Katherine Frank, dean of the NKU College of Arts and Sciences. “While that wouldn’t be feasible right now, the school model will allow us to achieve many of the same results. We will be able to dissolve departmental boundaries; improve communication and collaboration within the school, the college, and the university; and encourage innovative thinking around course design, faculty hiring, and marketing and communications.”

And the impact on students will be significant, Dr. Frank said. “We are thrilled about the new programming possibilities that will emerge through increased collaboration among faculty and staff. Current and future NKU students will be exposed to various areas of the arts, work with a wide range of faculty members, and have more programming options to choose from in the future. Not only will students graduating from our arts program be prepared for success in the arts after graduation, but they will also understand how to apply their learning to a wide range of career options.”

NKU President Geoffrey Mearns said the NKU School of the Arts will have an impact campus-wide. “Our strategic plan calls for innovative, transdisciplinary programs that will better prepare our students for success in the classroom and beyond,” Mr. Mearns said. “This is precisely the kind of innovation we had in mind. Our arts faculty is leading with excellence – already collaborating with their colleagues in other NKU colleges to develop and enhance programs that will make a lasting impact.”

Dr. Frank said the new model also allows for centralized management of facilities and enhanced marketing and communication of school activities, broadening the visibility of the school's outstanding programs and ultimately contributing to enrollment. It will also strengthen the school¹s outreach efforts, she said. And it will do so without any additional expenditures or staff.

“The restructuring will allow us to promote our already strong community outreach efforts across all areas of the arts, as well as to strengthen and expand these outreach efforts,” Dr. Frank said. “Centralized administration and increased communication will position the School of the Arts to promote successes in areas like Music Prep or the NKU String Project, and expand efforts like the already impressive internship program in Theatre and Dance and Visual Arts to include Music. The possibilities are exciting and quite extensive."

From Northern Kentucky University