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DHE Approves Interdisciplinary Visual and Performing Arts Degree

June 22, 2009
By: Worcester State University News

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education has voted unanimously to approve Worcester State College’s new Interdisciplinary Visual and Performing Arts Degree.  “Understanding the expanding role of the arts in Worcester’s economy, Worcester State College has taken the timely step of enhancing its offerings to meet the new demands and provide new opportunities for its graduates,” said Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education.  “Between this new program and the College’s new partnership with the Worcester Center for Crafts, the College is setting itself up to be an educational hub of the burgeoning creative economy in Worcester,” he added.

The new interdisciplinary major is designed to ensure a basic overview of all the disciplines and to reinforce interdisciplinary thinking and creating. Students will choose a concentration of art, music, or theatre while exploring creative projects across the disciplines as well. “As an artist and educator, I believe an environment where you are exposed to and learn about all the arts, but concentrate in one, creates a foundation which is great for a lifelong career in the arts,” said Michael Hachey, Chair of the Worcester State College Visual and Performing Arts Department.  Students can begin enrolling in the program this fall.

Courses in the new major will be taught by faculty members who are professionally accomplished practitioners in their fields and are active at regional, national, and international levels. These include painters, sculptors, computer artists, art historians, installation artists, conductors, composers, performing musicians, musicologists, playwrights, designers and directors.

“We are very excited about the possibilities this new program offers,” said Worcester State College President Janelle Ashley. “We are fortunate to be surrounded by both terrific community college and high school arts programs and a robust arts environment. This program creates the perfect bridge to strengthen our arts community and build many careers in the future.”

Students will be prepared to move into arts and arts-related positions, where an overview of all the disciplines is essential, and they will be able to enter graduate programs in their concentrations or in arts administration, education, or expressive arts therapies. In addition, Worcester State College offers a graduate degree in non-profit management, for which this program is a solid preparation.

Central Massachusetts continues to develop an identity around the arts, including the Hanover Theatre, ARTSWorcester, the Worcester Center for the Crafts, the Worcester Art Museum, independent galleries, and many other musical, artistic and cultural treasures.

The program requires 45 credits with required foundation courses in each discipline totaling nine credits. Additionally, core interdisciplinary courses of 18 credits are designed to ensure a basic overview of all the disciplines and to reinforce interdisciplinary thinking and creating. Students will choose a concentration of art, music, or theatre consisting of 27 credits; but to ensure the interdisciplinary emphasis of the program, students may choose 6 or more credits of their concentration electives in the alternate disciplines.

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